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Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by ttrevett, Jun 11, 2015.
Rep just for pointing this out.
To me, he looked like he was playing not to make mistakes at Roma. He was a squad player on a Roma team that played with a lot of technical ability and quickly. It was going to be tough for him there and he was never going to be "the man" in midfield which is where he shines.
I think the difference is when you are a squad player in Europe and you make a mistake or two, you might find yourself on the bench for a few weeks. I think Bradley has finally earned JK's trust, so he's not afraid to make a mistake or two. I think this is why we've seen more long runs from him. When he gets by a defender or two, it really opens up space vs. hitting a lateral pass first.
I just hope JK gives MB the reigns and says "Do your thing"
He's that good
This is one of those factors that I've been referring to when I point out that the choice (for our top talents) between "Europe" and "staying home" is quite a bit more complex than it sounds at first.
That said, in this case we're specifically talking about a player whose first real chance to grow and shine professionally was at Heerenveen (yes, he played a little bit and got scouted with the Metrostars, but Heerenveen is where he really first blossomed), so as I was saying, there's really no simple way of looking at it unless you doesn't mind being simplistic and missing the point.
EDIT: I'll take the opportunity to point out an observation of mine: it seems that the leagues that have the best record thus far of taking our players (and by "ours" I am referring to those kids who grew up in America, as opposed to the German-Americans currently on our squad who grew up and learned to play in a German environment before they entered a professional set-up) and making them consistently better than they found them seems to be the Low Countries.
He's also playing in the MLS were he is encourages to take guys on and play out of the lines. I have to imagine he comes into the National team now with a lot more confidence. I think you see that a lot is his play now. Willing and able to take guys on 1 v 1, willing to hold the ball and dribble out of pressure in his own attacking third... just lots of things in the last couple of games have given me the impression that he is playing with a lot more confidence, composure, and freedom than he ever did after playing in Series A.
This ability of Bradley's to take a space by dribbling instead of always passing is a huge element we've been largely missing. Before MB's dribbling this week, the best I can remember is Benny's dribble against Spain in the Confed. Cup iirc. (Of course, Dempsey's goal in the recent WC was pretty great too, now that I think about it.) We shouldn't necessarily be a dribble-first club, but if the entire team is devoid of a basic skill/tactic, it's no wonder we've have to scrap and claw every damn game instead of putting teams on their heels, the way they've done to us for years. Without the dribble, we're too damn predictable, too easy to defend.
Bradley could have stayed in Europe and certain parts of his game that are showing now (increased confidence dribbling one on one...) might have developed but there is also something to be said for learning how to be "the man" which is something that he would not be developing in Europe. While it is impossible to say which path would have been better for his overall quality, MLS doesn't seem to have hurt him at all.
This is something Landon has talked about a lot, especially after the failures of 2004 Olympic qualifying & in the 06 World Cup.
Anyway, if we give Bradley a 6 to protect him and 3 runners to pick out, we can compete with anybody in the world.
It is simple. Give Bradley the free reign of whatever he wants to do on the field, and rest of team adjust to his need. LOL.
When he attacks, 4 guys (at least three) give him channels. When he defends, other midfielders supply outlets.
So basically Altidore and Dempsey will become secondary consideration for Bradley. 2018 USMNT is Bradley's team, and Dempsey is his fall back.
BUT, here is my wish list:
1. He needs to cut down the wasted chances per game.
2. He needs to improve his scoring (remember the World Cup game vs. Portugal? That is like the one in Germany game.)
My wish list would be guys who can cross consistently, and a good target player who can muscle out opponents in the box. Bradley creates so much space with his dribbling runs through the middle, but I think he hesitates to distribute to the overlapping wide player because he probably has little faith that the wide player will serve in a better ball than he can play from the middle. Having a consistent crosser and valid target in the box will open up a ton of options because the defense will then have to be honest and respect the wide runners. Right now do we have anyone that serves a consistently good cross from wide other than Bradley?
A lot of people are talking about Bradley's performance and it's impact on the game. I think more importantly is that while he did play very, very well, the other 10 played fairly well too. There was a section in Soccernomics that talks about the great teams have very good players everywhere...that you can't have 8 great players and 3 weak ones since the opponent will find weaknesses and exploit them. This is why simply putting CR7 on an MLS team wouldn't necessarily guarantee a championship. It would help, but wouldn't guarantee anything. Heck, look at Portugal, and they have some decent players.
I was taking a second look at Holland (clip above) and Germany. I can think of only two spots where he could have done better - last pass after a long run in the first half and the finish he didn't bury, both against Germany. Other than that, what else would we want from that position? His technical ability is superb, he tracks down other midfielders from behind, he switches the attack as needed, etc. I mean, he almost scored an Olympic goal and hit the post against Holland from what looked like nothing. The other thing we've all noticed is that he now will take people on 1v1 on long runs, which creates much more space for his teammates. That's huge! He obviously keeps his head on a swivel because he seems to know whether to turn left or right or, with one-touch efficiency, where to pass.
Let's hope he keeps it up.
I'll just leave this thing I found here:
Michael Bradley > Claudio Reyna
IMO, when all is said and done, by a wide margin. They may have the same soccer IQ, but MB's motor and dribbling skills are a big upgrade over CR. I don't know if I want this thread to turn into some back and forth about who is better than who, so I'll leave it at that.
Reyna made the WC all-tournament team in 2002, so let's not forget that. Since we're playing this game,
I'd put the following starting 11 in terms of best USMNT performance at their peak:
Dempsey - McBride
J. O'Brien - Bradley - Reyna - Donovan
Cherundolo - Pope - Bocanegra - Sanneh
Just have to laugh a little. The USMNT has been competitive for about 15 years and we have never had a decent LB. I'm saying that in a positive way. We've gone from getting whacked in 1990 and 1998 to expecting to make it out of the group and our most recent sweep in Europe. We've gone from being soccer punching bags against the top teams to a team that can beat you on your home soil. Feel free to not take the USMNT seriously!
I have always thought that Frankie Hejduk is WAY underrated by US fans. He brought an element of toughness, speed, and extreme competitiveness to every game.
Among fans in general, perhaps, but around here we've practically canonized him, and rightly so.
i think one of the reasons mike showed so well is that he's finally "the man" with his club. he always would've had a tough time carving out a place with roma, and a near impossible time being "the man". now that he's shouldering his club, the captain, the heartbeat, he's showing, i think, the effects of being central to everything that happens, both club and country.
with his showings last week, i think moving back to TFC is a master stroke. good competition, good training, and most importantly, the expectation of millions on his shoulders. michael bradley was made for that kind of stuff!
Fixed. In another universe, Jones makes it.
I think if Jones had been playing with the US his whole career, he would be. Having him play with only at the tail end of his prime (which is still pretty bloody good) has limited him in terms of all time best US players.
Maybe even if he had just been healthy for the 2010 World Cup.
Swap Stevie to the right, drop Sanneh, put JOB at left back, Jones in midfield (Reyna left, Jones right and Mike in the middle) with Landon and Dempsey flanking Bake up top and that's a FUN team. Of course, you need to drop Boca for Balboa (and put him on the left, Pope on the right), but I'm an old guy and actually know that.
Not sure Jones, Reyna and Mike could figure out how to run the midfield between them (too many piano players, not enough piano carriers), but if they did it would be awesome.
I'd swap jones in for any left back and have 5 midfielders. If only one strong WC isn't enough, then Freidel shouldn't be on there. I'm surprised he seems to be a universal pick. I'm going with Howard.
Moving forward, I think we have more upside at this point with Michael than with Jermaine in midfield, and I don't think they can share the space. I would rather have MB with a true 6 (Beckerman or DWill) behind him than a system of pulleys in a MB/JJ tandem. Maybe you could play Jermaine where Morales played against Belgium, but he's have to operate with strict instructions to stay out of MB's sphere. If JJ would play as a true 6, I still think he would be the best we have at that role, but he doesn't have that mentality.