John Nyen sees parallels
The two managers sit across from each other, both hooked up to the machine. The humming and whirring increases as they are instructed by the lab technician in the white coat.
“Think of your ideal, of what you want your team to become. Imagine the best possible scenario, with the best possible players, on the largest scale. What we will see is a real world simulation of that, from start to finish.”
On the overhead monitor the scene comes into focus and the teams walk out onto the field with one group all in white and the other in the blaugrana. The managers step back from the machine and begin to watch.
It strikes as odd that the similarities–loosely at minimum– What I speak of here is Real Madrid and Barcelona as the logical elite ideal example of what the US men’s soccer team could become. In these two teams are the very ideals of the last two (and some could say three) coaches of the United States men’s soccer team. Certainly there are differences, and it is important to recognize and discard these in order to get to the meat of the matter.
With the Jurgen Klinsmann-Barcelona comparison the difference is that Barcelona play more through their midfield, slinging passes together in creative rhythm, while the USA (under Klinsmann) is being built to attack more down the flanks using wingers and play from the LB/RB position.
With the Bob Bradley-Real Madrid comparison the difference is that Madrid tend to control play against most of their opponents (with the exception of Barcelona). As a caveat though to this difference, one could argue that Bradley’s team during their nadir fell under the same spell. They would control the game more so playing inexperienced and physical sides while having difficulty with quick/skill based sides.
Having stated that though, the similarities in this one particular game are striking.
Looking at this through Bradley’s ideal you have Real Madrid playing counter attack soccer, packing their side of the ball with defenders who break down the offense with their shape and then funneling the ball out via long passes (usually by the stalwart linking midfielder Xabi Alonso) to attack the opposing team when they are at their most vulnerable, AKA when the opposing team has committed players on offense. Defensively oriented, Real Madrid relies on work rate, formation, and shape to thwart more offensive teams.