On Michael Bradley & Aston Villa

Timothy Abraham

The Shin Guardian had the occasion to interact last week with Aston Villa beat reporter Timothy Abraham who writes for Birmingham’s Express & Star. Abraham gives us an unvarnished, untarnished by American lens view on the goings on inside Villa Park. TSG is thankful to have Abraham’s thoughts here as we respect he’s an on-staff writer for the Express & Star.

Follow Tim on Twitter here.

(Editor’s Note: This TSG piece on Michael Bradley–vetted by Abraham–is a requisite read beforehand.)

Will it soon be a walk in the Park or from it?

TSG: You mentioned Michael Bradley is struggling with game speed. Do you think this is due to lack of game time or is it something different?

Timothy Abraham: Some players do take time to adjust to the pace of English football and I think this is evident in Michael’s case. In his fleeting appearances for the first team he has been caught in possession too easily sometimes and his passing has been found wanting. It is in stark contrast with Jean Makoun – who joined Villa from Lyon in the January transfer window – and has looked at home in English football straight away.

TSG: You mentioned that Michael Bradley won’t likely be resigned by Villa next year. Is he still Premiership material?

Timothy Abraham: The jury is out at the moment. I don’t think Michael’s situation has been helped by Villa having struggled at the bottom of the Premier League for most of the season. With the exception of Jean Makoun Villa manager Gerard Houllier has gone for players who are tried and tested in English football. If Villa are able to pull clear of the relegation battle in the next few matches then Michael might get a run of games towards the end of the season and given a chance to stake his claim to remain at Villa.

TSG: Will Michael Bradley’s situation be impacted at all by Nigel Reo Coker’s? Will Reo Coker resign with Villa? If not, if Bradley an option?

Reo-Coker...

Timothy Abraham: Nigel Reo-Coker’s future is up in the air at the moment. His Villa career looked over when Martin O’Neill was in charge but he has been reinvigorated under Gerard Houllier. The problem for Reo-Coker is that he is probably not quite good enough for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea etc so that leaves him with very few options. I think Villa is about his level but my inclination is to say that he is seeking a big contract and with under pressure to cut the wage bill he will not get the kind of deal he is after and will leave the club. I guess there is a chance Michael Bradley could be a replacement but with the kind of money that Borussia Monchengladbach want for him, and with a surplus of midfielders at Villa I think a deal is unlikely.

TSG:  About other Americans: Brad Friedel’s club standing? Will Eric Lichaj ever see the light of day at Villa? Or even Brad Guzan?

I want to work....there...

Timothy Abraham: I expect Brad Friedel will be offered a new deal although he may well have to accept that he will not be first choice next season as Villa look to sign a keeper for the future. Eric Lichaj has done well at Leeds and, with the exception of a couple of mistakes in a game against Manchester City on a day when no-one from Villa covered themselves in glory, when he came in he did well.

I’m not sure he’s quite in the class of on-loan Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker and with Lichaj being 22 I suspect he may move on sooner rather than later. The same probably applies to Brad Guzan.

TSG: What’s the general perception of Houllier’s reign thus far?

Timothy Abraham: The reviews on Gerard Houllier’s short tenure have been mixed. His development of young talent and commitment to play more aesthetically pleasing football than previous manager Martin O’Neill have been appluaded by a lot of fans.

However, there have been some PR gaffes which has alienated sections of the fanbase. Not least his comments after the defeat against Liverpool (although they were taken out of context) and in particular the decision to field a weakened side in the FA Cup against Manchester City which really angered supporters. Houllier has perhaps been guilty of trying to change too much at Villa at once when he should have waited until the summer to make sweeping changes.

 

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54 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Elvin on 2011/04/13 at 8:17 AM

    Michael Bradley…

    1. Had a strong World Cup.

    2. Is one of the better US midfielders to come along.

    3. Is not a particularly talented or intelligent passer.

    4. Is in a funny position: hugely over-rated by a large fraction of US soccer fans and a lightening rod for criticism from a vocal minority.

    5. Is over-rated because he represents grit and hustle and “getting stuck in.” These are the “almost-English” values that have been the prevailing aesthetic of US soccer — in colleges, the old ODP set-up, suburban youth leagues, and so on.

    6. Is a lightening rod because he represents the old blood-and-thunder approach. Because he’s Daddy’s boy. Because he gives the ball away and cannot really orchestrate the attack. (Maybe also because some people are haters?)

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/04/13 at 8:46 AM

      Thanks for telling me why I overrate Michael Bradley! I swear I won’t do it again!!!

      Reply

    • Posted by Chris on 2011/04/13 at 9:40 AM

      It’s hard to say that he can’t orchestrate an attack when he scored so many goals in the Dutch league. I think his role in the midfield has just gradually changed over time.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/13 at 9:44 AM

        Pardon Chris, not to call you out.

        But orchestrating the attack and scoring goals are vastly different. Bradley is great, almost Lampardian at joining the attack late and smacking it on goal. But creating– for others, himself– has not been his forte.

        Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/13 at 12:51 PM

      Michael Bradley is one of the better US midfielders to come along and is hugely over-rated by a large fraction of US soccer fans.

      SO what does that say about the quality of the US midfield?

      I must admit, I have seen Michael Bradley a number of times in person and quite a few times on TV. Never understood the American obsession with him.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/04/13 at 12:56 PM

        The American obsession with him is pretty simple: look at his last name. Arguing about Michael Bradley is an excellent proxy for arguing about Bob Bradley. And since “Bradley” is such an establishment figure for the U.S., attacking (or defending) Bradley is a way to argue about the state of U.S. soccer generally.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/13 at 1:15 PM

          My point was more about the Lalas-type praise he gets regarding his limited ability. [Not saying that he’s been bad in every game, but if he has a good or solid game, say so, rather than say he was fantastic, brilliant, insert-your-own-word…

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/04/13 at 1:27 PM

            Perhaps. But I find US fans tend to hype whatever creative talent seems to be in the ascendence at the moment.

            Like Juan Agudelo. He had an average-to-solid game against Paraguay, yet most press people I saw rated him around “7″ and praised him lavishly. (While Jozy got rated usually like “4″ or “5″ for what was essentially the same game.) All the while I was thinking, “geez, I don’t want to be a sourpuss, but he wasn’t really that good. He’s promising, yeah, but that’s different than being good.”

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/04/14 at 9:32 AM

              US fans tend to overrate the entire player pool. We have two slightly above average internationals, two legitimately dangerous outfield players, Donovan and Dempsey. Everyone else is so so.

              We do not have one player who is a regular on a champions league ( the highest level of play available) contender, while our opponents like Spain and Argentina have plenty of those kind of guys.

              US players are talented enough to play for such teams but, for whatever reason ( and there are many possibilities) they aren’t there. US players are deprived of the kind of savvy and experience that they can develop only by playing at such a level. Donovan said something along those lines after the World Cup (about US players lacking, not the talent but the savvy.

              As for MB it’s important to read carefully what Abraham said. He said Bradley hadn’t adjusted to the speed yet. Hard to do if you don’t get a chance to play. He also said the ways things were set up it was hard to see Villa signing him in the future. Basically he described what we would call in the US, a number’s game.

              Bradley’s situation proves that what US players need more than anything, when considering a foreign club is a good situation ( a manager who believes in you, a team set up for a player with your abilties, reasonable expectations, etc. It seems none of this was true at Villa and makes you wonder why they bothered to take MB on loan in the first place). See Holden and Donovan at Everton. Especially compare Donovan’s situation at Bayern to his situation at Everton. I believe it was said Donovan was less talented than the Bayern reserve players.

              While I believe Bradley to be a fair to middling international level player, which makes him an outstanding US player, if Bradley’s name was Ernie Sambucaozuo, he wouldnt get half the criticism. Villa was obviously a bad move for him but he should be evaluated on his body of work over his 23 years not the last few months.

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/14 at 10:54 AM

              Well said Martin — good opinion. Don’t agree with all of it, but I think it’s a fair assessment and the commentary on this piece is better for it.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 2:13 PM

              With the exception of Tim Howard, I would like to know who you think could play in a Champions’ League team? I’m not talking about the Debrecens, Bragas or Basels here. Nor am I referring to the Wes Browns of this world – players who might be squad players. This would be an interesting answer.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/04/14 at 2:54 PM

              @GeorgeCross: no one. Obviously that’s true for the old players, but I’m just guessing a bit for the younger players. I just don’t see the sufficient number of high-potential young players to get to that level. Heck, I’m worried about replacing Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 3:06 PM

              I’d worry more about Tim Howard’s back-up or replacement… he is [IMO] by far the best and most importamt US player.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/04/14 at 3:12 PM

              I’m less worried about 35-year-old Tim Howard than 32-year-old Clint Dempsey and 31-year-old Landon Donovan.

              There’s also a pretty decent spread of keepers from young (your Bill Hamids and Sean Johnsons) to middle aged (Brad Guzan).

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 11:09 PM

              That is a very appropriate counter argument DTH,but it is the quality drop-off that I am concerned about TBH. Take Tim Howard for example: he wasn’t ready for international football when he was 23-24 [the age Hamid & Johnson will be when Howard is likely to retire]. Guzan? Not exactly heir apparent at Villa is he [they're still looking for a long term replacement for Freidel]? Do you want a No.2 goalkeeper being the US No.1?

              I do concede that Donovan [especially] is a rare gem. He might never be fully replaced.

  2. Posted by Jared on 2011/04/13 at 8:37 AM

    Can’t say I’m surprised to hear that Bradley has been caught in possession and is errant with his passes. Those are the major weaknesses of his game and have been since he broke through for the USMNT. Throw in the increased speed of the English game and it will definitely be a challenge for him to get playing time.

    Would love to see him stick around there because if he can adjust to the speed of the English game his passing should improve. Just look at what playing in England has done for Holden.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/04/13 at 8:52 AM

      Agree. I think if he can adjust to the pace he’ll be a much better player for the US. That said, I wouldn’t mind him going back to the Bundesliga, but don’t know much about Moenchengladbach’s new manager.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/04/13 at 9:05 AM

        ‘Gladbach won’t be in the Bundesliga when Bradley’s Villa loan expires.

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/04/13 at 9:16 AM

          I’m not so sure about that. They’re only four points from guaranteed safety and two points from getting into the relegation playoff. Their form has greatly improved under Favre.

          They play very defensively now, so I’m not sure Bradley would fit into that. Wherever Bradley will be, I’m guessing ‘Gladbach won’t be it.

          Reply

          • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/04/13 at 9:24 AM

            I think even if he could move to a more stable club in Germany that would be a big boost for him. Gladbach have improved, but just don’t know enough about the new team to comment on it.

            Reply

          • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/04/13 at 10:15 AM

            It will be interesting to see if they can take enough points from their next three games (at Mainz, Dortmund, at Hanover) to give themselves a shot. I’m not too optimistic.

            Reply

            • Posted by Wallace on 2011/04/13 at 11:15 AM

              Ideal situation he is picked up by Newcastle or Fulham. But that might be asking too much.

  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/13 at 9:39 AM

    Going to throw a curveball here or maybe not.

    Michael Bradley plays the full two friendlies for the US side. On defense I think he was okay, on offense my opinions were formed during the Paraguay game where I think he was deployed incorrectly and had trouble initiating offense (whether you like it or not Bradley’s job in that game was to initiate offense).

    Is it a challenge to this article that Bradley probably looked the best of the US midfielders or is the US system so severely geared towards him?

    Perhaps unfair question, but…

    Reply

    • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/04/13 at 10:14 AM

      I think it’s possible to answer both of your questions here in the affirmative. During the second half against Paraguay I think he was best used; Chandler was out wide giving width to the attack, and more importantly he and Donovan weren’t clogging the middle–one of Dempsey’s tendencies (not a bad one, but I think it stifles MB’s mojo). Bradley could roam more throughout the middle, Jones could stay back and cover/distribute (two things I think he does well enough from CDM)…it worked well.

      Bottom line, MB90 is a good midfielder, but has to be deployed in the correct role. If he is to be successful on a given team, it has to have width. Distribution per se isn’t the name of his game. To the extent that the US doesn’t have width, MB’s effectiveness dwindles.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jared on 2011/04/13 at 10:41 AM

        So then you’re saying that his own father doesn’t know what MB90′s best position is?

        Reply

        • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/04/13 at 10:56 AM

          I think Dempsey’s role in the midfield can cancel out MB’s effectiveness as a CM. How BB manages those two is up to him, but I’m sure he’s not oblivious to the fact.

          Reply

      • Posted by FutbolAmerica on 2011/04/13 at 10:42 AM

        “If he is to be successful on a given team, it has to have width. Distribution per se isn’t the name of his game. To the extent that the US doesn’t have width, MB’s effectiveness dwindles.”

        Couldn’t the same be said for almost any of our current midfielders? With the exception of Holden who is used to playing the tight part of the field, most of our options are at their best when they’re not crowded. Just look at Jose Torres’ play when he’s not rushed and crowded.

        I can honestly see in the not to distant future a time when Michael Bradley will be an unused accessory to our crowded midfield. Jermaine Jones as holding midfield behind Dempsey, Holden, and Donovan supplying to any number of combinations of our up and coming strikers in a 4-1-3-2 setup. This will include Chandler and Bedoya as wing subs and Bradley only as a backup for Jones when he’s not available.

        Reply

        • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/04/13 at 10:54 AM

          With MB I mean that he’s best when he has the space to move vertically. But it applies to our other MFs as well, for different reasons.

          Your 4-1-3-2 setup sounds delicious, but I doubt BB will ever go for that.

          Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/04/13 at 11:33 AM

          Yeah, 4-1-3-2 with our backline sounds like an invitation for destruction.

          I think Bradley needs a stable partnership in a 4-2-2-2 or 4-2-3-1 with whom he can develop a chemistry, so that each of them know when one’s going up and one’s staying at home. Could’ve worked, really, with any of the usual suspects (Jones, Edu, Holden).

          Reply

          • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/04/13 at 12:06 PM

            I don’t think we need 2 holding midfielders; we only need 1, as long as that 1 can protect the middle and help the defenders by being available as an outlet, to get the ball out of our half. Bradley can be effective disrupting the opponents attack but he’s not good at the other (as the Argentina game showed too well). we can’t afford to use two players to do one job. the only one that can do both is holden (no pun intended). then we can go with the 4-1-3-2 line up. push MB up to help provide high pressure by using his disruptive talents to bother the opponents’ transition, and to keep the opponents’ holder honest.

            Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/04/13 at 1:10 PM

            I’ll concur on the 4-1-3-2….tough to employ right now.

            But (and I take the conversation in a different direction)….when you don’t at least manage possession the need to protect the backline becomes that much more important.

            The converse of course in Barca…who maintain possession upfield in front of arguably–for a team of their caliber–not the strongest backline.

            Everything is interwoven. Like the Matrix where Bob Bradley is Morpheous. Kidding and bad joke too.

            Reply

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/13 at 1:19 PM

              I agree. The US cannot keep possesion of the ball so having 5 [five] offensive players is probably not the best idea.

            • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/04/14 at 11:47 AM

              One way to protect the back 4 is to start defending higher up the pitch. waiting until the opponent reaches the final third is what gets us in trouble. Another way to protect the back 4 is a good calm, possession-keeping pass that moves the ball to a less-stressed area, which isn’t MB’s strength. And MB is also not the sort to trigger a quick counter with a quick turn and rapier pass to a forward. so rather than keep a two-headed holder (MB & Jones), why not use someone that may be able to do both, and then utilize MB’s best skill to help pressure the opponents defenders/holder into making a bad outlet pass so we can regain possession quicker. basically, just because he’s positioned higher up the pitch doesn’t make him an “offensive” player; he would be more of a pre-emptive defender.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/04/14 at 11:58 AM

              OK, so there are two ways to defend up the pitch. You can either:
              1) Stretch out the midfield zone
              2) Play a high defensive line.

              I hope the potential negative consequences of 2) are pretty obvious. If not, I invite you to consider the image: “Shark Week: Chicharito vs. Gooch.” That leaves 1). The weakness with a 4-1-3-2, like the 4-4-2, is that the space between the midfield and back four can be exploited by a #10 or false #9. Given that most of our strategic thoughts are oriented towards defeating teams equal to or better than us, it’s far more likely that we’ll be facing such a player in the situation. Besides, given the sometimes-comical efforts of our defenders, do you really want them trying to read the intentions of a #10 or false #9 on a consistent basis? I’d be really concerned about Onyewu, for example, chasing the player outside his zone (this was the main reason England scored against us).

              Then there’s the other problem with stretching out midfield: with the increasing popularity of 4-2-3-1 or other four-banded midfields, we’d be outnumbered and stretched in the midfield, meaning we a) wouldn’t be able to keep the ball and b) wouldn’t be able to get it back.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 2:41 PM

              If you’re defending [or pressing] high up the pitch, *of course* you’re going to have a high defensive line, that goes without saying, no? Otherwise you run the risk of being overmanned or non-existent in the middle third, not to mention exposed and easy [for the opponent] to play around you [your midfield].

              Plus defending higher up the pitch is OK if you can keep the ball, but if you can’t [and playing against a team that can / or is better], it might not be a bad idea to create two banks of four: see Germany’s “4-2-3-1″ vs Spain in the SF.

              This all sounds very easy in theory, but it’s hard to execute – which is probably why so few teams can do it with any success.

  4. Posted by John Henry on 2011/04/13 at 1:33 PM

    Just a little perspective: players far, far better than Michael Bradley have also been flops or have struggled in the Premier League.

    There are also numerous examples in numerous other sports in which talent alone does not explain either success or failure.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 5:34 AM

      Personally, I wouldn’t say Michael Bradley has “flopped” – difficult to say that when he really hasn’t been given a chance. He may not have impressed that much in the one sub appearance or FA Cup game, but to be fair to him, Villa were down to 10 men when he came on, and played with a weakend team vs. City. Like the main article says, it would be nice for Bradley to get a decent run of games, but it is unknown if this will happen given Villa’s position.

      People can be very binary in that he’s sh1te or brilliant. Just think that people need to be more objective and a little less subjective.

      Reply

      • Posted by John Henry on 2011/04/14 at 7:29 AM

        Yes, I agree, GeorgeC, especially about the binarism. That was my point, namely: if he isn’t seeing success at the moment at Villa, it’s not necessarily because he’s shite.

        Of course, judging a player always involves a good deal of subjectivity.

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/04/17 at 9:21 AM

          It isn’t everyday you see “binarism” brought up on a blog about soccer.

          As for the topic, US fans in general are very extreme and narrow minded in their views:

          Freddy Adu is technically ( what does that mean?) the best US player who ever lived.

          Any European or South American manager is smarter and better than Bob Bradley

          Rico Clark ( actually put any of a number of names in this slot) will never learn from their mistakes and will never improve as a player.And they certainly should never be allowed to play for the US again.

          Bob Bradley knows nothing about tactics

          Bob Bradley knows nothing about substituting players

          Michael Bradley plays only because he is related to the manager.

          US players have no ball control ( unless they are fan favorites, JFT or Holden, come on down).

          Any US player with even a smidgen of ball control automatically has attacking “creativity” ( see JFT and Holden).

          If you play in Europe regardless of how much and at what level, you are better than an MLS player, regardless of how well that MLS player has performed. Unless you are Jozy whose years of experience or inferior to Agudelo or Teal who are automatically miles ahead of Jozy.

          The US has the players to play like Manchester United and should do so every game regardless of the opponent.

          Tim Howard is world class

          Reply

  5. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/04/13 at 6:08 PM

    you people really are going overboard with this michael bradley stuff. the guy has excelled for club and country and people want to downplay it. i mean, nobody has reported that michael bradley did not play in the recent reserve game against west ham. i wonder if that means anything to people. what, mb, is not good enough for the aston villa reserves now? maybe our boy is injured, we know houllier is weak and he is living on a liverpool champions league win, when it was really probably phil thompson who coached that team. it doesnt matter, mb is good enough for villa.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Dougs on 2011/04/13 at 8:47 PM

    I don’t buy that MB is too slow for the Premiership. He has played successfully in the Eredesvie and Bundesliga, both leagues that value skill and quick play. I do not think that Premiership is so much quicker that MB could not adapt. He is one of the quickest soccer minds on the US team, is more mature than his age reflects (that is a necessity when you are coached by your father and everyone is always questioning your selection), and has shown on many occasions a vision for the field. However, he is defense first, offense second which means that he may have let his distribution abilities lag behind his defensive.

    I can understand Houllier not wanting to gamble on someone not established on the team or in the premiership when fighting off relegation, but MB can and will, should he continue to get opportunities, make his way in the premiership.

    There is a reason why MB has played more minutes than any other US player since 2009. There is a reason why he has five WC goals to his name. There is a reason why he is one of only a handful of US field players that have ever played in three of top leagues in the world. He is that good. He is the present and future of US soccer and will not be replaced by a borderline over-the-hill Jermaine Jones who does not come close to MB’s work rate.
    Obviously, I am an unabashed fan of MB and his father. The Bradley’s have done more for US Soccer than almost any other family. Give some respect where it is due.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 5:20 AM

      I know you conceded that you are a Bradley fan, but let’s not get carried away and misrepresent the truth. It really undermines your argument.

      5 World Cup goals? Scoring a goal in a WCQ is not the same as scoring in the Finals itself – let’s be very clear about this. Considering he has played in only one WC, if he scored 5 from midfield I think the whole world would have sat up and taken notice, no?

      Also he has only had one substitute appearance in the PL. You sound as if he is an ever-present fixture in the Villa starting XI.

      I have said previously that I hope he gets a fair chance at Villa, but let’s only give praise where it is due because of his performances rather than because he is American.

      Reply

      • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/04/14 at 5:42 PM

        george, i guess your point is that there is only one premiere league and that five goals in world cup qualifing is not that impressive. the thing that gets me is how someone can be so high on lehigh, or however you spell it, then they turn around and bash bradley, yet it was lehigh who was sent to leeds. and i hope leeds make the playoff, but dang, there has got to be a little irony in all of this.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/04/14 at 11:32 PM

          Now you are making things up. I said that there was a little misrepresentation in “World Cup goals”, as most reasonable people would take this to mean goals scored in the Finals only, rather than WCQ + Finals. [It is there in black & white - please re-read it]. I was implying that there was a little creative accounting to back up his argument.

          Who has been ‘high’ on Lichaj? I said he looked impressive in a couple of games, and to be fair to him, he did have a good game in those matches. Anyway, we are talking about Michael Bradley here. All I am saying is that I think American fans overrate him because he is American and have difficulty separating nationality vs performance. You can disagree – that is your right. He is a good player, no doubt. I hope he gets a chance to show this, and if he does, I am sure he’ll do OK. But until he actually puts the performances in, we’ll never know, will we?

          Reply

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/04/16 at 6:26 PM

            A few things many US fans tend to forget. MB may not work out for Villa. That does not necessarily mean he is not “good enough” for Villa nor does it mean he cannot play for another club in the EPL.

            And whether it works out or not, everyone seems to be overstating its impact on the USMNT. The midfield situation for the US is such that Edu, Jones and MB are more or less interchangeable. Arguing over which one should play more is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (post iceberg); it’s pretty hard to take that argument as other than nit-picking.

            All three are equally talented or equally flawed depending on your bias.

            As for a lack of game sharpness,everyone here seems to agree that his big contributions do not come from his the skilled play but rather from the physical and “character” aspects of his play. For that, it would be better if he was game sharp but as long as he stays in training he should be okay.

            People forget that there are many instances of good and sometimes outstanding international players who don’t see much time with their clubs. Miroslav Klose comes to mind. Both he and Bradley get little club time but both are very established and have played a lot with their natonal teams. This tends to mitigate the lack of club sharpness.

            There are six games left in Villa’s season and after that, whether he plays or not, Bradley will be in his off season which coincides with the Gold Cup. I’m confident MB will get himself into a situation at the start of next season where he will get playing time.

            Bradley is tryng to find a lineup for the Gold Cup not 2014. So as it realtes to Lichaj, he has shown well so far for what little time he has had. However, that is a long way from being proven as Cherundolo’s equal. An interesting lineup would have Lichaj at left back, Dolo at right back and Chandler at right wingback.

            Someone is going to have to replace Donovan on the wing if his health continues to be as bad as it now appears. My guess is Landon won’t be fit for the Gold Cup. He seems to have a knee problem and those take more time than he has left to heal before then.

            Reply

          • Posted by Dikranovich on 2011/04/17 at 9:18 AM

            George, it is all there in black and white. Dougs wrote a nice piece and a you come in with an attack on his credibility, which honestly is pretty much par for the course. I don’t know, all Doug said was world cup goals, then you come back with it’s a lot different scoring in the finals as opposed to qualifing, as if qualifying is like friendly game. Strange, but I’ll probably end up getting lectured. I wonder how many world cup goals deuce has to his name. I can think of one against Barbados

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/04/17 at 11:32 AM

              Nothing like a semantics argument.

              From Wikipedia re Brian McBride:

              “He scored at the 1998 and 2002 tournaments and in doing so, became the first American player to score at two World Cups. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have since equaled this feat. McBride is third behind Bert Patenaude and Donovan for the most World Cup goals for an American with three.”

              While Wikipedia is not the be all and end all of everything, I believe this quote shows you that it is general practice to reserve the term “world cup goals ” for goals scored during the tournament finals.

              Goals scored during qualifying are put in a separate category. Go to the USSF website and you will see that they keep separate lists for World Cup 2010 goals and World Cup 2010 qualifying goals.

              Ching and Dempsey lead the 2010 WCQ goal lists with four a piece. Gooch, Landon and MB have three a piece.

  7. Posted by Brian B. on 2011/04/13 at 9:14 PM

    Tim is being brutally honest, as an American Villa supporter I really really want him to succeed but in his two first team appearances he kept over/under hitting his passes, arrived late to challenges and went missing a lot. Then after the US friendlies he was dropped to a reserve game v Liverpool with a few of our first team players and even at that level he showed no signs of anything impressive outside the occasional interception.

    Reply

  8. Posted by SamT on 2011/04/14 at 6:59 AM

    Whether you agree or disagree with the writer, it has to be indisputable now that TSG is the best damn site, period, for fans of the US Men. Fantastic job bringing this writer in for his perspective on MB.

    Reply

  9. Posted by corky on 2011/04/14 at 9:26 AM

    Glad to see an unbiased opinion on MB90. I want the guy to succeed — I think he has a lot of talent. I really think he could be the homeless man’s Roy Keane.
    That being said, his time at Gladbach was really up and down and then he doesn’t play at Villa.
    I’m just confused. He’s not as good as I thought he was, but, then again, I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s showing right now.

    Reply

  10. [...] conflict, as we spoke about it our previous Bradley pieces (here and here) is Nigel Reo Coker. What’s the easiest way to rattle an agent who is playing chicken with [...]

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  11. Posted by NJ futbol on 2011/08/15 at 7:18 AM

    In his career, MB has more yellow / red cards than assists and as a center mid that is a problem.

    Reply

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