Some National Team Thoughts

Some National Team Thoughts

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 18, 2009
  • 16 Comments
  • Bob Bradley

First of all let me just say that today’s result for the US national team was depressing but not to a new low. I know for a fact that I’ve seen worse out of the national team but it sounds like today will be a day that a lot of people will scream even louder for the dismissal or resignation of Bob Bradley as our national team coach.

For me its a bad move to can him or have him resign (unless that is something he wants). I still think the direction of the national team is going where it needs to be but a lot of folks have some serious unreal expectations surrounding this group.

Today just wasn’t a good day. Its hard to play so tough for 90 minutes a couple days prior against the defending World Cup champions in Italty and then face a side that is just as tough if not better in Brazil. Mentally and physically it is just tough. If anyone had thoughts or hopes that the US would even be on an even playing field with either of those two should be kidding themselves because we are still miles away from their quality.

Sure Bradley didn’t make the best of moves in his roster selection today but to be honest would we really have seen a difference in some of the other guys that are on the ConFed roster? I really and truly doubt it folks.

Let’s be real here, its not that we are ready to get rid of Bradley, it is a matter that we just can’t come to admitting as US soccer fans. We just aren’t were we thought we’d be by now with this bunch. The level of play continues to get tougher against the likes of Brazil, Italy, Spain, Germany and other countries that we continue to struggle against.

Its hard for us as a country to admit when we are not the best since we are typically the best at nearly every sport. But I know deep down that we are still miles away as a country from being a soccer powerhouse. The athletes just aren’t there as much for us as they are in other countries. Talent wins and compared to countries were soccer is king we just don’t compete the way we think we should.

I’ll give you a couple things this bunch is missing in a big way:

Leadership: Think back to that 2002 side, they had a bunch of young underdogs and a few gritty veterans that lead them to the quarterfinals of that Cup. Fast forward to today and look at the roster. Name one quality leader, not caption, leader of this group. Frankie Hejduk comes to mind but when he isn’t playing with the national team the leadership is visibly gone.

Size: Look at the other countries in Europe. Their size is killing our side anytime we go head-to-head. Sure Brazil and Argentina aren’t as big as we are in physical size but their talent is far better. A little more size and strength could go a long way for us. Tough part is all the good sized athletes in the US pick soccer 4th or 5th after football, baseball, and basketball.

Development System: Say what you will about Bradley he at least knows our funky system in the US. Be honest about the US system right now. Its far better than it use to be and will continue to get better with youth academies getting bigger and stronger. Thing is those things take time.

I’m sure there are other things that could be mentioned but let’s take a step back and cool off here. Its a busy summer for the boys and if things continue to get worse (lose early in the Gold Cup, lose in more qualifers, etc.) then maybe letting Bradley go is the right thing. I just believe changing coaches in the middle of qualifying season can be really tough on a national team.

  • Grunthos

    While I'm hanging around…<br />
    <br />
    I'm not a Bradley fan, but I agree that the commentariat expects too much from the talent on hand. I think they are ignoring the generational problem – the 2002 team was the peak for guys who were kids when the NASL was operational. Now we're in the middle of the trough, with players in their prime who chose to pursue youth soccer back in the days when we had no domestic league of consequence. The MLS-inspired players are all 22 or under yet. So I don't think we'll see a real upswing in USMNT performance until after WC2014, Bradley or no Bradley.

  • doug

    No, Bradley isn't the only thing wrong and removing him won't fix the team, but his decisions have made our problems that much more apparent, especially against big opponents. Against Costa Rica, a 4-3-3 (?), leaving the back four completely isolated and expecting Gouch and Bocanegra to cover the ground that Wynn and Beasley left open. Against Italy, waiting until the 85th minute to bring in another midfielder, after the damage has been done. If Kljestan had come in, in say the 50th minute, we might be talking about a US win and not complaining about the space that was left open for Rossi to score that goal. Lippi saw it and made the right correction; why didn't Bradley? Where's Torres? Why is Beasley even on the bench? Why is Dempsey on the field when he certainly doesn't play like he cares?

  • elpool009

    if you think that italy is as good as brazil youre kidding yourself. if you think that today was brazil's best than youre insane. that was brazil's B team out there. imagine if pato were given a chance to run today, or if alex was taking those free kicks from just outside our area, or if gilberto wasnt 62 years old… the honeymoon never started, i know, but the marriage between bob and the nats is very definitely over. i cant wait for egypt to drive that final nail home. 3- nil again im guessing. time to go bobby, make way for ze german.

  • Alfred

    Look I still respect Bob Bradley, but I think his isn't the guy the USA needs as a coach. you can see it in the decisions he has made. Let's face the fact people most of the players on the current us roster don't deserve to be there. Bob needs to look at this from a bigger picture or prospective. He needs to go out see the players for himself and take notes on whether or not this is the right player for this country. When he took the position he had a team that was playing in their respectful clubs meaning he was getting good results so why change it. He has call up a couple of new players but hasn't found any use for them. so in conclusion I think Bob Bradley should leave, or get a good assistant by his side to help him out that has experience with national teams.

  • Viper

    Honestly, I was never thrilled with the decision to hire Bob Bradley, but he started out fine and putting together decent lineups initially. Lately, however, has been a whole other story.<br />
    <br />
    However, if Bob Bradley is too be fired, I think Mr. Sunil Gulati needs to go as well. I think it needs to start at the top. Let's face it our US program has never been stellar. Honestly, we got lucky in 2002. The US Natl. team played one good match in group play against Portugal and then found themselves begging for South Korea to help them out to even advance to the 2nd round. Then we came up against Mexico – a country within our region. The team put together there best game of their lives and came out on top only to lose once again to premier football nation – Germany.<br />
    <br />
    The US Natl. team always plays well within the CONCACAF region – i.e. WC qualifiers and Gold Cup competitions. But beyond outside the CONCACAF, the US Natl teams fall flat on their face.<br />
    <br />
    The talent is there. It is the personnel decisions and tactics that are lacking. The concept of even playing Beasley as a left or right back is ridiculous to say the least, even to have him on the team. Ever since his injury, he has never been the same player and does not deserve to be on the Natl. team. Conor Casey? Please. Ricardo Clark? Cmon'. That punk should have seen his ass on a plane back home to the States. That was a dumbass player on his part that hurt the team in that match. Must we be reminded about his little incident with Carlos Ruiz during those FC Dallas / Houston Dynamo days?<br />
    <br />
    Seriously, it is time to man up Gulati and either resign or get a coach that understands how to properly prepare a team for the World Cup against the likes of most European and South American countries. I still want to know why Klinsmann was never hired in the first place – he knew about the American game and its players and already gained immense experience in the 06 WC. If it came down to money, well it is time to properly pay a coach what he is due. If not Klinsmann, than someone else along those lines – Erickson maybe? His brand of soccer fits well with the US players – we are not Mexico folks.<br />
    <br />
    Bradley is not the answer and neither is Gulati. Both go now while we still have time before 2010. If we even qualify. Hell, the signs are already out there – we are starting to fail within our own region now.

  • Grunthos

    While I’m hanging around…

    I’m not a Bradley fan, but I agree that the commentariat expects too much from the talent on hand. I think they are ignoring the generational problem – the 2002 team was the peak for guys who were kids when the NASL was operational. Now we’re in the middle of the trough, with players in their prime who chose to pursue youth soccer back in the days when we had no domestic league of consequence. The MLS-inspired players are all 22 or under yet. So I don’t think we’ll see a real upswing in USMNT performance until after WC2014, Bradley or no Bradley.

  • doug

    No, Bradley isn’t the only thing wrong and removing him won’t fix the team, but his decisions have made our problems that much more apparent, especially against big opponents. Against Costa Rica, a 4-3-3 (?), leaving the back four completely isolated and expecting Gouch and Bocanegra to cover the ground that Wynn and Beasley left open. Against Italy, waiting until the 85th minute to bring in another midfielder, after the damage has been done. If Kljestan had come in, in say the 50th minute, we might be talking about a US win and not complaining about the space that was left open for Rossi to score that goal. Lippi saw it and made the right correction; why didn’t Bradley? Where’s Torres? Why is Beasley even on the bench? Why is Dempsey on the field when he certainly doesn’t play like he cares?

  • elpool009

    if you think that italy is as good as brazil youre kidding yourself. if you think that today was brazil’s best than youre insane. that was brazil’s B team out there. imagine if pato were given a chance to run today, or if alex was taking those free kicks from just outside our area, or if gilberto wasnt 62 years old… the honeymoon never started, i know, but the marriage between bob and the nats is very definitely over. i cant wait for egypt to drive that final nail home. 3- nil again im guessing. time to go bobby, make way for ze german.

  • Geoff

    Fire Bob Bradley and we become Mexico, it's as simple as that. I'll defend Bob until the cows come home. He's a proven winner wherever he's been (except maybe the MetroStars but then who has done well with that club?) and sure he has made mistakes, but so did Sir Alex Ferguson against Barcelona and nobody's getting on his case.

  • Alfred

    Look I still respect Bob Bradley, but I think his isn’t the guy the USA needs as a coach. you can see it in the decisions he has made. Let’s face the fact people most of the players on the current us roster don’t deserve to be there. Bob needs to look at this from a bigger picture or prospective. He needs to go out see the players for himself and take notes on whether or not this is the right player for this country. When he took the position he had a team that was playing in their respectful clubs meaning he was getting good results so why change it. He has call up a couple of new players but hasn’t found any use for them. so in conclusion I think Bob Bradley should leave, or get a good assistant by his side to help him out that has experience with national teams.

  • Viper

    Honestly, I was never thrilled with the decision to hire Bob Bradley, but he started out fine and putting together decent lineups initially. Lately, however, has been a whole other story.

    However, if Bob Bradley is too be fired, I think Mr. Sunil Gulati needs to go as well. I think it needs to start at the top. Let’s face it our US program has never been stellar. Honestly, we got lucky in 2002. The US Natl. team played one good match in group play against Portugal and then found themselves begging for South Korea to help them out to even advance to the 2nd round. Then we came up against Mexico – a country within our region. The team put together there best game of their lives and came out on top only to lose once again to premier football nation – Germany.

    The US Natl. team always plays well within the CONCACAF region – i.e. WC qualifiers and Gold Cup competitions. But beyond outside the CONCACAF, the US Natl teams fall flat on their face.

    The talent is there. It is the personnel decisions and tactics that are lacking. The concept of even playing Beasley as a left or right back is ridiculous to say the least, even to have him on the team. Ever since his injury, he has never been the same player and does not deserve to be on the Natl. team. Conor Casey? Please. Ricardo Clark? Cmon’. That punk should have seen his ass on a plane back home to the States. That was a dumbass player on his part that hurt the team in that match. Must we be reminded about his little incident with Carlos Ruiz during those FC Dallas / Houston Dynamo days?

    Seriously, it is time to man up Gulati and either resign or get a coach that understands how to properly prepare a team for the World Cup against the likes of most European and South American countries. I still want to know why Klinsmann was never hired in the first place – he knew about the American game and its players and already gained immense experience in the 06 WC. If it came down to money, well it is time to properly pay a coach what he is due. If not Klinsmann, than someone else along those lines – Erickson maybe? His brand of soccer fits well with the US players – we are not Mexico folks.

    Bradley is not the answer and neither is Gulati. Both go now while we still have time before 2010. If we even qualify. Hell, the signs are already out there – we are starting to fail within our own region now.

  • Geoff

    Fire Bob Bradley and we become Mexico, it’s as simple as that. I’ll defend Bob until the cows come home. He’s a proven winner wherever he’s been (except maybe the MetroStars but then who has done well with that club?) and sure he has made mistakes, but so did Sir Alex Ferguson against Barcelona and nobody’s getting on his case.

  • Soccer Jerseys

    I wouldn't fire Bob Bradley right now, who's a better available coach right now? The issue is our players get blown off the ball by more physical players, remember when we had Lalas, Balboa and Pope in the back? They weren't the most talented, but they didn't want to lose the ball when they played, our defense doesn't have that killer instinct.

  • elpool009

    geoff. lemme guess, you voted for george w bush this past november? as a die hard liverpool supporter it pains me to say this, but… to bring up sir alex ferguson in the same breath as bob bradley is like comparing george washington to richard nixon.<br />
    not only have the cows come home my geoff, theyre all lined up at the slaughter house. get a clue.

  • I wouldn’t fire Bob Bradley right now, who’s a better available coach right now? The issue is our players get blown off the ball by more physical players, remember when we had Lalas, Balboa and Pope in the back? They weren’t the most talented, but they didn’t want to lose the ball when they played, our defense doesn’t have that killer instinct.

  • elpool009

    geoff. lemme guess, you voted for george w bush this past november? as a die hard liverpool supporter it pains me to say this, but… to bring up sir alex ferguson in the same breath as bob bradley is like comparing george washington to richard nixon.
    not only have the cows come home my geoff, theyre all lined up at the slaughter house. get a clue.