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Tag Archives: Bob Bradley
February 3, 2012Posted by on
Whatever you think of Bob Bradleys tactics, he’s a classy guy. After the riot that broke out at the Ahly-Masry game, and the ensuing riots that broke out across the country in response Bob Bradley was in Sphinx Square today with his wife Lindsay today. He was marching in the streest with protesters. I have personally never had more respect for Bob Bradley. He was asked by an Egyptian newscaster why, as a foreigner he decided to come out and responded “It’s very simple. … When a tragedy like this occurs, I think it’s important to show respect.” He’s right, but his method of respect will surely put a big target on his he, although he has surely gained a large group of unmoveable fans. This is possibly the most important diplomatic step from any American towards the situation in Egypt.
July 28, 2011Posted by on
This just in: @PhilaUnion boss Peter Nowak to me on his interest in vacant USMNT position:
“Sorry got better things to do.”
The Union side of me says thank god. The USMNT side of me also says thank god. Nowak has been great here, and I mean no disrespect by saying this but, if you’re going to fire Bob Bradley at this point in a cycle then you had better be able to bring in a mighty fine replacement. While I believe wholeheartedly that Nowak could do the job, I don’t think he’s enough better to justify this kind of move. Maybe if it was the end of the cycle and he wasn’t in the middle of coaching a club team at the top of its table. It didn’t make sense the first time I saw it and I’m glad that Nowak affirmed that.
I’m expecting Jurgen Klinsmann, as are most of the country, as the replacement but I really wish we would’ve done this earlier and brought in Bielsa. That kind of play would’ve brought a lot of eyes to the game in my opinion, which is still the most important thing our teams can do here.
Very curious to see how this woks out and what exactly it means for the Mexico friendly at the Linc in 2 WEEKS. Remember this coach will have to turn around and face the teams biggest rival in two weeks. Somebody had to be aware of that and consider the timing. I’m also wondering if that might mean that something close to an A-team would be called in for that game so that the coach can get a nice good look at them (it might be wishful thinking as I’ve got tickets). I was expecting more of an MLS based team with a few younger players coming in, as its the beginning of the season and a lot of players would probably prefer to stay in camp with their club than come out for a friendly. It’s a FIFA date though so we’ll see what happens.
Presumably they’ll announce the new coach tomorrow and he’ll be in town coaching the team in a few short weeks.
June 6, 2011Posted by on
So as we all know the Gold Cup has officially started and the USA’s first game is tomorrow night against Canada. Bob Bradley has officially locked in his roster with Ale Bedoya replacing Benny Feilhaber. The next question of course is who in that lineup gets meaningful time on the field? Well here’s my answer based on my view of what Bob believes.
Deuce Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Timmy Howard all get the obvious starts. These have been the most important players for the US through the last cycle and will all likely be huge players when it comes to the next World Cup. As far as formation this doesn’t really decide anything but it will matter later so here is what I see Bob doing with these four and what I would like him to do with them (in parentheses.)
We know that our three defensive mids are three of the top eleven players on the team. We also know, and hope that Bob does too, that all three of them can’t be on the field at the same time. We all assume that Bob will go with Michael because he has the most experience with the team and has shown that he can play with them at a higher level than either of the other two. Personally I believe that Jones and Edu are both slightly better than Bradley but also slightly more defensive than Bradley. For me putting Bradley on the field is more about tactics than saying he is better than whoever sits. I hope to see Edu start alongside him but I have a suspicion Bob might go with Jones although I imagine they’ll split time pretty evenly.
The next question about these guys is where they go. I hated seeing the team in a 4-4-2. It simply doesn’t suit getting our best players on the field and doesn’t allow for the best team to take the field. My biggest problem with it is that, with the lineup we currently have, there is no player creating things from the middle of the field. The closest we would have is Bradley who has done so before for us, but we have players who are much more capable of this obviously the best option here is Stuart Holden but he’s out with an injury. After missing the World Cup and the Gold Cup I can’t wait to see Holden play to his potential in a big-time tournament. I, along with many others like Dempsey in the middle to fill his spot rather then going back to a 4-4-2. Although I still think Bob will go back to the 4-4-2 for the Gold Cup and count on Michael to create the attack.
Filling out the D
One would assume that neither Ream or Lichaj would start given the minutes they got against Spain but I’m not taking that into account as this is more of a “first team” for the Gold Cup rather than starters for Tuesday. I still doubt Bob starts either of them although I think they both could play their way onto the roster. I also fully expect Cherundolo to start at RB although the only reason I’d say he’s not a lock is because of his age and the fact that we really need some new faces along the back line. I expect him to start this Gold Cup but he’s not really the best option for four years from now so I’d rather start looking too soon than too late.
I fully expect Bradley to pick Onyewu for the start even though he hasn’t played well for club or country recently. I’d be much more interested in Onyewu taking a spot on the outside than seeing him in the center. I’d just rather see younger faces back there. The guys we had proved they couldn’t cut it in their primes. What makes us think they’ll be better four years later? That’s why I have Clarence Goodson. I think he’s better now and definitely better for the future.
I doubt Bradley puts Lichaj in despite the fact that he was one of the best players we put on the field in the first half against Spain. He earned it for me but I still think Bob is too invested in his guys to give up the spot. Spector gets it although I think Lichaj earns it sooner rather then later.
Filling out the O
Here are the questions I’m personally more interested in. I think Bob probably sticks with Jozy Altidore and Juan Agudelo up top. If he’s sticking with a 4-4-2 its the only real option he’s got, but if he were to try out the 4-2-3-1 formation they’ve used recently he might get a more interesting team. Obviously Juan or Jozy has to stay in as a striker. I probably have them split time pretty evenly, with Juan being a bit of a second but coming in to nearly every game. The kid is talented and really the game against Spain was the best all-around game I’ve seen from him in the Red, White and Blue. No he didn’t score and didn’t create any particularly enticing chances, but he was there with Pique and Ramos and whoever else was on him every minute he was in and kept with them. He held his own and looked very confident on the ball. Spain was better and the ball rarely got to him and he lost it too often (of course taking into account it was Spain makes this whole loss look a lot better.) I’ll say Jozy for now but I also acknowledge he may be on his last legs for now. Juan’s making a run and unless he starts lighting things up its Juans job to grab.
I’d probably put Bedoya on the wing out of the players that Bradley called up. Then again this is my blog so I can do whatever I want. If I were running the USMNT I would send Robbie Rogers home and bring in Timmy Chandler. Bedoya’s not a bad choice, considering the circumstances but I really can’t explain how much I want to see Timmy Chandler on the field.
Sidenote:Although I totally understand the idea of Chandler staying home for rest. This has been a very active season for him. It makes sense, but I still wanted to see him play. If he can play as well as he did in the Paraguay and Argentina friendlies he may be the most exciting addition to this team in a long while. I grew up playing a position like his so I have a bit of a bias (hooray transparency!), but I’ve always thought defenders who can attack are the most exciting players in the game. I’d love to have him playing at fullback, but the way he played in front of Lichaj against Paraguay makes me more interested to see what they can do together when he’s on that wing. Ultimately I’d like to see him play at left back with Dempsey in front of him and Stuart Holden in the middle, but with injuries that’s not possible just yet.
March 29, 2011Posted by on
So two nights ago my computer fell on the floor and the entire screen went black and has yet to return. I’m writing this from a library and it is a very sad day. Basically from now until I get a new computer, or at least a new monitor updates from here will be much less frequent, maybe about once a week. It’s quite disappointing seeing as the season just barely started, but I’m a college student and don’t have nearly enough money to go out and repair the screen. So from now until probably mid-May my updates will be much less frequent.
Of course I don’t want to skip over the Union, but at least for this week and any other that the USMNT plays, I will probably be focusing primarily on the national team. The Union played great, it was real nice to see Ruiz get his first goal in Chester and especially nice to see the defense continue playing as well as they had in the first game. Of course this was a brand-new Vancouver team without some of their best players, due to national team duty, but it was a win and a good game nonetheless.
What I want to focus on is obviously the US-Argentina game this past Saturday and the US-Paraguay game tonight. I’ve read and heard a lot of talk about how great Juan Agudelo could be and also a lot of talk the other way. That Agudelo is just a kid and we have no idea how good he could be. That Jozy Altidore played pretty much this well when he was coming up to. Personally watching him play I got the impression that Agudelo was confident at times, but very much balancing on the verge of overconfident. I watched Agudelo take on three Argentinian defenders, and naturally fail to get through them. That’s hardly a negative that he couldn’t get through three defenders, only one player can do that consistently and he only faces Argentina in practices. The problem is that Juan did this at least twice with open players by his side. He made a few solid passes, but it was also glaringly obvious that his on-field vision was lacking and that his ball-skills, while very good, where not exactly what he thinks they are. Agudelo is a kid and should be looked at that way. If he plays well tonight, I think it’s much more likely Bob keeps him off the field entirely than that he starts as many are calling for but I deexpect another second-half substitution, and starts making smarter passes I could see him getting starts in the latter stages of the Gold Cup. I think the kid is far from a star, but Jozy Altidore is not all that far ahead of him so he could easily compete for a starting spot on the team. He played as we expected, confident but sometimes cocky, well but sometimes fool-hardy. In short he played like you’d expect a young player to.
My biggest issue with the praise being laid upon Juan is that he was far from single-handedly the reason that the US turned their game around in the second half. Jonathan Spector was being torn apart by Angel Di Maria, again as we should expect. Spector has never played particularly well against speedy attackers. Chandler came in and played very well, again he may not have locked down Di Maria entirely, but few do. There’s a reason he plays where he does.
The most important change made at half-time was the substitution of Jermaine Jones for Juan Agudelo, but I believe this for different reasons. From what I saw Juan didn’t light things up from the front. Rather adding another attacking player lit things up. Jones, Edu and Bradley should never be on the field at the same time. If this game teaches us anything it is that. Spain only plays Iniesta and Xavi, and Fabregas sits. No matter how good he is, he does not help to form the best starting 11. Bradley would be a very solid super sub, for Holden if we need defense, or for Jones or Edu if we need offense. Maurice Edu plays Center Back for Rangers, he played attacking mid on Saturday.
Bob Bradley basically replaced Stuart Holden with Maurice Edu because he was the next mid on the chart. Agudelo is not better than Edu or Jones or Bradley, but his position is more along the lines of what the US needs. Can you imagine what they could have done if they’d had Stuart Holden playing behind Jozy all game, rather than a combination of Edu and Agudelo? Obviously not much considering Holden barely has one leg, so he probably can’t run well at the moment, but if he were healthy he makes this entire discussion moot. The conversation is about whether it is more important to have your best 11 players on the field or your best team. This game showed me that it is more about having your best team. I don’t believe Juan Agudelo is part of the best team. I personally believe that Mixx or even Jose Torres would do better there maybe bringing in Clint Dempsey and using Chandler out on the wing if he continues to play well with his club.
Ultimately I believe Bradley’s starting lineup looks like this with everyone healthy
———Donovan –Holden ——Dempsey———-
With everyone healthy, the only substantial change I would make is to try Edu in the defense, I think that is the best way to combine the ideals of getting both your best 11 and your best team on the field. Edu has played in central defense at the club level and I’d like to see if he can do it on the international level.
The lineup I expect to see tonight looks significantly different from the lineup we saw Saturday, as many of the players are in the middle of seasons and their clubs likely wouldn’t approve of two games in four days.
Ultimately, if we can get the same kind of play tonight that we got in the second half of the Argentina game we’ll beat Paraguay and look good doing it. The bigger concern is getting a look at more players, a bit deeper on the roster and seeing how they play with at least a semblance of the top-team. I expect more substitution in this game, and definitely less familiar faces, but the starters will hold the key. The biggest problem is that this team has started so weakly in so many games recently. I think a part of this can be credited to Bob Bradley adjusting well at half, but at the same time why is he not making those adjustments before the game?
March 24, 2011Posted by on
Here it is. The Red USMNT Jersey’s are officially out. The new motto which is yet to be decided will presumably be on the back, but here is what the kit will look like for this week. Pretty much what we expected, a red version of the World Cup kit, but I’m a big fan of the look.
More images here at US Soccer’s Facebook Page
March 21, 2011Posted by on
Ok so I know that all my posts this morning have involved injuries to USMNT players, and hopefully I’ll get away from that soon, but the US roster for the two March friendlies has been updated due to those injuries and I though it deserved its own post. Zac Whitbread, Steve Cherundolo and Stuart Holden are out and Eric Lichaj comes in.
Obviously Holden is the biggest story of the three but Cherundolo has been playing very well for Hannover and was the only one who required bringing in a replacement so numbers-wise it might be more significant at the moment.
Lichaj coming in gives us another chance to get him back on Bob Bradley’s radar, and also gives us a slightly different look then Cherundolo, along with a definite influx of youth along the backline. If Lichaj is needed, does that youth make it less likely for a Tim Ream to come in? I imagine Bob would be a lot more comfortable judging Ream’s performance with a full first team defense around him. The more that’s chipped away at, the less his performance could mean.
And of course, Whitbread was getting his first call up. Even if he wasn’t an immediate prospect to get a ton of playing time for the team, it still would have been nice to bring him in and establish him as an American International.
March 16, 2011Posted by on
After much fuss over the Carolina Railhawks losing their team and selling their assets online, the teams training facility in Cary, North Carolina will be hosting the USMNT. The national team will be playing games against Argentina (in NJ) and Paraguay (in Nashville) and it was decided that Carolina was the best middle ground for them to train at. Practices will be Monday through Thursday of next week and will not be open to the public. The roster for the upcoming games is expected to be announced by the end of this week. Wakemed has hosted the USMNT previously, before both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
March 3, 2011Posted by on
Apparently since the former Chilean national team head coach left his post, USSF has been in talks to bring Marcelo Bielsa in as the Technical Director for the men’s program. “We have always stated that adding a technical director, or a similar position, on the men’s side is something we are exploring,” US Soccer spokesperson Neil Buethe said, “but we have not made any decisions at this point.” Bielsa is known for his innovative tactics, generally a very attack minded 4-3-3 I believe, and would have control over much of the youth and adult program although it would not affect Bob Bradley’s position as Head Coach. Of course the US is not the only nation bidding for Bielsa’s tactical genius. The US offer is reported to be around 3 million a year but Saudi Arabia and Qatar have reportedly made even higher offers. Between Claudio Reyna’s commitment to a Barcelona like youth system, and an attempt to bring Marcelo Bielsa in to a high ranking USSF position, it seems that the days of kick and run soccer are getting farther and farther behind us.
February 25, 2011Posted by on
Maurice Edu scored again for Rangers to help them to defeat Sporting Lisbon by tying the game and winning the round on away goals.
This US midfield is getting to a point where calling for something along the lines of a 4-6-0 isn’t half as ridiculous as it might seem. It has worked (for Roma) before, although we don’t exactly have anyone near the level of Francesco Totti. I’d guess that someone like Dempsey or Holden would have to end up in that false 9 hole, although neither of them exactly has much experience doing so. Maybe this could be a place to finally fit Jose Torres in? Of course the last time an American outfit ran a six man midfield was the 1998 World Cup where Steve Samson fell in love with the 3-6-1 and brought the team home after 3 straight loses.
I’ve done a small bit of reading on the prospects of a 4-6-0 and the USMNT may not be the right team to squeeze into the formation, but I have always believed that before America finds its first great player they will find their first top level tactician; someone who will find a way to turn a group of overachieving players into a great team using a bit of creative strategy. Of course creative soccer strategy isn’t exactly something that US teams have been known for. We’ve mostly been known for some good moments of kick and run, and pretty ugly soccer, but I still believe that the biggest improvements the US can make is on the chalkboard even more than on the field. I’m not so much calling for a 4-6-0 as I am calling for Bob Bradley to take up the American spirit of creativity and try something absolutely. I’ll throw out an imaginary lineup, simply because it’s what the people want.
Jones Bradley Edu
Donovan Holden Dempsey
Empty space for not Jozy Altidore, Robbie Findley, Juan Agudelo, or Teal Bunbury
I can’t say Stuart Holden is exactly the optimal character for this kind of thing (really I don’t think any one on the team is, I just saw someone mention it in concept and wanted to see how it might work) but I think he’s the closest we’ve got. Maybe someone like Mixx, although I haven’t seen him play nearly enough to know how he might fit in this kind of position. A few other players come to mind as potentials for the spot, in particular this might be a way to find a spot for Jose Torres. Of course as I’ve said before Jozy is a good young player, he hasn’t been getting the playing team he needs to show it, but there is not an absolute need to get him off the field. The kid can play, the only question is if it is more valuable to put another midfielder in to fill his spot on the field.
Of course this is the absolute definition of a pipe-dream, but these are the kinds of things that keep me up at night writing 3am USMNT blog posts. Obviously the odds of Bob Bradley signing off on a 4-6-0 are quite low, and the odds of a 4-6-0 being a good idea are almost even lower. All I’m really trying to say is that these kinds of discussions should be had. We should not be set in a 4-4-2, as we had been for quite some time before Bob’s recent change to a version of a 4-5-1. Tactical innovation is something that can be done much faster than talent growth, although they are both equally important. The USMNT and Bob Bradley have never been known as one to mess around with formations all that much, but nothing should be taken for granted. We’ve got four years to find the best team we can. Four years ago 4-4-2 was the formation du jour but now barely anyone who wants to be taken seriously uses the formation. Putting the team into a 4-5-1 still leaves us 4 years behind Spain, and behind many of the other footballing nations. Playing a 4-6-0 (or something else that hasn’t even been thought of yet) could put us 4 years ahead of everyone else in the world.
February 15, 2011Posted by on
According to a report on Soccer By Ives, Teal Bunbury was injured in a Sporting Kansas City friendly against the Houston Dynamo.
“Sporting KC’s official Twitter feed revealed that the early diagnosis of the injury is a dislocated elbow. If that’s the case, he would be out for at least the first few months of the season, and possibly the Gold Cup as well.
Bunbury, entering his second professional season out of Akron, enjoyed a fine rookie season and seemed to be in for a big year after his emergence in the United States’ most recent friendlies with South Africa and Chile.”
There’s been a lot of hype around Bunbury recently, so the fact that he will be missing time takes away an opportunity for Bob Bradley to try him out a bit more and decide exactly where he belongs on the team. It also likely takes him out for a significant chunk of the MLS season which obviously hurts considering his lack of professional experience.