I honestly never thought I'd see the day return when the US Men's National Team would play a game, let alone a World Cup qualifier, and absolutely nobody would care. The second leg easily rated a five, maybe a six, on the All-Bran Scale.* Literally the only question I had about the game was what the deal was with all the USL teams. I sent an e-mail to USL's default contact website asking, effectively, what the deal was, and if I hear back I'll let you know. Maybe I should start asking stupid questions by telephone instead of by ignorable e-mail.
On the other hand, you go to the trouble of advertising in an unprecedented direction in a game where there's really not a big discernible link between what's being advertised and what we're watching, and there's zero follow-up on the official site? Yes, I did read discussion boards both here and on usldiscussions.com, and the theory that this was Miami FC or Nike drumming up interest sort of flops when you see there's nothing on the Miami site (or, of course, the Nike site) about the signs, either. And why WERE the C-Bats ignored?
So, yeah, game? What game? Thank heavens for Jamie Trecker, giving us something to talk about. The guy is a role model for trolling bloggers everywhere, and I don't mean that with more than about 15% irony. Jamie's a godsend.
Before we get to his "Fire Bradley!" article, I did want to mention this great chapter in When Autocensoring Goes Wrong. Kids, see if you can guess the missing word in this sentence:
Our younger readers won't remember "Match Game", but this is a question that Gene Rayburn would have KILLED for. (The offending word, by the way, is snatch.)
Trecker is, of course, the ideal man to turn to when the US has just swallowed a minnow - only Paul Gardner and Grahame L. Jones are consistently less enamored with the US, and Trecker disappoints only slightly.
Come now, we need much more vitriol than this, especially if complaining about the results is temporarily out of the question. Way too many "mays" and "mights" here. "Bob Bradley Needs To Go, And Here's Why" is the tack necessary here, especially if you're trying to win over readers who will say "Um, England, Spain and Argentina aren't finger puppets, and how much more badly do you need Barbados beat for you, anyway?" There are probably dozens of wonderful reasons why Bradley needs to be back coaching the Red Bulls before the next round of qualifying, but if it needs to be done before, say, the Confederations Cup, I'd like to hear a better reason than "Because controversy brings in the hits, and you just bought into it with your link, SUCKER!"
See, this is the thing. How can you possibly put that question aside? Do we think right now the US has a deeper talent pool than Russia? The US should be deeper than the United Arab Emirates, but there's a significant difference in job description between a coach who can develop a nation's talent, and a coach who can get a bunch of no-hopers to play above themselves for one tournament. Even if the United States does need a new coach, it does not need another Bora Milutinovic.
Yes, now it can be told - it's unfair of Trecker to pick apart rosters chosen partly because various MLS players were either hurt or MLSing around, and use that to make value judgments on Bradley's ability to manage a talent pool.
Now, if the premise is that Bob is misusing the talent he has, that's a better reason to turn the heat on Bradley. Landon Donovan on the right wing experiment has outlived its usefulness, and continuing to strand our best player on the starboard side is an avoidable mistake that will cost us points in qualifying and games in the World Cup. However, if the premise is to recall Friedel, McBride, and Mastroeni and party like it's 2002, that's not helpful advice no matter who is coaching. To be fair, though, Bradley is inviting the comparisons, what with Eddie Lewis still out there getting starts. And I actually do want Frankie Hejduk to start in 2010, and I'll accept criticism on that opinion the day Fox pays me to write an article called "Fire Bob Bradley Because He Doesn't Pick Players I Go All Fanboy Over."
Furthermore, I absolutely refuse, now and forever, to sweat about our backup keeper. If that's our biggest problem - if backup keeper is even in the top five of our biggest problems - and even if the top four can be lumped into "offense, defense, midfield, coaching, and the USSF" - then we're still better off than 90% of the national teams out there. Besides, Matt Reis is tearing up the league right now. I'm not saying the US will never have a problem at goalkeeper, I'm just saying the sun will go nova first.
Anyway, if McBride's so good, how come he hasn't even got a club right now?
*A measurement of interest. Specifically, how many bowls of All-Bran I would have to eat before I gave a crap.