Five Gold Cup Questions For Bob Bradley

And go…because I’m sure we’ll have five more in about a week:

The promise of Bornstein continues....

5. Will a wrong-footed leftback be considered and can they be a difference maker?

The US leftback position hasn’t been a star level since, well, since forever.

Carlos Bocanegra has been more than serviceable in the role, playing smart positionally, but never really offering a lot going forward.

For more than two years now, Jonathan Bornstein has been his understudy, unfairly criticized by fans because a major mistake in his neck of the woods is magnified by the damage it can cause to the scoreline. Bornstein, alas, has more warts as well.

Bob Bradley had the following to say this past Monday about the position:

“Carlos Bocanegra and Jonathan Bornstein obviously give us two left-backs to begin with but we have seen Eric Lichaj play as of late at left back. Jonathan Spector has played some at left-back too, so we do think we have some different possibilities there and we’ll certainly look at all of them when we get into camp.”

The challenge for Eric Lichaj or Jonathan Spector excelling in that role is dualfold.

First, the worst thing a Yanks defender can do–besides being out of position–is author a turnover when the team is countering up the field that leaves the defense unset, out-of-position and caught out–and with no help from the midfielders.

The last World Cup cycle bore witness to game-alering turnovers (not just by defenders) when the team on the counter or possession had just flipped: Ricardo Clark against Ghana, Clint Dempsey against Honduras in Chicago, Oguchi Onyewu against Honduras, Benny Feilhaber against Italy all come to mind.

Lichaj and Spector have tendencies to do this on their strong foot; their right–which would be right into a counter attack for the other team. Step one to challenging for a leftback role will be this.

Step two, is how do you involve either in the offense. Probably the best you’re asking for is an in-bending cross that finds the head of Clint Dempsey or Chris Wondolowski this summer.

Bob Bradley has shown a penchant to–correctly–and ultimately favor left-footed players at left back. Unless Lichaj or Spector are turnover prone–relatively–in camp and provide the ability to author a looping cross from that flank, bet on the role staying with Bocanegra and Bornstein.

Um, not that Robbie Rogers shouldn’t git it a shot, because he should.

4. Is it centerback by committee or is it a Clarence Goodson vs. Oguchi Onyewu vs. Tim Ream et all?

Calls for his demise are in the right area, but at present exaggerated...

First, let’s dispel one notion here.

Oguchi Onyewu is not washed up or doesn’t deserve less of a shot to play. Let’s put Onyewu’s status in perspective a little.

It typically takes 18-24 months to come back fully from a major knee injury. We are just in that “sweet spot” right now with Onewyu. He’s not the player he once was; and he may never be.

Ironically enough it’s not the physical discount that has hurt Onyewu upon his return in my opinion. It’s the challenges with things he already struggled with, that being distribution and focus to be positioned correctly.

If you watched Onyewu trail out and protect against Messi when the Yanks played Argentina he did an above average job in that aspect of his game.

Onyewu, rightfully, will play when the States take the field in the Gold Cup. He’s a seasoned veteran who knows the competition well.

But a larger question looms for Bob Bradley, that is who does he start grooming through World Cup qualifying and how soon?

Is Clarence Goodson really the answer in 2014 or should he merely be seen as a stopgap until a player–perhaps–like Ike Opara or Gale Agbossumunde comes along. Will either of those players–or ones of their ilk–be seasoned by then as well. Centerbacks typically have more experience.

History shows that traction at World Cups is predicated on the understanding and pairing of solid centerbacks. Pique and Puyol doing a phenomenal job in 2010. The cliched pairing of Cannavaro and Nesta. Bucholz and Kohler.

Tim Ream, at least presently, seems to be being groomed for one of the roles at present. Bob Bradley long has a history of falling in love with a player and giving them ample opportunity.

Is it Onyewu and Ream? It is Ream and Goodson? Is it centerback by committee at Gold Cup 2011.

3. Does Jozy feel the push?

Bradley believes...when will Jozy?

The decision not bring Teal Bunbury to the Gold Cup was a curious one, if only because of the current form of Jozy Altidore less the abilities or form of Bunbury himself.

Bob Bradley has insisted on employing Jozy Altidore now for over three years in the role of target striker. It’s been a decidedly mixed bag with Altidore’s performances, but one fact is hard to debate:

Over multiple observations, Altidore does his best work facing the goal.

That said, Altidore has certainly impressed at times in the hold-up role, typically when he is dragging across the field in motion as oppose to being asked to corral a direct over-the-top ball.

Bob Bradley tried out Chris Wondolowski in the hold-up role against Chile and, in that single observation, Wondolowski struggled with little support.

Altidore appears to do his best work when he’s pushed. Some of his best games in a US jersey have come on the bigger stages (against England in the World Cup, against Costa Rica in the Charlie Davies salute game) when he’s challenged.

By having Bunbury in camp it at least would have pushed Jozy more.

Bradley had the following devout praise for Altidore on Monday:

Let’s not forget that Jozy is still quite young in this whole thing and I will emphatically say we believe that Jozy has done a lot of important things for us and we’re going to continue to put him forward because he’s a big part of things for U.S. Soccer.

Well Coach Bradley, it’s been three years with Altidore employed in many different roles–with little playing time–in club ball. When does a consistent effort from Jozy become important? Does it ever?

2. Does Coach Rope-A-Dope continue his “play not to concede in the 1st half, push the play in the 2nd half” mentality?

1ST HALF.....

The final two questions here are probably the two key questions and neither specifically involve personnel.

In many of Bradley’s matches, we’ve witnessed and here on TSG called attention to the “rope-a-dope” strategy.

That is Bradley battens down the hatches in the first half and then with a few tactical substitutions at the half or in the 60th minute attempts to “steal” (terrible word, but we’ll use it here) the game, betting that the team that easily advanced in the first half will have difficulty adjusting on the fly to his changes after halftime.

....2ND HALF.

Now, that type of strategy makes sense when you have a team coming together for a short one-game or two-game camp, however this is not that type of camp.

First, the Gold Cup is, obviously, a tournament. Second, the US should be able to–and should strive to–dictate the play to all comers at the Gold Cup with the exception of Mexico (and maybe Costa Rica who run their 3-5-2 well against the States).

Here’s the rub.

There are no deep lying true holding pivots on the Yanks this go around (no Jose Torres, no Dax McCarty) and there are no true wingers save Robbie Rogers. The US, in short, has a group of players–save now Clint Dempsey–who are used to going north-south almost exclusively with the marble.

Merely judging by the personnel, Bradley expects to play less of a possession game (unless that game comes to him). How will Bradley dictate the game to the opponent in the lead-up to 2014, something the team had quite a bit of trouble with in the lead-up to 2010.

Is it the captain's job?

1. How does Bob use the beginning of his 2nd term here to halt the concession of goals in the early minutes of matches?

I’ve got nothing for you here.

I would you could look at the captain here, Carlos Bocanegra, but any player is an example of playing smart on defense it’s Bocanegra even with his up-and-down distribution.

All yours here Bob. But maybe the solution is benching “core players” when they make this critical mistake as most US concessions in the early going have often been attributable to a US blunder, less a strong play from the opposition.

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87 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Vlad on 2011/05/29 at 8:39 AM

    Great article. I think this sums up most USMNT fans’ thoughts.

    Reply

  2. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/29 at 8:49 AM

    Doesn’t No.1 contradict No.2?!

    And although Spain is a great team to play [especialy for the casual fan], I question the usefulness prior to the GC, as the US won’t face anybody who will dominate possession like the Spainish.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/29 at 8:55 AM

      How so?

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/29 at 10:16 AM

        If you are conceding early goals, how is that rope-a-dope? Clearly, you are not very successful at it, no?

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/29 at 11:04 AM

          It’s not the plan to concede early goals.

          Reply

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/29 at 12:42 PM

            You are missing my point entirely. Never mind.

            Reply

          • Posted by MJD on 2011/05/31 at 11:46 AM

            He’s saying if the plan is to not concede early goals (#1) then why use a strategy that intentionally invites pressure (#2).

            Reply

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/31 at 12:11 PM

              Just getting back to this guys. Well, I think it’s a longer answer than here, but “strategy #2″ doesn’t necessarily invites goals.

              The ability to attack, play more dynamically in the 2nd half makes sense in that players find it more difficult to adjust on the fly, the game has a certain rhythm, and there is an element of fatigue.

              In terms of your question–if I understand it correctly this time–I think the defensive, bunkering strategy in the 1st half is an effort not to concede goals and “make it to” the 2nd half. You’re not necessarily inviting more pressure in the 2nd half because the game complexion as noted above has changed.

              What’s interesting–and I didn’t do a good job of communicating here–is that *in spite of* the strategy to bunker in, in the 1st half the States still concedes. I think there are a number of reasons for this, but let’s see how the Gold Cup plays out first and then I’ll address it.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 3:15 PM

              I wouldn’t say it’s in spite of. I’d say it’s because of. Bunkering invites attacks, so you’d better be good at defending in order to get away with such a strategy. U.S. defenders are, in general, neither particularly intelligent or athletic. All you’re doing by bunkering is increasing the sample size for attackers to prove what bad defenders you are.

              To be fair the other courses of action present problems also.

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/29 at 9:31 AM

      Would you have preferred no game at all? It used to be the USSF was criticized for not playing any serious opponents.

      The Spain match is an obvious attempt at making money. The US is actually theone team in the World who probably matches up well with them because stylistically, teams who put ten men eehind theball and counter attck well are the only ones who have succeeded aginst Spian altely ( the US and Switzerland and Inter if you thinbk of Barcelona as the preq) the answer to maker

      Name me a team outside of the ones we will play in the Gold Cup who would have been a better stylisitic match?

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/29 at 9:35 AM

        (actual post, previous one was accidentally sent early)

        Would you have preferred no game at all? It used to be the USSF was criticized for not playing any serious opponents.
        The Spain match is an obvious attempt at making money. The US is actually the one team in the World who probably matches up well with them because stylistically, teams who put ten men behind the ball and counter attack well are the only ones who have succeeded against Spain lately ( the US and Switzerland and Inter if you think of Barcelona as the template for Spain).

        Name me a team outside of the ones we will play in the Gold Cup who would have been a better stylisitic match?
        Besides, this Spanish team is unlikely to be anywhere near 100% in terms of motivation. The US will be facing a team in vacation mode.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/29 at 10:22 AM

          Personally, I would have liked to have seen the USA play a team that perhaps would not have 70% possession, and perhaps a team that would put men behind the ball / play defensively – something that the USA will likely face in the GC [with the exception of Mexico].

          The US chasing shadows for 90 minutes – is great preparation for the GC, how?

          Reply

          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 10:43 AM

            Didn’t we get that with Paraguay? I want to play the best as often as possible. More than happy with Spain on the calendar.

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          • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/29 at 10:46 AM

            Again, it’s preparation for Mexico. Sure, one can argue that “looking ahead” is a bad idea – and I would agree that we’d be fools to take Canada lightly. On the other hand we’re 23-0-2 all time in the GC group stages, and this squad is about as talented as any we’ve brought to the competition. It’s very likely that we’ll do alright in the group stage without scheduling warm-ups against similar opponents.

            Reply

          • Posted by Pancho on 2011/05/30 at 10:36 AM

            There are complaints against playing the #1 team in the world? Seriously? There are probably 201 other countries that would have loved to have scheduled Spain for a game…

            Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/29 at 9:58 AM

      I view the Spain match as a warm-up to the possible showdown with Mexico. Mexico won’t dominate possession against us quite as much as Spain will, but we’ll still be looking at long stretches without the ball in that game (if it happens).

      Reply

    • Posted by dbex on 2011/05/29 at 10:24 AM

      you mean except Mexico? even in games vs. Mex in which the US does well, Mex tends to have the ball the majority of the match.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/29 at 10:03 AM

    Clint Dempsey against Chicago

    Hey, the USMNT should be able to spot five goals to the Fire and still win the game ;)

    Reply

  4. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 10:05 AM

    Thinking things through I am not sure the rope a dope isn’t our best way to score. I know that seems counter intuitive but Barca plays the possession game and tries to get the defense out of shape finding a gap. The US team can’t play that way. We have never played with 5 back (always 6 or more back) and without that extra man not sure that the possession game works (particularly since Altidore isn’t a great passer and Dempsey isn’t wired for side way passes).

    In the Paraguay game we saw the US with most of the possession and an inability to break down an organized defense which was a common trend (aside from set pieces).

    So the question is how can we break down a defense with our current roster and still playing 2 DMFs? Its either rope a dope or have MB90 play much more offensively basically bringing a 5th man into the attack.

    Keep in mind when looking at the Gold Cup and extrapolating it to 2014 that Holden is missing and I like him as a CM with the keys to the offense much better than Bradley.

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/29 at 12:25 PM

      BB,

      One of the things about Barca (and Spain, who are basically building on the back of Barca) is that every talks about how they have shown us how to play the game but everyone forgets that they have been working on developing this style for many, many years:

      1. They consistently follow a very basic football philosophy, set in place by Cruyff.
      2. They have solid base of home grown players steeped in the philosophy.
      3. They have enough money and power so that they can buy appropriate managers and, most important, appropriate players. You fit in with what Barca does or you aren’t there anymore (or in the first place).

      Sounds simple enough but this is very difficult to do. Obvious comparisons can be drawn to Man U and Arsenal but the problem with both of them is that they have been let down in recent years by the inability to handle #3.

      So it’s not just the US who can’t play like Barca. The only team right now who could play like Barca (or Spain), if they could stop stabbing each other in the back long enough to work on it, is Holland. Appro[riate since at the end of the day Barca is basically Cruyff’s Iberian reworking of Total football.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/29 at 12:50 PM

        Not to mention the Spainish team is less divided politically than yesteryear.

        Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 2:37 PM

        I am not suggesting that we try to play like Barca. I don’t think we can and I think that would be a disaster.

        One of the reasons Barca can play the way they do is that they play 5 in attack and 5 in defense (freeing up one more player than we do for possession in the other teams half) and Dani Alves bombs forward almost as if he is a MF rather than a D (there were many times I saw him in or around the Man U box not on a run) meaning they really attack with 6 and defend with 4 (Pouyol slides over and fills Alves spot and they have Busquets plus a 3 man back line).

        As US fans we either need to live with the counter attack strategy (keeping 6 back and only letting outside backs and MB90 forward on counters) or scream for getting a 5th man into the attack one of the CM into attack (definitely not a strong suit of JJ or Edu, and MB90 lacks the passing at the international level). Attacking with 4 just won’t work. It turns games into coin flips like Paraguay where despite outplaying them the team that makes the most mistakes loses (DeMerit slipping).

        One way that Bradley has tried to attack defenses like Argentina, Spain, Brazil, etc without committing that 5th man is to let them have the ball and try to catch them out of position on the counter. Its not the prettiest strategy but I do think that its a valid strategy until Holden gets back. I think he could be that 5th attacker while still playing enough defense to keep the D from getting exposed.

        Reply

        • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 3:00 PM

          Rather than attacking with 4 I meant to say playing with 4 attacking players.

          Reply

  5. Posted by Tabare on 2011/05/29 at 10:19 AM

    Not bringing Bunbury is beyond “curious” — it is a poor decision.

    Sasha Kljestan and Feilhaber selected, but not Torres?

    The big point about simple North-South soccer is spot on.

    Honest question for the Shin Guardian: At what point do you conclude that Bob Bradley is not the man for the job?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/29 at 11:14 AM

      Well, that question #2 will be a big one for me. I under why–I think Bob Bradley– is doing what he is doing.

      You’re not going to beat Spain, Argentina, etc. at there own game.

      What I want to see if the US dictate the tempo, rate of play to their opponent when they’ve had time together.

      If that looks poor this tournament, I’d had concern, but not yet.

      Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/29 at 12:31 PM

      Who would you have Bunbury replace?

      His performances for the US in what were basically two cupcake friendlies were underwhelming in extremis, mostly from the born to be mild side of things.

      The penalty could have been taken by anyone.

      Bradley basically said it came down to the fact that Wondo is in better form. Now you can argue Teal is a better long term prospect but Bradley has made it crystal clear this roster is all about 2010, as it should be since if BB doesn’t win the Gold Cup he may not have a 2014 to worry about.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 12:46 PM

        Is that the new revisionist history? Bunbury was very good against South Africa and Chile but was overshadowed by Agudelo, who was admittedly more spectacular (but also enabled by Bunbury, whose dirty work allowed Agudelo the freedom to drop deep).

        Since then Bunbury’s got 3 goals and two assists in 600 minutes, which is not a bad return when you consider how dire KC’s results have been. In fact, at a goal or assist every 120 minutes, his return has been better than Agudelo’s, at a goal every 250 minutes, especially since Agudelo plays for a better team. Bunbury’s target forward skills aren’t really duplicated in the Gold Cup roster, since we know Jozy isn’t much of a target forward.

        Personally, I don’t really see why Bradley couldn’t’ve taken both Wondolowski and Bunbury, particularly given the strangeness of some of his other selections. I’d much rather have Bunbury than Spector, Rogers, or Adu.

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/29 at 3:14 PM

          Revisionist?

          Not for me. I saw both games and as I said, I thought Bunbury was underwhelming. Not bad, just underwhelming given what I had read about him.

          What I find interesting is this notion that Bunbury is a better prospect than Jozy. Is it possible that this Teal > Jozy movement is mostly about the grass is always greener, new kid in town syndrome?

          Teal is about six months younger than Jozy (both are 21). Both have a very similar build.

          Teal has 34 MLS appearances and 8 goals. Jozy has 37 MLS apearances and 15 goals.

          Teal has 2 US appearances and 1 goal.

          Jozy has 34 US appearances and 10 goals including WC qualifying goals(a hat trick against T&T), and the goal against Spain in the Confdederations Cup. He did not score in the World Cup but he played well against England, assisted on Bradley’s goal against Slovenia and assisted on Donovan’s goal against Algeria. Are World Cup, World Cup Qualifying and Confederations Cup games more important and intense than the Chile and SA friendlies were?

          Tell me who has proven himself for the US when it really counts? Remember, BB has made it crystal clear this is entirely about winning this Gold Cup, nothing else.

          And tell me which guy has played at a higher level of competition for longer? If you are going to bet on who will be better in the long run the only reason to choose Bunbury is that he hasn’t had as many chances as Jozy to screw up yet.

          As for bringing Bunbury rather than Spector, Rogers or Adu, those guys were clearly brought on for specific tactical reasons and, if all things go well, should not play. And Bunbury can’t do what they do.

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 3:26 PM

            You won’t see the notion that Teal > Jozy from me; you’re reading something into my post that very much isn’t there. I think Teal > Jozy as a target forward, but of course this is a very limited assessment to make for a forward. Teal Bunbury is also a better target forward than Javier Hernandez, but obviously Hernandez is a much better player.

            As to Teal’s alleged underwhelming performances…your opinion is very much in the minority. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, of course, but in the minority. Perhaps worth reconsidering, even a little bit? I don’t know.

            And while Spector, Rogers, and Adu might have specific abilities Bunbury doesn’t, but I don’t think their particular quality at those abilities warrants bringing them above Bunbury.

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            • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/29 at 4:01 PM

              I can see why people like Bunbury, I’m just more skeptical than everyone else and I just don’t find him convincing yet. The sample size of the available information on which to judge Teal is alarmingly small.

              Right now if money is on the line, I go with Jozy over Teal 100%. Jozy has been uneven at the club level but for the US he has been very good, in games that matter.

              You could say the same thing about Agudelo(4 US games 2 goals) but at least one can argue that he has been spectacular in his short time and that good things seem to happen when he shows up. Sometimes it’s best to go with it and not to argue with that sort of karma.

              As for the things that Spec-Rog-Du can do yeah they ain’t Ferraris but right now all the US has available are Chevrolets. And Bunbury still can’t do what they do.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 4:17 PM

              I’d rather have a Chevy that works than a broken-down Fiat. Spector, Rogers and Adu just don’t get it done. Spector is a below-average player at multiple positions; Rogers has good skill and very good athleticism but he’s tentative, unaggressive and a poor decision-maker (speaking of underwhelming guys in the most recent cap–Rogers was the worst guy on the US!); Adu has that creativity people love, but has been playing at a very inferior level of competition and does not do well against faster speeds of play or more physical styles of play.

              As to Bunbury: he’s a good target forward with good pace–he can stretch a defense–with intelligent movement and a nose for goal. He doesn’t have any elite skills, to be sure, but he can certainly contribute, particularly since there aren’t any true target forwards on the roster. Jozy and Clint can do a decent imitation but Teal gives you the real thing. Which is valuable, especially since Teal isn’t a monodimensional bruiser. And, of course, he also produces for a team that hasn’t been playing too well. Bunbury’s 5 goals assisted or scored is about 50% of Kansas City’s total goals. That’s pretty impressive.

              Of course, you could say the same thing about Agudelo’s USMNT production, which is why I want him on the Gold Cup roster. You can choose Jozy over Teal 100% of the time, which is not particularly objectionable–I’d start him first XI also (though I’d like to see him in a wide forward role). I don’t want to be too harsh here, but please stop reading things in my posts that I didn’t write or even imply.

    • Posted by Alex Song on 2011/05/29 at 4:18 PM

      The calls for Bradley’s head are nothing short of laughable.

      All he has done since becoming USMNT coach is win a Gold Cup, get to the final of a Confed Cup, and win a World Cup group.

      What more do people expect? To win the World Cup and be drubbing elite teams like Brazil, Spain, and France?

      Hey guys, here’s a hint…our player pool sucks.

      Sorry. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is. We don’t have a single player getting regular minutes on a perennial Champions League team (unless you want to count Mo Edu). Repeat that five times in your head before getting uppity about our manager situation. We don’t have a single player getting regular minutes on a perennial Champions League team (unless you want to count Mo Edu)!

      It’s not Bob’s fault that we don’t have a single international caliber goal scoring forward. It’s not his fault that our best left backs are a backup LM from the Mexican league and a right-footed youngster who most recently played in England’s second tier.

      Get some perspective. You can only do so much when your roster is mediocre. And let’s face it…our roster is the definition of mediocre. We have enough decent players to thump minnows like Ecuador and Suriname, but we are totally outclassed by teams like Brazil, Spain, Argentina, and England in terms of talent.

      The fact that Bob has managed to scrape together some decent results against these sides is a feather in his cap and a testament to the will of our players. As far as I’m concerned, Bradley has done a phenomenal job for the USA.

      I’d love it if we could be as entertaining as Arsenal and as dominant as Barcelona, but we don’t have the horses for that. You can’t blame Bob.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 4:33 PM

        Well, I wouldn’t say it’s totally laughable. I disagree, but it’s not laughable. Bradley has made some mistakes, which the shouters among the US fans have made us well aware of. He does some things well and some things not so well, and I suspect he’s around average as a national team coach.

        The question is, however: can we do better and should we want to do better? There are certainly better foreign coaches available, and I bet there are some better MLS coaches out there too. In terms of MLS, Bradley has a good-but-not-great record–Dom Kinnear, for example, is an American coach with a more distinguished record. Would that make him a better national team coach? it’s unclear. Meanwhile, could we do better in terms of a foreign coach? Japan, a rough peer for us, is coached by Alberto Zaccheroni, who’s won Serie A.

        I’ll make my priorities clear: I want the US to win the World Cup, and I view any move in light of that ultimate goal. Would hiring a foreign coach expedite that goal? One of the best international overachievers out there is Guus Hiddink (yeah, I know, recent underachievement with Russia and now Turkey, but ultimately you can’t really match his record.) Did wonders with South Korea and Australia. Where are South Korea and Australia right now? South Korea has continued to produce some decent players; Australia has a few teenage prospects but is feeling the hangover from a golden generation. The Hiddink bump was very temporary.

        Bradley is an average coach for a very cheap cost. That’s very valuable, especially for the USSF. Last I heard the USSF was breaking even, with a ton of new money going to the Development Academy. The odds are that if you want to hire a coach you can be very sure is better than Bradley, you’ll have to spend big bucks for the privilege. So if you want that kind of coach, you either have to find stuff to cut in USSF–i.e. Development Academy funds–for find a lot of new money for the USSF. Personally I think both courses of action aren’t very appealing, but then again I find other people are very free with other people’s pocketbooks.

        Success for the U.S. is entirely a matter for our development.

        Reply

        • Posted by Soccernst on 2011/05/29 at 7:05 PM

          This this this.

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          • Posted by Fernando Sanchez on 2011/05/30 at 3:35 AM

            Bob is not an average coach…He was fire twice from MLS!!! He is mediocre… And how are we going to find if our player pool suck…? Well what about if we give the same AMOUNT OF MINUTES OF PLAY THAT BOB HAVE GIVE TO KLJESTAN AND BEDOYA… Fair enough…? Bob Bradley have been riding on Bruce Arenas work and it seems like the ride is coming to a stop, he still can figure out a defensive lineup beside Gooch and Bocanegra

            Reply

        • Posted by Fernando Sanchez on 2011/05/30 at 3:40 AM

          Gary Smith have show the naysayers that a REAL COACH does not have to be familiar with Da USA system. He was able to win a MLS title with 18 month on the league…

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        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/30 at 11:54 AM

          You could spend GBP6M pa on your coach’s salary and still only get to the last 16…

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      • Posted by Tux on 2011/05/31 at 2:27 PM

        He’s a guy who brings stuff to the table, but he also takes stuff off at the same time. He’s done a very good job at getting looks at tons of players – we saw this in the last cycle – and, with a few notable exceptions (i.e. Clark, Findley), doesn’t keep throwing out players who aren’t going to work out.

        But we’re not winning a WC with him. And we’re not winning a WC with these players. If soccer keeps developing in this country at the same rate, we may only be two cycles away, but it’s more likely that we’re three or four. I’ll be pleased if we win before I turn 45 (I’m currently 22). I’ll be ecstatic if we win before I turn 35. But we have to keep this in mind: a single genius coach is not going to fix it. Pep Guardiola wouldn’t be able to win a cup with our guys. Neither would The Special One, or any other elite coach. We just don’t have the horses. Of our three best players (which I think we can all agree are Timmy, Landon, and Deuce), they would make the eighteen for most of the top-five teams – and Timmy would be in contention to start for Argentina, Germany and Holland (remember, Cech’s gone), but I can’t think of a single reason for our two best outfield players to ever see the pitch! And the drop between Donovan and our worst starter (most likely whoever’s playing left back) is a far larger gap than for a team like Brasil.

        The fact of the matter is that our entire system is still growing. Adulthood’s coming – and I think we can all see it – but we’ve gotta keep making strides towards it. And for right now, that means making strides while BB is at the helm. Is he the best man for the job? Probably not, but he sure as hell ain’t the worst.

        Reply

        • Well stated. The quandry becomes what do we do if we lose the Gold Cup in a bad way? Not a bad bounce or call or Mexico plays a blinder, but in a really bad and embarassing way. Who do we turn to then? As you said, Bobbo isn’t the worst man for the job, but there aren’t too many others we can afford at the moment that would come in and have a signifcant impact.

          Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 3:39 PM

          I think it’s a bit strange to say he kept on throwing Clark out there despite it being obvious Clark was bad. Clark has only had two horrendously bad games; they just happened to be during the World Cup. It happens. Clark also hasn’t been called back since, despite having a respectable season in the Bundesliga (better than, say…Jonathan Spector.)

          Reply

          • Posted by Tux on 2011/06/01 at 6:06 AM

            But even before the WC, we all knew that he (Clark) was a meltdown waiting to happen. There’s a reason he’s been dubbed “Red card-o.”

            Reply

            • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/01 at 6:51 AM

              Yeah, DTH is right. He only had 2 horrendously bad games. In most other games he was just bad not horrendous. Clark didn’t belong on the field in the second game and the fact that he played should have been a fireable offense.

              Did he really have a more respectable season than Spector? They were both relegated and played a similar number of games.

        • Posted by cam on 2011/05/31 at 9:58 PM

          I agree with what you’ve said.

          But Cech is a Czech. I think you meant Van Der Saar.

          Reply

        • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/01 at 5:39 AM

          You’re right that we’re not winning a WC with Bradley or with anyone else. I do think if we had a better coach then we beat Ghana at the WC2010. The Clark move (and the excuse that Edu was too tired even though he’d played less than a lot of the team) and then using a sub to take him off was one of the worst displays of coaching I’ve ever seen. At the same time, Mourinho, Guardiola and Hiddink aren’t walking through that door and I’m not sure that Klinsmann was the right guy to get full control.

          Unfortunately for Bob, I think he takes the brunt of fan’s anger at US Soccer. What he does is more visible than what happens between Sunil and the other even shadier people at US Soccer. I also think that 2 cycles is too much and US Soccer should’ve learned that lesson from Arena.

          Reply

    • Posted by Fernando Sanchez on 2011/05/30 at 3:46 AM

      At what point Bob Bradley is not up to the job…? The man was fired twice from MLS…He went to El Salvador and lineup a unfit Beasley barely tie 2-2 and Go to Costa Rica and make the same mistake…His lack of gamesmanship cost USA a defeat against Ghana.!!!…Should i continue…?

      Reply

  6. Posted by Tony on 2011/05/29 at 12:23 PM

    I agree with question #3. BB choice for his main forward is questionable at best.

    Reply

  7. Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 12:48 PM

    Re: Onyewu. I’ve got to disagree with your rosy assessment there, TSG. If Onyewu were really on the upward trend of his recovery, why would FC Twente–coached by a guy who’s seen Onyewu at his very best–decline the option to buy Onyewu? In particular, why would they decline given the notorious lack of quality defensive player in the Eredivisie?

    Reply

    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 2:49 PM

      I hope TSG is right (for the sake of the US team) but I tend to agree with dth. I haven’t seen anything like the old Gooch and if he had a different name he would get the vitriol that is reserved for Bornstein (which I don’t understand). Anecdotally losing his job at Twente isn’t a good sign. I have no idea what the option to buy price was so I will reserve judgement on what that means.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/29 at 3:10 PM

      Much more leverage to decline the option–they know Milan is not going to keep him.

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/29 at 3:12 PM

      And it’s hardly a rosy sentiment, it’s an objective assessment. Gooch deserves to be in play for a starting role; he doesn’t deserve to outright start. I think that assessment is spot-on.

      Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 3:44 PM

        You said, “he will rightfully play” I am not sold that he is the clear cut #1 or #2 CB for the US at the current time. I think at best he is part of a 4-way competition (Gooch, Ream, Goodson, DeMerit) in which no one has distinguished themselves. From what I have seen (and its limited, since I don’t watch that much MLS) I think Ream is the clear #1. You can also throw Boca in the mix at CB so… I am fine with any of those 5 starting in the hypothetical squad.

        Reply

  8. Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 4:22 PM

    By the by, crazy DC v. Portland game that just ended. DC won and was the better team on balance, so that works. DC dominated the flanks and while I’ll always have a little sad that Najar couldn’t become a US citizen, I thought Chris Pontius was pretty good in today’s game. While I understand you need that familiarity with the team, Pontius has looked much better on practically every occasion I’ve seen him than Robbie Rogers.

    (Other USMNT notes: Hamid let in a bad second goal and was involved in some controversy trying to save a penalty kick. I can’t describe it except as very weird and probably unjust for Hamid. Hamid generally looked very confident in claiming crosses and positioning. Ethan White had yet another interesting performance as a center back–by “interesting” I mean up-and-down–but there’s quite a bit of upside there. Disastrous distribution though. Perry Kitchen had a very good run-out as a right back and his foot skills and passing were used to good effect on the flanks. I’m still not sure what position Perry Kitchen is deployed at.)

    Reply

  9. Posted by MesaATLien on 2011/05/29 at 5:43 PM

    Hey TSG, the Swedish media is reporting that Ale Bedoya has been called in to replace Feilhaber and is flying out to meet up with the team.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/29 at 7:06 PM

      Thanks! Makes sense.. Bob wants to add an inverted winger on the left.

      Reply

      • Posted by s44 on 2011/05/29 at 7:23 PM

        Yes! Good news. But I have no idea how this last go-round with the old horses is going to go.

        Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/29 at 9:15 PM

        I would have liked to see Bunbury called in. Not sure I want the 4-2-3-1 experiment in the Gold Cup. Hopefully it will work itself out in the group stage. For the love of god please allow us to play at least 4 offensive players (no Edu in an attacking role).

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/29 at 9:19 PM

          I’d be fine with a 4-2-3-1: if Bradley played a similar 4-2-3-1 as the one he used in the World Cup (the one that worked, with–gasp!–an actual attacking player in the hole) as opposed to the one he’s tried after (the one that tries to make Maurice Edu a #10). I’m not quite sure how Bradley arrived at this particular conclusion (“I’m going to take a formation that works and change what works about it and see if it works!), but it sure is strange.

          Reply

      • Posted by Fernando Sanchez on 2011/05/30 at 3:37 AM

        Bedoya like Sacha Kljestan have not show a reason to be on our national team

        Reply

        • Posted by Tabare on 2011/05/30 at 7:41 AM

          I concur.

          I am also frankly staggered that Jose Francisco Torres can’t get a serious run in this side.

          I know this may put me in some sort of minority position. But broadly speaking I see Bradley the father as a man with a cramped, conservative, and ultimately self-defeating approach to player selection and tactics.

          We got Charlie Davies only once Ching got hurt. Owen Coyle saw in Stuart Holden something Bob Bradley failed to see. Torres has never been given an extended chance — and has been effectively blamed for others’ errors (Bornstein’s in the first Costa Rica match, Onyewu’s against the Slovenes).

          This sort of stuff seems so damning, I don’t get the continued support Bradley has. But opinions vary…

          Had a short email exchange with Gulati a while back — before the World Cup — urging him to hire a world class manager.

          He answered me courteously enough. But we’ve got what we’ve got. To me it’s a minor disaster.

          Reply

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/30 at 1:03 PM

            “We got Charlie Davies only once Ching got hurt. ”

            You make it sound like Bradley stumbled over Charle in an alley somewhere by accident. Not true.

            Davies was on the Copa America squad in 2007 and was gradually working his way into the side from then on. In late 2008 and 2009 he had a hot goal scoring streak in Sweden.

            The first reaction to Ching being hurt in early 2009 was a change in formation to 4-3-3, with Jozy, Clint and Donovan up top (Davies came in in the 80th minute). That didn’t work so well so they shifted to a 4-4-2 with Jozy & Casey top to beat Honduras in the last game before the Confed Cup. Then the first couple of games didn’t work so well in the Confed Cup with the red cards and Jozy alone up top. Then came the Egypt game and the rest is history.

            The point is Davies was in the forward rotation and took advantage of his shot in a way that Casey did not. You imply that Bradley had no idea of Davies abilities and that is just pure dog manure.

            As for Gulati, he wanted Klinsman but couldn’t get the other 14 votes he needed to get him hired. Talk to the other 14 USSF board members not Sunil; he’s just a fgurehead.

            Owen Coyle saw in Stuart Holden something Bob Bradley failed to see. Torres has never been given an extended chance — and has been effectively blamed for others’ errors (Bornstein’s in the first Costa Rica match, Onyewu’s against the Slovenes).

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/30 at 1:57 PM

              It’s hard to give Bradley too much trouble for “missing out on Stuart Holden.” To me it’s clear Bradley was as high on Stuart Holden as just about anyone was: Holden went from starting in Gold Cup 2009, to being a critical substitute at Azteca, to continuing to be integrated throughout the remainder of the year (Holden got the last two starts in World Cup Qualifying), until the Nigel DeJong-caused injury, which impacted Holden’s World Cup minutes.

              So Bradley was giving tons of time to Holden, and he was pretty far ahead of the media and fan base: while you hear some over enthusiastic comparisons to Paul Scholes and various Spanish midfielders these days, that’s a very recent phenomenon. At this time in 2009, people were making Holden sound like the blond-headed Michael Bradley. Some people will insist they saw it all along in Holden, but I’ve yet to see many contemporaneous posts/articles/essays advocating vociferously for Holden at the time Bradley was allegedly ignoring him. I’m always happy to be proven wrong, though.

  10. Posted by Freegle on 2011/05/30 at 5:28 AM

    To Summerize:

    #5) We don’t have a great option at left back

    #4) We don’t have a great option at CB

    #3) We don’t have a great option at striker

    #2) We don’t have a great style of play

    #1) We dont have great mental toughness

    Bring on CONCACAF’s best!

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/30 at 2:04 PM

      Lest we get too narcissistic, let’s remind ourselves of the complaints of our competitors:

      Canada: No one wants to play for us!

      Mexico: our first-choice goalkeeper just got suspended, our center of midfield sucks, we’re starting a thirty-four year old at enganche whose name sounds like a froofy alcoholic beverage (Zinha), our defense is mediocre, and most of our best offensive players are either always injured (Guardado) or benched (dos Santos). At least we’ve got Chicharito! (Unfortunately for American fans–and Zinha, of course–Zinha’s father just died and may be taken off of the Gold Cup squad. Too bad, there was a serious chance he’d be the Brazilian-Mexican Blanco in 2011. )

      Honduras: Our federation is run by amateurs that can’t even call up the right players!

      And so on.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/30 at 2:31 PM

        Ooh, this is fun.

        El Salvador: Our Gold Cup roster includes a MLS second-stringer with no national team caps who barely speaks our language.

        Cuba: We literally have to keep our players under lock and key, or they’ll bolt given the first opportunity.

        Reply

        • Posted by Danimal on 2011/06/03 at 1:34 AM

          Grenada: Our team nickname sounds like some horrible Victoria Beckham teen fan club. But at least we’ve got Shalrie Joseph… wait, no we don’t.

          Honduras: Expectations are running very high. We may have committed a terrible error by qualifying for the World Cup last year. Now we are screwed.

          Guadeloupe: This is like our World Cup, because even though we gave the world Thierry Henry’s dad, that bunch of French ******s won’t let us try to qualify for the actual World Cup. Which we totally would if they’d let us, hands down, definitely, no problem.

          Guatemala: We are really getting tired of having to explain to everyone what Los Chapines means.

          Reply

  11. Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/30 at 10:48 PM

    Whoa… Robbie Rogers at LB who would ever suggest something that crazy?

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/31 at 2:56 PM

      I would.

      If you are playing Bornstein there, other than experience,which admittedly is a big deal, what’s he got that RR doesn’t?
      RR has a better shot, crosses better, attacks down the wing better. His tackling and defensive skills aren’t much worse than JB’s.

      RR already is a left winger/wingback. It’s not as if he was a center forward. Many of the best backs in the world game were/are converted midfielders. The conversion is hardly that big a deal. The US could do a lot worse than try him out there.

      As ever with RR it’s mostly a matter of whether or not his head is on straight.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 3:12 PM

        Well, you can minimize the whole “head is on straight” if you’d like, but that’s probably the most important aspect of the game, and far more critical for a backline player than an offensive player.

        Rogers isn’t the best defensive winger, either, so it’s tough to see how that recommends him for a fullback spot. Add to that a propensity to misplace easy passes–again, something that’s all the worse as a backline player–and you’ve got a player who seems uniquely unsuited to play in a back four.

        I do wish fans would stop whining about Bornstein; it’s really out of all proportion to how bad he is, and most people’s suggestions for replacing Bornstein aren’t very good at all, suggesting that maybe–just maybe!–Bradley actually is making the correct decision here.

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/31 at 3:44 PM

          “you can minimize the whole “head is on straight” if you’d like, but that’s probably the most important aspect of the game, and far more critical for a backline player than an offensive player. ”

          I’m the one who keeps bringing it up so don’t say I minimize the head on straight business. As far as I’m concerned, if RR ever gets his head right and does really want to do this and gets support from the staff, he should be a very good left back for the US.

          You say he isn’t the best defensive winger or that he misplaces passes but at this level tht sort of thing is closely allied to concentration and attitude. RR has always looked to me like a guy who isn’t entirely sure where he is supposed to be or what he is supposed to do. Hence the head on staight business.

          The main reason for this experiment would be that JB is simply not as good an attacking option as RR might be. I don’t mind JB as much as everyone else does but if he’s in there just for defense, Boca is a slightly better bet.

          And the problem with JB’s lack of offensive ability is the US attack would be much better with the threat of offensive width from overlapping fullbacks on both sides. With Dolo, Chandler, Spector and Lichaj capable of doing it on the right but no one doing it on the left things get unbalanced.

          Besides Bradley would just be repeating what he originally did with Bornstein when he coverted him from a forward to a left back at Chivas. RR would be the same guy just with better offensive weapons.

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 5:39 PM

            Well, why not put his head on straight at his natural position–winger? It seems odd to do two really huge tasks–put head on straight and convert to entirely new position–at this stage of his professional career. It’s especially hard to do this as an experiment, which implies a few games’ worth of a tryout. That’s time Bob Bradley doesn’t have; it’d require the active collaboration of the Crew…who have a pretty decent left back and plenty of offensive problems. I’m guessing they’d react to the idea of pushing one of their best offensive players back with a confused “Huh?”

            Rogers, of course, has several professional seasons’ worth of winger habits to undo, habits that really intelligent players find it difficult to undo; Bornstein at the time was a rookie with far fewer habits. Comparing the two situations is wishful thinking at the extreme. Would it be really nice to have an offensive fullback the equal of a Chandler or Cherundolo? Of course! It’s a huge, impractical mistake to think you can turn Robbie Rogers into that player.

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/03 at 9:28 PM

              “Well, why not put his head on straight at his natural position–winger? It seems odd to do two really huge tasks–put head on straight and convert to entirely new position–at this stage of his professional career. It’s especially hard to do this as an experiment, which implies a few games’ worth of a tryout. That’s time Bob Bradley doesn’t have; it’d require the active collaboration of the Crew…who have a pretty decent left back and plenty of offensive problems. I’m guessing they’d react to the idea of pushing one of their best offensive players back with a confused “Huh?” ”

              The idea is Rogers has been playing winger for a while now and seems stuck in a rut. Given his physical gifts it makes perfect sense to to see if a slight change in scenery might not aid in the head straightening process. There are no guarantees it will work of course but that is why I call it an experiment. And it would be nice if Columbus was on board with this but at worst they get back a more versatile player. In the transient world of MLS who knows how long that “pretty decent left back” sticks around? As for their offensive problems, well their offense sucks now with Rogers on the wing. If they move him back and RR plays the kind of left back I think he can, then he could energize the whole offense. As I mentioned before my issue with Bornstein is not his defense; it’s his lack of overlapping ability. He’s fast and brave but he can’t cross a ball to save his life and for a former forward, he has a terrible shot. The US has no threat of an overlap on the left side when he plays.

              But if RR could do it, then you have an overlap threat down both wings (Dolo,Chandler and Lichaj seem to do it well on the right) which, of course stretches the field and opens things up for Dempsey, Donovan and the other midfielders, which is where the bulk of the US scoring ability lies.

              “Rogers, of course, has several professional seasons’ worth of winger habits to undo, habits that really intelligent players find it difficult to undo; Bornstein at the time was a rookie with far fewer habits. Comparing the two situations is wishful thinking at the extreme. Would it be really nice to have an offensive fullback the equal of a Chandler or Cherundolo? Of course! It’s a huge, impractical mistake to think you can turn Robbie Rogers into that player”

              You can’t be serious. This is soccer not the NFL. It’s not like asking Tony Romo to play defensive end.

              Shifting to left back from left winger, sometimes on the fly,is practically a tradition in the game going back to at least the 60’s when Leeds United took a mediocre winger and converted him into an international level left back. His name was Terry Cooper. He was the starting left back for England in that legendary 1970 World Cup 1-0 loss to Brazil.

              The modern left back in Europe is often a converted midfielder. There are so many examples but take the case of a guy named Claudio Reyna, who arrived at Rangers in 1999 , at the age of 26, as an attacking, creative, midfielder. Yet he spent most of his time there as a holding midfielder or a right back, never having played there before. In fact, I remember him wearing the #2 shirt (traditonally reserved for the right back) for them. He was probably their best right back. He had a cannon shot,not
              unlike RR, and moving him back a bit might actually have given him more chances to use it. It could do the same for RR.

              When Reyna moved to Sunderland he went back to holding midfielder and of course played for the US as both a holding and a creative midfielder. During that time he partnered with John Obrien, the Ajax, left back/ left midfielder another guy who transitioned easily between positions. For a while Chelsea had Wayne Bridge and Ashley Cole on the team and you would see both deployed at the same time with one at left back the other at left wingback. And you might have even seen them do that for England.

              Maybe RR can’t do it. But if Bradley or the folks at Columbus give him a shot there the only reason he won’t be able to do the job will be because of what is between his ears. The Gold Cup should give the US the opportunity for one or two blowouts and, since he’s on the roster anyway, I’d give RR a shot during one of those games. It would be a shame to let all that talent go to waste.

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/31 at 7:00 PM

          Just because the lack of quality at left-back forces Bradley’s hand into picking Bornstein [best of a bad bunch sort of thing], doesn’t mean he’s not that bad**.

          His positioning and decision making are poor for starters. He lacks the intelligence and skill to be a modern full back. I’m not trying to be nasty, but just stating the facts.

          **Perhaps he’s not that bad if you want the US to remain ranked around 15-20…

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 9:04 PM

            I don’t. I don’t think he’s good. He’s a necessary evil. Will the US have to get better to be a top ten team or win a World Cup? Of course. But achieving that sort of goal is so far off that Bornstein and Robbie Rogers and Bob Bradley will be retired, so it’s kind of an irrelevant debate. (In fact, the U.S. will have to get better at nearly every position to be that sort of team–maybe only Howard, Donovan and Dempsey have a shot at starting for a hypothetical top ten team, and that’s if they’re one of the worst players on the team rather than one of the best.)

            If the debate is, what’s the best team to win a game right now, then in certain situations Bornstein may be the best option at left back.

            Reply

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/01 at 5:57 AM

              I was referring to your last paragraph where you say he’s not that bad and then belittle other people’s suggestions…

              If he’s the best you’ve got, then that’s one thing. But to say he’s not that bad at the International level is another. Although whether GC opponents have the quality to trouble the US is another debate…

      • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/31 at 3:15 PM

        I was being sarcastic… I say it all the time, specifically on this website, whenever the LB argument comes up. Consider that BB was willing to try Beasley there. I’ve been criticized just about every time I suggest to try RR there, but I’ve secretly stood by my assessment of Rogers.

        On one hand, you have really good outside backs that are converted midfielders. On the other hand, you have Dani Alves, a really good outside back who plays like a midfielder.

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 3:37 PM

          Dani Alves works because he’s really intelligent–he does know when to get back–and because Barca keep the ball so well. Would you say either are true of Rogers and the USMNT?

          Rogers being played at LB might’ve worked if he were playing the position since, like, 15 or something. Then again, Rogers would’ve been a top EPL player if he had a different personality, so it’s all just wishing and hoping. (How’d Brek Shea, World Class Centerback work out again?)

          Reply

          • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/31 at 8:38 PM

            I wasnt really trying to compare the two. I was really just trying to point out that it could still work out. I don’t expect him to be a top LB but I think he’s our best untested bet right now. He probably won’t break into the midfield anytime soon and if he’d be smart to be open to that possibility.

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 9:10 PM

              Like Brek Shea, World Class Centerback, Robbie Rogers would be smart to keep that possibility in mind if his sole goal in life is to start for the USMNT (and Robbie Rogers wants to increase his odds from like 1% to like 1.25% or something.) It’s not–the USMNT doesn’t pay the bills. Robbie Rogers will be a winger for the rest of his career.

              Back when people were debating Brek Shea-as-centerback, someone asked Bob Bradley what he thought about it. And Bradley, as his is wont, hemmed and hawed about it but finally stated definitively that Shea’s a winger. Sure enough, after the brouhaha, Brek Shea is playing as a winger and is in good form for MLS and just signed an extension that will presumably keep him there for a while, with FC Dallas’s dominant centerback pairing Ihemelu and John doing the work for the backline. It was a nice fantasy while it lasted, but people ultimately were practical and realized that at Shea’s age, experience and soccer intelligence level, it’s just too late to make such a drastic change in career. Robbie Rogers is in most respects similar to Shea–similar experience, similar age, similar intelligence level. It’s just as much a fantasy to call for Robbie Rogers, left back.

  12. Posted by dth on 2011/05/31 at 3:41 PM

    Shocking USMNT fact: Michael Bradley is getting married in July. This is kind of a weird idea to contemplate, like Bob Bradley smiling or John Harkes writing a critically acclaimed novel or something.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/sports/soccer/blog?name=us_national_soccer&id=6611737 (insider)

    Reply

    • Posted by Tux on 2011/06/02 at 7:44 PM

      That’s a completely foreign concept…I can’t imagine seeing Bradley in anything other than a soccer kit. You think he’ll wear his warmups for the ceremony?

      Reply

  13. [...] we wrote previously, these are the same errors that continually torment Onyewu and the Yanks’ defense. Would [...]

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  14. [...] the US attempted to dictate the play and tempo to Costa Rica. That, if you recall, was the #2 critical question that Bob Bradley had trouble answering in the Gold [...]

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  15. [...] the US attempted to dictate the play and tempo to Costa Rica. That, if you recall, was the #2 critical question that Bob Bradley had trouble answering in the Gold [...]

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  16. [...] fact, if you recall, TSG made it one of Bob Bradley’s key questions to answer at Gold Cup 2012. Bob didn’t fare well. And it was a hallmark of Jurgen Klinsann’s [...]

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