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Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by ttrevett, Jun 11, 2015.
I suppose in soccer terms it is the opposite. In that case, Messi would be a 2nd Lieutenant.
What's your purpose of assigning him this nickname? Just curious?
Seems ages ago that he was always critiqued. If not for getting that red card to miss the CC final or his inconsistent play during 2010 WC qualifying. That brace against Mexico was huge in Columbus. To me any criticism faded after his performance in the WC. And by the time he was in Chievo, suddenly everyone was coming around. Maybe it was he was just a better all around player or perhaps with his dad gone, suddenly people expected him with a different perspective. But he's really interesting to watch and the career he's had is Incredible.
I have no idea.
I think Jr. has gotten better over the years. He used to be reckless & wild. Now, he's a smarter player. He has improved a lot. That's why opinions change, because he has.
Bingo. Bradley has always been talented, but in his younger years he was erratic, and he often did not manage games well. His brain is catching up to his talent, and it is fun to watch.
Indeed, it has been fun watching him mature and add more subtlety and variety to his game, such as the accurate long passing he learned in Germany and the improved close control he worked on in Italy. Adding such aspects to the iron lungs, tenacity, fast transition game, and finishing he had from the start has clearly improved him as a player. One would hope all talented young players grow over time. Sadly, many have not.
But even back in 2007-2009, when most of the ridiculous nepotism debates took place, MB was still a better all-around central midfielder than the competition he faced from Mastro, Feilhaber, Clark, Edu, Kljestan, etc. Yes, his headless chicken act was frustrating at times, but he has been the best all-around CM in the US pool for a very long time, rivaled only for a few years by the Bundesliga-produced veteran Jermaine Jones. Even with his flaws and even with his evolution over the years, Bradley has been and still is the best CM the US National Team has ever produced. The player(s) who eventually surpass MB's National Team performances for an extended period will have to be truly world class.
Because Mikey likes it.
here's the other . .
Bradley set to play in his 100th game in the USA Gold Cup opener tomorrow . .
100th? Wow. Incredible. He didnt become a regular until 2008 right?
Hopefully he will be able to surpass the undeserving Cobi Jones. I appreciate Jones but there are quite a few players more deserving than him.
This is a weird comment to me, how on earth can someone be undeserving of their caps?
It's not that he's doesn't deserve his caps, but in the case of Cobi and (and the domestic-based '94 team in general) they have an inflated cap count owing to the fact that USSF ran the USMNT rather like a club side (not unlike they currently do the USWNT for that matter). It would take a much, much greater achievement of being very relevant over a much longer span of time (and competing against a much deeper pool) to reach Cobi's record than the conditions under which Cobi got a large number of his caps. Even Donovan ended up falling short by a few, and I'm sure that Cobi would honestly admit that his impact doesn't quite measure up to Landon's.
Amazing how history is so easily forgotten so fast. Anyhoo a secondary problem is that the team in the early 90's did that for the players with less pro options. The best players weren't getting as many caps because they were with their clubs.
That's why I'd specified the "domestic-based '94 team." I was excluding guys like Dooley and Wegerle from that. Of course by the time the 1998 WC rolled around, MLS was up and running and that arrangement was no longer necessary.
By the way, I know full well that Deuteronomy knows this history very well. If he was taking issue, it was along other lines, of which I would assume would be questioning if you feel that Cobi did not deserve the caps that he'd gotten by being the best we could muster, and then giving less than a good effort in those caps. (For that matter, I do, but comparatively-speaking, the numbers that the 1994 group gets as opposed to everyone else is just way off because of that heavy schedule of friendlies that USSF had them on. Then again, in a way there's a certain amount of justice in that, to a degree at least, insomuch as those guys who qualified in 1989, who played and performed encouragingly in 1994, who became the founding members of MLS in 1996 were a key generation in the history of the sport in our country.)
Huge congrats to my guy Michael Bradley on hitting 100 Caps tonight! Truly a special player!
So I think we can bump this, as there's a lot of discussion here now.
What is Michael Bradley? Does he need fixed? How can he be fixed? What is the outlook for him going forward?
A few thoughts from me, and I'll admit up front, I think Bradley has the most overall talent of anyone in the current pool, and I want him to succeed.
ROSTER PRESSURE: Obviously, Bradley faced some initial roster pressure when Klinsmann first entered the picture, but that was largely short-lived in a handful of friendlies, and he's been Klinsmann's guy ever since he came back in the picture. To the larger point: look around anyone's projected starting XI the last few years. Bradley is always in it. Like, no matter how much the rest of the pool has changed, Bradley is one of the few constants in every lineup real or virtual, the guy you'd chalk in even if he was coming off a low match rating. He's been afforded more faith than anyone else in this pool, IMO.
The reality is: Bradley hasn't played well for two consecutive, meaningful tournaments. Now, we can sit here and debate how misused he is, but to this specific point: he hasn't played well. That would put most players under pressure to see their position usurped or at least challenged. Will/should Bradley be challenged?
It's hard for me to see that being the case. Who would challenge him, and when? You can't just throw new/inexperienced blood in there for the Confed Cup playoff. I don't know the friendly situation after that, but then you start CONCACAF quals as the next big item on the calendar, and again, not the place to necessarily blood young talent at such a key position. This is where, I think, having Bradley anchor so many meaningless friendlies sometimes did more harm than good. We don't know what other possibilities really exist at the position, and now I don't think we have time to find out, unless Bradley is just so abysmal going forward that he leaves no other option.
POSITIONAL QUESTION: Is Bradley a 6? Is he an 8? Is he a 10? Is he all of the above? Klinsmann seems to bank on the latter, which is foolish, because Bradley -- like most soccer players on this planet -- is not capable of being that guy. But let's put aside Klinsmann's error for a moment: what is Bradley?
Here's where I struggle to answer...
He's not athletic or dynamic enough to be your 10. He just doesn't have that creative final touch, that shooting boot that can put you on alert from anywhere, that ability to make that clever run no one else sees. He's perhaps a quarterback, but not a star wide receiver at the same time, if that makes sense.
He too often doesn't hit the right notes in the final third to be your 8, although this is starting to make more sense. He's a little more withdrawn here, typically, so he's not consistently in front of goal and being asked to be a natural goalscorer -- he's just not a particularly great goalscorer, if we're being honest. But this position also has a tendency to leave him exposed, primarily due to his lack of athleticism. In tourneys like these, when he's not threading the needle or finding the final pass -- and he struggled to do either in this tourney -- he's got to possess the ball or take some outside shots to challenge the keeper from this position. Neither of those look to be a real strength either. So he makes more sense to conceptualize as an 8 than a 10, but overall, he still comes up short on too many tasks assigned to your 8.
If we're keeping him central, that largely leaves us discussing him as a 6, then. Or rather, whether he's an 8 or a 6 in a pulley system. And that really just depends on his partner, I guess. But I have to say: I kind of like the idea of Bradley as a 6 if Klinsmann really wants to play between the lines and encourage more dynamic, fast-flowing play. I think his athletic faults can be covered up a bit here, and I think he's one of the stronger defensive players of all players asked to really play both ways, even if this tournament didn't show him well in that light. He's a smart tackler. I like the idea of a system where Bradley wins possession in the defensive third and then has the freedom to dribble into space and take on defenders until they commit and open in something behind for more athletic players wide on the pitch or at the top of the diamond. I also like the idea of Bradley dropping in long passes from this position, though there is a fear that maybe he's a bit TOO withdrawn from goal.
So there are pros + cons for each. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if the USMNT shouldn't be exploring more dynamic/athletic options at the 8, and start thinking of Bradley as a 6. I'd trust Bradley more there than anyone in this pool currently, anyway.
I think as a #6 he is a defensive liability. I disagree about his defensive abilities. He is poor in the air and doesn't do crunching tackles. I want my #6 to strike fear into the hearts of opponents.
Also lets not forget he has been very poor when in possession alone in front of the defensive line. Portugal and many other games he has lost possession and put our backs under enormous pressure.
I feel our lack of a real solid #6 is our main defensive problem. Remember when JK took over he pretty much had 3 #6s on the field at the same time to stop the early conceding of the BB era. Now we play with no #6 except a very slow Beckerman. There are seemingly multiple options and none were called in which is baffling.
We have spent the last 7 years building the central midfield around Bradley. It's time to think of other options.
As is often the case with these boards, the start of the thread reads strangely now.
bradley is the most frustrating athlete among all the players and teams i follow. as is the protocol in any other college or pro sport, there has to be a point when inconsistency isnt tolerated any longer and your minutes get significantly cut or nulled. if a legitimate option a spot below in the depth chart is waiting for his chance to prove himself on a regular basis, he has to get it when that point is reached. if you're playing an integral role, one that the offense is played through, it has to be a shorter leash.
bradley was disappointing in both the world cup and gold cup. as we've often seen is the case, if he plays poorly, it's likely the team plays poorly. i honestly think diskerud is talented enough to be a regular starter but he's never gotten a prolonged chance to prove it, and i think much more highly of nguyen than the majority here.
we all know klinsmann wont bench bradley any time soon so i'll separate it from that and pose the question of what would you do. at what point, if the point hasnt yet been reached, do you bench bradley in favor of diskerud, nguyen, kljestan or trying nagbe or bedoya in the center role? a call-up for zelalem or hyndman seems to be a year or two away, and lets just leave feilhaber out of it since he seems unrealistic. (which is sad because it's the coach's job to field and prepare the best american team, not the players he best gets along with. unless feilhaber, lichaj and besler are locker room cancers, it's excusable for them not getting called in. /rant)
Does Beckerman strike fear and crunch people? Do any of our DMs? Bradley is fine defensively when he's asked to play a more simple and disciplined role, he did it in Serie A just fine.
Our big problem with Bradley has been asking him to do much, the more he's asked to do, the more erratic he becomes and no matter what role he's in, he's not reliable as a playmaker, he's a supporting player.
Beckerman does crunch but I have always found him way to slow for the international game. Was never on my radar of #6s for the USA.
My problem with your idea of MB being asked to do to much is when you simplify it to 1 main simple task....he just is not the best choice for the task. #6....not even in my top 10 and is a defensive liability. #10....yikes he kills more attacks then the opposing teams defense. #8 is really your only choice. He is pretty good at all of those roles but not great at any of them.
So are we really going base our entire team around MB playing as a #8? That would require us to go 4-5-1 and have a lone striker (we have 0 target forwards of any note in our pool right now). So Dempsey up top by himself which usually does not work or Altidore and bench Dempsey? The other option is to sacrifice width completely with a 4-4-2 with an extra central player playing a "wing" role. We have been doing this and it has failed miserably.
I am not going to bench Dempsey so MB can play the role that makes him the most comfortable. I would rather have a true #6 destroyer and a #10 Mix or maybe Zelalem/Hyndman in the near future...who knows because we do have some young potential players in the pipeline, they are just really young and unproven now.
I do not like how our starting 11 begins with MB....and then we pick the other 10. I think we are always handicapping ourselves. MB has shown moments of brilliance and can be fantastic but after 2 very poor tournaments, questions have to be asked and we have to stop picking rosters with the assumption that he starts.
I don't really buy this. During much of WCQing when he was what I'd consider a top 5 player in CONCACAF, he was tasked with being our fulcrum and our team was centered around him. At Chievo, it was similar and most of the play went through him. He's just not playing as well as he used to. And while he's listed as a 10 at times, he's not actually occupying the space a 10 would. He's dropping deeper and collecting, for the most part where he's been most comfortable his entire career.
In WCQing, we were running out he and Jones in a 4-2-3-1. They essentially acted as dual 8s covering one another's runs. Their chemistry was also rocky at that time yet Mike was still playing arguably the best ball of his career. While at times he now is getting the ball in more advanced positions than he might be comfortable, it's really not near the extent some imply. It also doesn't explain his generally sloppy touches under pressure and misplaced passes which are occurring in deeper positions, where he's always been comfortable.
The question is do we go back to the 4-2-3-1? Don't people complain when we go to a single striker formation? Other question would be if we do that, who do we pair with Mike? Could be Jones for the playoff and the start of WCQing but he's 33. Could try it with Williams. He's got a pretty strong defensive presence and a good touch, can play at tempo and deal with pace. It's not Beckerman. Kitchen isn't ready. Cameron doesn't play in midfield for Stoke.
And if it's not a 4-2-3-1, what do we run out and is Mike in good enough form to change a formation around him? We could go to the diamond with
when Nagbe is cleared but I also think we're best with pace on the wings. What compounds the issue is Mike is currently playing as a 10 for TFC as well. Also, if he's a support player, who the hell are our fulcrums? Who are our stars to lean on? Clint's 32. Fab is a flank player and not really a fulcrum. Benny is 30, has his own weaknesses and isn't good enough to be the go to player at this level. Could it be Nagbe? Count me as saying no. Blows too hot/cold and doesn't have the mentality to bring it regularly as he's repeatedly shown in Portland. He'll have a good game followed by disappearing for two. What we need is another Mike/Jones level player in midfield or on the wing and we haven't developed that player yet.