Posts Tagged ‘Bob Bradley’

Jumblin: Bob Bradley, Victory or Pink Slip?

And rounding up our roundtable Jumble with a question on none other Coach Sweatpants.

A huge thank you to all our participants who contributed.

85 days until evaluation...

The $25,000 question:  Will Bob Bradley be the coach of the USMNT in September 2010?

Michelot, Ligue1Talk: Definitely. He is the only one who knows the pool of players that well. Players trust him and his leadership. He’s seemingly also already started testing new players (Bedoya, etc…) for the future. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Euro assistant coach for fresh ideas. Queiroz come back!

GeorgeCross: No.  I think he will get his key decision making wrong, i.e. tactics, formations and he doesn’t possess the nous to make *timely* game changing substitutions.  I can see the USA getting to the Last 16, but getting comprehensively beaten by Serbia (Group D winners).

Roger, Hillcrest Blog: Yes.

Arbogast, Notre Dame: I don’t think the US is going to advance out of the first round (England and Algeria go through), so my answer is no. Bradley has done some good things, but let’s not forget how lucky the US was to advance out of group play last summer. Too conservative. Too many injuries. I just don’t see it happening.

Shoaff, Black Sox: It’s all down to results. No points for effort. A first round exit and he’s got to go; get beyond the second round and he’s earned another 4 years.  A respectable second round loss to Germany and Gulati will have a difficult decision.  My take: the Yanks do enough for Bradley to keep his job.

McKee, “Spectator-Capped”:

Simply boils down to 2 factors.:

Results

  • Group Stage washout: fired
  • Through Groups/ugly Round of 16: 50/50
  • Good Round of 16/ better: bigger corner office, new sweats.

Viable/Attainable alternatives:

  • True upgrade – international experience
  • Knows US players: can relate/motivate
  • Will USSF pony the Euros?

Late Night Ponderings: We Need Answers

Late night at TSG headquarters.

Due to TSG’s full-time employment that takes a good chunk of our waking hours, writing tends to take place late at night. This often leads Matthew and I to engage in Gmail chat that starts with a point, but then meanders its way through the soccer world.

Recently, we’ve been ending up with more questions then answers and we’re hoping our readers could help us out.

Any chance the NFL and MLB conspired to send Glazer and Hicks over to the EPL to eliminate future competition? American-run Manchester United and Liverpool are mired in debt…do Americans hate soccer that much that they will go to such great lengths to destroy it? (please note sarcasm.)

Any chance the boys on the other side of the pond will agree to start Premiership matches later in the day for us sunshine-soaked folks on the left coast? Jozy and the Tigers taking on City at 7:00am?…okay. But the Howard-Donovan Bowl at 4:45am?!?…c’mon.

Any chance we’ll see Jozy Altidore blast one in the back of the net versus City? The Altidore Goal Watch will stand at 154 days when he takes the pitch on Saturday. (I’ve got a feeling…I think.)

Any chance US Soccer will to stop pimping the USMNT’s 14th spot in the world rankings? The US has beaten exactly two non-CONCACAF team in the past year.

Any chance the World Cup will not sell-out? Ticket sales are said to be struggling amid cost and security concerns. FIFA will probably get there, but chances of going back-to-back England ’18 and USA ’22 are probably a little better as a result of the “learning experience.”

Any chance the soccer community (and FIFA) will be as outraged over the CAF decision to ban Togo for two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments as it was over the Henry handball? How can the “rebels-shooting-up-the-team-bus” principle not trump the “government-interference” principle? Disgusting.

Any chance the soccer media will abandon their best TMZ impersonation and return to their regularly-scheduled programming of actually covering the game? Sure, Terrygate may have an impact on the World Cup, but Wynalda and Harkes aren’t in the player pool according to US Soccer.

Any chance we’ll see Bob Bradley fill the two coaching vacancies on the USMNT sideline? FYI, Bob-O…it’s a World Cup year…might be a good idea to have the help.

Any chance each MLS franchise will team-up with a local micro / craft brewer to spread the word about the link between the beautiful game and the beautiful beverage? This beer-and-soccer thing is starting to catch on.

Thanks, Drew!

Any chance, speaking of promotional opportunities, that soccer can get more high-profile celebrity fans in the US? Drew Carey has done a great job, but he can’t do it all. Shouldn’t Galaxy be choppering-in Megan Fox or Matt Damon for the home opener?

Any chance the USMNT will mandate that injured players must rehab with Charlie Davies to get a understanding of the power of human will and determination?

An Audience With King Jonathan Of Honduras

Since the US faces Honduras on January 23rd, TSG spent a few minutes with international hero Jonathan Bornstein at USMNT training camp yesterday. It was Johnny B’s header in the dying moments versus Costa Rica in the final World Cup qualifier that stunned the Ticos, capped an emotional come-from-behind draw for the US and propelled Honduras into the World Cup finals.

TSG was curious whether Bornstein thought he would get any special treatment from the Hondurans should he take the field versus Los Catrachos. Say, might they let him walk one into the goal at the start for all he did for their country?

After a chuckle the US defender said, “I don’t think so. There will be a positive reception but they are not going to give anything away in terms of on-the-field stuff. It will be more positive off-the-field.”

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So…How Was Your First Day At Camp?

In a word…Scrumtrulescent.

TSG had a fine day at camp with the USMNT in what was the team’s longest practice of the camp so far. Bob Bradley kept the intensity level high as the team went through warm-ups, drills and conditioning before finishing with a scrimmage.

Some observations before we file some longer pieces on our experience later this week. (One quick note: Remember one of our favorite sayings at TSG, “You can’t look at one observation in isolation, you have to look at the whole body of work.”)

  • So, what do the USMNTers drive to practice? Caddy? Escalade? Benz? Charter coach? Nope, US players drive themselves in certified soccer mom-mobiles. That’s right, they pile out of minivans just like they presumably did when they were seven.
  • Two things that stand-out when you are at field level just feet away from players…Size and the pace on their shots. Boombosa is right!
  • Marcus Tracy, Kevin Alston, Robbie Rogers and Chris Pontius were absent for today’s practice. Alston came out and ran laps…so much so that I wondered if it was punishment.
  • Zach Thornton is….MASSIVE.
  • Long-time readers will be happy to know that Matthew’s head did NOT explode when Benny Feilhaber buried one in the back of the net during the scrimmage nor during his interview with the Benny! at the conclusion of practice.
  • Any San Jose Quakes fans out there? An auburn-cleated Brandon McDonald played exclusively at right back today, acquitted himself well and received counsel from Bob Bradley in the center of the pitch post-practice. Beyond losing the ball on a forward run during the 2nd half of scrimmage, TSG came away very impressed with McDonald’s play today who also netted a goal off a corner kick.

TSG Plays Santa Claus

Happy Holidays from The Shin Guardian.

To the brothers TSG, Christmas is all about giving, not receiving. Matthew and I are notorious among our family for spending too much time trying to find the right gift for people. However, we have a fairly high conversion rate on those gifts.

So, in the spirit of the season and the TSG way, we are eschewing the conventional “soccer gifts I want for Christmas” piece. In its stead TSG is playing Santa and handing out* gifts to some of our favorite USMNTers.

If any of our readers received any soccer-related gifts this year tell us about them in the comment section.

For Stu Holden…A Magic Eight Ball
It seems like Iceman is in need of some decision-making help. What could be better than the most popular tool in the solar system when one has trouble making a decision? (Will Stu Holden stay with Dynamo?…”Outlook not so good.”)

For Landon Donovan…Billabong Marius Snowboard Jacket
Congratulations on the Everton loan. Perhaps it is the right move from a soccer perspective, but trading in the paradise that is Manhattan Beach, CA for the much cooler temps of Liverpool during the winter months was a bit short-sighted. TSG specifically chose the Marius for its bright colors as we recommend taking every precaution to ensure you come out of the Everton Experiment in fine working order.

For Benny Feilhaber…Eagle Creek Comfort Plus Neck Pillow
“Comfort Plus” that’s what the official unofficial favorite player of TSG provides for the USMNT when he is on the pitch. More importantly, TSG wants Benny! to travel in style and comfort in 2010 so he is primed and ready to go following long trips to Camp Cupcake and South Africa.

For Tim Howard…Bubble Wrap and a Defender
Timmy keeps getting hammered in Everton and could use a little extra protection in front of him and (literally) on his body.

For Coach Bob Bradley…A World Atlas
After seeing Bradley’s predilection for MLS players throughout 2009, TSG wants to make sure that Bob-O is aware that there are other countries outside of the United States where Americans play soccer.

* “Handing out” is used metaphorically as we couldn’t find a box big enough to fit Dolf Lundgren (See “Defender” link.)

Questioned: Jeremiah White & Player Review

The “buzz” was palpable at TSG headquarters over the past month….about a rather obscure US player named Jeremiah White who I doubt many have seen play more than 90 minutes since his college days.

Raise your hand if this is the first time you've seen Jeremiah White "in action" since university

For background, Jeremiah White attended Wake Forest college as Coach Jay Vidovich was just getting that program up to the level of super power that it is now. If you’ve read TSG before, you know we’re a fan of Vidovich’s coaching.

After graduating, White headed to Europe to make his name and has since bounced around leagues in Serbia, Greece, France and most recently Denmark. White currently shares a locker room with USMNTer Benny Feilhaber at Aarhus, but shares less pitch time having been relegated this season to a sporadic sub role.

With fans, and quite arguably the USMNT, in need of more attacking options, calls for White–both to factor during the Denmark friendly this past November 18th and in January’s annual national team cam–have, by this writer’s account, gotten audibly loud enough to pay attention to you. TSG thought it rather bizarre that a  player of White’s relatively average resume would command such attention and our first thought in stepping back was, “What are we missing?”

Further, other impassioned prose around the web-o-sphere, have been downright stern in their calls for Jeremiah White, suggesting that lack of inclusion in the November friendly series was even a bush league move.

After our Camp Cupcake piece, earlier this week, two more commenters either asked about White or recommended him for roster inclusion. TSG hasn’t seen him…we were definitely missing something.

So we approached sources within USSF with a simple question: Is Jeremiah White still in the player pool? Yes or no.

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Guus For Thanksgiving?

TSG Note: Catching up on comments this morning, a few of you were wondering why we hadn’t mentioned Guus Hiddink. So…here you go.

Plain sweatpants (Bradley) or Monogrammed sweatpants (Hiddink)?

With Russia getting bounced from World Cup contention last week it has been widely speculated that super-coach Guus Hiddink could be back on the market. Furthermore, it has been suggested by some American soccer “pundits” and fans alike, that Mr. Gulati should have Hiddink on speed-dial should that happen with an offer handing over the keys to the USMNT kingdom.

Let’s put aside the facts that

a) Hiddink’s ties to Chelsea owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich may not be severed anytime soon,

b) Sunil Gulati has categorically stated that Bob Bradley will coach the USMNT through the World Cup, and

c) Hiddink said in an interview in the past few days that he would make a decision on his next move (Argentina? Chelsea?) within the next few months.

Let’s also assume that Hiddink actually rang up Soccer House and offered his services, but only through the 2010 World Cup.

What should US Soccer do? More specifically, what is best for the US squad seven months away from kick-off at the World Cup? And since we haven’t asked this question directly on TSG, why bounce Bob Bradley?

The Phone Call

Say “thanks, but no thanks” to Comrade Hiddink, even if the coach suggests a technical director position. The US isn’t Argentina with a head coach that is clearly in way over his head, a Bradley-Hiddink combo is doubtful to work.

What is best for the US squad?

With the USMNT struggling to field a team of eleven international-quality players who are fit, adding a new head coach to the mix at this late juncture would be, to quote commenter Kaya, “ridiculous.”

Consider that in Guus’ two most recent World Cup finals stops (South Korea and Australia) he had at least a year to work with the squad. Also, subtract two months from the available time-frame as Hiddink wouldn’t get to work with the team until January leaving less than six months to put together the USMNT squad.

Bringing on a new coach at this juncture would be risky at best and have implications beyond South Africa ’10.

Right man for the job?

Why bounce Bob Bradley?

From what I can tell by cruising around the ‘net, one is either on the Fire Bob Bradley bandwagon or labeled a Bradley Apologist. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. Not sure why that is, but perhaps I will put myself in a country of one.

Bob Bradley has his struggles (specifically, in-game management), but he has also done some good things with the talent available and turned a collection of individuals into a team.

Bradley’s familiarity with entire player pool and the bonds developed through triumph (Spain / Honduras) and tragedy (Charlie Davies) are important heading into the World Cup with a most uncertain squad. He has performed admirably enough to carry the USMNT, his team, through the World Cup.

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The stark reality of firing a coach is that you have to hire another one that is only guaranteed of “looking good on paper.” Every coach could be better, especially one of an inconsistent team, but there is no reason to blow-up a to-date successful program seven months out of a World Cup…even if Hiddink was available.

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