My Responses to the Most Recent Pro Bradley Comments

Over on MLS Talk we’ve had a number of pro Bradley people come out of the woodwork. Let’s see some of their comments.

like your buddy Denholm constantly does. The two of you have been out to get Bob Bradley since the beginning. Guess what? He’s doing a great job and not going anywhere. All you do is repeat the same arguments over and over again. I’ve been listening to your podcast/radio show for over two years now and it is the same thing about no leadership, bad player development, bad strategy and how the old US teams were better , yadi yadi ya. Well hasn’t occurred to you Mr. Kartik that all this negativity eventually wears off on the players. Very few soccer shows are availible. They listen to you. They listen to Denholm. Eventually they develop an inferiority complex because you two blowhards keep saying “we suck” “bradley sucks” “Adu is better” “Torres is better” and “play this guy from MLS instead” so often it gets into their heads.

So congratulations. Your stealth war against our national team the team you claim to love has worked. Our worst loss ever to Brazil? True, but don’t you think you had a hand in it for all your negativity and trashing of the team after wins in tough places like Cuba and Guatemala?

Of course if the very same performances were registered by the US under Klinsmann DD and KK would be saying how good the US was and how close we are to breaking through. Admit it- until we hire a foreign coach you guys won’t stop this drumbeat.

This post is just one-sided lopsided propaganda. You need to present all of the facts to get any credibility.

You make it sound like the Costa Rica loss a few weeks ago was so horrible when in reality we always lose on the road at Costa Rica (and so do all the other concacaf powers). Our legendary 2002 team lost both road games at Costa Rica in 2002 qualifying.

You make it sound like the losses to Italy and Brazil were our worst ever. But how many of our previous games against them did we play man down for 60 minutes? None. Again, you leave out important facts. Losing a player early on completely changes the game.

You also ignore our very strong record against Mexico recently.

I think with a few tweaks in the personnel we could be pretty dangerous in 2010. We just need to cut Beasely and Casey. We need to bench Kiljestan. And we need to play Adu and Torres.

Plus we should be getting reinforcements soon with that big defender from Germany switching national teams in a month.

My responses:

First of all we played 30 minutes down a man and were already down two goals. I have to ask an honest question. If losing to Brazil 3-0 is not a big deal how do we explain the US DEFEATING Brazil a few months before they went to the World Cup final and the US losing by a single goal to Brazil both a year before the 2002 World Cup triumph and year after in the Confederations Cup? How is the US’ 1-0 loss at Copa America in 1995 (in the semis) explained considering Brazil was in the middle of the all time greatest run in football history (which Spain could actually break in this tournament). Surely given your standard that US team should have lost 5-0, 6-0, or 7-0 especially considering the game was in Uruguay not far from the Brazilian border.

I’m sorry but if you take a historical perspective on US Soccer, Thursday’s performance was a low in the post 1990 era and a complete embarrassment shown on worldwide television. It is simply not acceptable to perform in this fashion. Even worse Bradley clearly did no scouting. Under Dunga Brazil plays deep- so deep they look like Argentina used to against Brazil. Yet Bradley didn’t come out with a formation to counter this just long balls and picking two former club players of his who have no ball skills over those who could break down a bunkered defense. Player selections and bad tactics are how you fall down 2-0 within 19 minutes to a team that is actually set up defensively.
We can argue about the Italy game but nobody in their right mind can argue that yesterday’s performance was not among the most shameful from a coaching and player standpoint for the US since 1990.

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The Costa Rica game was no worse I agree than previous trips to Saprissa.

However, the Italy game was worse than every previous meeting against Italy since 1934- don’t say we dominated the first half because Italy more often than not allows its opposition possession in the first 20-25 minutes and then strikes.

The El Salvador game was pathetic. Tactically we came out completely out of whack.

The game against Cuba in Havana was a joke. We scored an early goal from Dempsey and sat on the game. The players looked disinterested and just kept sending the ball forward without intent.

Actually that brings up a good point. As I said with the Brazil game is was obvious that Bradley did ZERO scouting of the new Brazilian tactics under Dunga. None. We set up against Brazil the way we used to in the games I previously mentioned. The difference was then we’d have a Reyna or a Ramos that could hold the ball in midfield against intense pressure and generally our spacing and shape held together well.

If you understand tactics you’ll realize that under Bradley our spacing has been worse than ever before under intense opposition pressure and we give up more goals right up the middle than we ever did under Arena or Sampson. That’s inspte of usually having two defensive midfielders.

If we want to go back to games, under Arena the US never gave up a goal to Mexico at home between 2000 and 2006, but under Bradley we’ve given 3 in 3 games, still decent but clearly regression. Under Arena and Sampson we gave up 7 goals total in 7 games against Brazil and under Bradley we’ve given up 7 in two games! Only one of those 7 was scored when we were a man down so that’s not an excuse.

Another note on coaching. I’m tired of fans whining about Kljestan and Clark’s reds. Were they harsh? maybe, although I agree with both calls. You cannot get disposed and then tackle high in a knee jerk way as both did and not expect to be carded. At that point you’re at the refs mercy. The official has to make a snap judgment and considering Kljestan gets a card a game in MLS and Clark received the longest ever MLS suspension they both have established reputations. As one commentator on this blog noted after the Italy game sympathy from official is not an entitlement after a reckless, clumsy tackle.

But this goes back to Bradley. Beacuse of the tactics and poor spacing we see more bad giveaways than ever. He puts guys in central midfield who either are playing deeper than they should thanks to the tactics(Feilhaber, Bradley) or simply should never be trusted with the ball in the middle of the pitch against decent opposition (Kljestan and Clark)so what you have is constant bad giveaways and players who don’t have the sense to not react angrily and foul. And yes that too comes from coaching. After the Clark sending off Bradley needs to make the players he selects aware of why Clark got that card and not to put themselves in that position. Clearly based on Kljestan’s actions he did not hear that speech.

One more point Quakes: Jermaine Jones plays in the midfield for Schalke, actually as a holding mid in a 4 man mid. He’s not a defender although I suppose he could play central defender in a pinch but may not have the instincts for that position. But their is no guarantee Bradley will play him. He has preferred players at Central mid- his son, two former club players of his (Clark and Kljestan) and Feilhaber who I will give Bradley credit for spotting in the youth pool and elevating a few years back since he does have decent technical skill on the ball.

Despite these few comments the overwhelming number of posters seem to want Bradley sacked at that particular website.

I’m not usually one to defend MLS but after a crowd of eurosnob Americans discussed the US game on EPL Talk and blamed MLS for the US woes I was compelled to write this:

You guys can bag on MLS and I do it all the time, but the truth is this is the most European oriented squad the US has had since MLS was formed and is also easily the least competitive American team since MLS was formed.

For example the 1999 Confederations Cup team that beat Germany, lost because of a missed PK to Brazil and finished 3rd had 13 MLS players. This team which is as bad as New Zealand thus far has 5 MLS players.

Another example. The 2002 World Cup team which got the Quarterfinals featured 12 MLS players and this one features 5.

The team that beat Brazil in the 1998 featured 17 MLS players while the team that got shredded by Brazil features 5.

Detect a pattern? It’s not MLS even though the league clearly has slipped in quality with over expansion and losing mid level Americans but the US system, management decisions and tactics. That is the bottom line.