The Michael Bradley thread

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by ttrevett, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Grogtank

    Grogtank Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Vegas Baby
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've agreed with jond about Bradley for ages now. It's been fun watching him constantly having to defend himself against the hordes in random threads here and there. lol

    I think the obvious problem is that he is not fast enough mentally or physically to be at the tip of a diamond. His form has certainly dipped but I think being asked to do things he isn't designed to do contributes to that. He could share attacking responsibility with another #8 both in front of a DM. This would take some of the pressure off him but it's still not ideal because there will still be tight spaces. He could very easily play as a single DM and this may be the best way to go, especially if some of our youngsters step up. #8 candidates Mix, Lleget, Hyndman, others?, miracle super youngster (Zelalem)? Wouldn't it be great for Zelalem to break through to Arsenals first team this year! haha


    The two lone striker archetypes right now are the Ibra/Dzeko types and the quicker, highly active types like Suarez. It might seem unfair comparing our striker pool to those players but it's necessary to evaluate what makes a lone striker work. The number one attribute of a top class CF is without question his first touch, anything less is a poacher. Either a touch and turn, a nice lay off, or putting the ball where he needs it to make a pass. This attribute is a must have for a lone striker. Do we have anyone that can do this consistently?
    neems repped this.
  2. jaxonmills

    jaxonmills Member+

    Aug 26, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree that this is our optimal midfield shape and what would maximize Bradley's effectiveness. Mix/Jones/Feilhaber/Bedoya could play next to Bradley. Williams/Beckerman/Kitchen/Jones/Cameron for DM.

    There are two ways we could implement this midfield shape: 4-3-3 or 3-5-2.

    For the 4-3-3, I'd actually play Clint as the CF and use Zardes/Morris/AJ as the wide forwards. Bedoya or Yedlin could also be wide options, but they wouldn't be my first choices. Altidore could be a sub for Dempsey or possibly one of the wide forwards, or we could bring him on by removing the DM or one of the 8s and going to a 4-2-3-1 if we need to chase goals.

    The 3-5-2 gives us more flexibility about which fowards we could play together. There are lots of ways you could pair Dempsey/AJ/Altidore/Zardes/Morris. FJ/Yedlin/Chandler/Shea/maybe Bedoya as the wingbacks. It might take some tinkering to find the optimal back three, but we have some interesting options with Brooks/Omar/Besler/Ream/Cameron/Alvarado.

    I'd like to see us able to use both of these systems effectively.
    Mr Martin, juveeer and deuteronomy repped this.
  3. deuteronomy

    deuteronomy Member+

    Angkor Siem Reap FC
    United States
    Aug 12, 2008
    Siem Reap, Cambodia
    Siem Reap Angkor FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, pretty much spot on . . .

    Two additional concerns:

    1. Often, the midfield featured non-midfield, worker bee types, like Gysai Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin, along with Kyle Beckerman. In addition, it wasn't like we had the old Charlie Davies to play the through ball to run onto. I am not sure what the midfield strategy was like, but it was fairly easy for the opponents to key on Bradley.

    2. Bradley, was not rested the entire tournament, while carrying the burden of being the midfield engine. He could have easily been rested after we won the group against Panama or the 6-0 rout vs Cuba. Among others, he sure looked tired yesterday against Panama in the third place match.
  4. juveeer

    juveeer Member+

    Aug 3, 2006
    #104 juveeer, Jul 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
    Both Bradley and Dempsey unbalance the team from a tactical POV.

    Dempsey is not effective as a lone forward, nor as a wide MF, even though he played there for Fulham and under Arena because (1) he does not do all of the defensive work needed on the flank, and (2) more importantly, it takes away from his main value to this team, which is poaching goals. That almost forces the team to play with 2 forwards. You could play with 3, but that will leave him as a free man behind the center forward and probably no #10.

    Bradley, as others have noted doesn't really have the goods to fulfill any of the traditional CMF roles. He is not the best defender for the 6 role and often does not close down danger around the box when he is placed in that role.

    This tournament and the WC should have put paid to the idea that he can be a 10. He is simply not athletic enough, or quick enough with his decision making or creative enough to make the kinds of quick decisions, passes, runs that a 10 must make at the top of a diamond on around the box. He is better coming from further back with the play in front of him. How many times did someone play a ball into his feet in or around the box and he couldn't get the ball from under his feet or he turned into trouble instead of laying a simple ball out to keep the move going?

    I suppose he is closer to an 8, but he doesn't really do all that a classic 8 does either as others have pointed out.

    So....what to do?

    If you look at our youth teams (U-17, U-20 and U-23) we do have some players coming through that could solves some of these problems. And you are starting to see some consistency from those groups on a "style of play" and the kind of MFs and Forwards Klinsmann wants to develop going forward.

    However, the chances of more than a couple of them making it this year are not good.

    So that means right now we have what we have. That means both Bradley and Dempsey will be starting barring injury. This is a tactical dilemma for Klinsmann to solve, but none of the previous coaches have been able to solve it yet either. Clint means we will be using mostly a 2 forward attack.

    Bradley in the center means you have to put pieces around him. I am not sure we have the right pieces.

    Clint needs an Altidore type player to run off or perhaps a Jordan Morris/Rubio Rubin face up speed striker to wreak havoc, where he can pick up the pieces. Yedlin kinda did that on Dempsey's goal yesterday.

    As to Bradley, I am not sure there is a good answer there. One thing is for sure, the last 2 games we have been run over in the MF, so the number of CMFs and their positioning is not adequate. That means either a 4-2-3-1 with either Altidore or a Morris type up top (Zardes could be someone to look at cause he seems more effective up top than on the flank) and Clint sliding in behind him flanked by maybe Bedoya and Mix. That would require the FBs to provide the width.

    The other option is 3-5-2 which will help solve the MF problem and with maybe Fabian and Yedlin as wing backs will also sole the width problem. Do we have 3 CBs with the defensive abilities, tactical acumen and athleticism to pull that off?

    Bottom line though, is, we just aren't good enough from a skill and tactical perspective right now. Klinsmann is correct to be looking for talent wherever he can find it as the old guard disappears from the roster. The youth teams look promising, but we need play qualifiers this fall and Spring, so some solutions need to be found.

    Sorry for the length.
    MPNumber9, neems and MuchoTakeItEasy repped this.
  5. brjohnson

    brjohnson Member

    May 30, 2015
    i love the 3-5-2 formation. it just looks cooler, ha. when there's chemistry and everyone plays their role right, it's a balanced and efficient set-up. i'd like to try out the below vs peru, then if it looks promising keep fine tuning it vs brazil. it keeps looking promising, beat el tri dos a cero with it.
    the two big positives are 1. it allows johnson to move up where it seems he's more comfortable without worrying about who to insert at lb and 2. it's clear we need somebody centrally beside bradley. it also works because johnson and bedoya are willing and decent-to-good defenders. as we'd see how it goes and who fits best, some will probably need to be replaced for whatever reason. altidore, morris, yedlin, nagbe, williams, brooks covers every spot for reinforcements.
    it's kinda old with 3 guys 30+, though it sounds like cameron is playing well at rb for stoke, jones is probably hungry to get back and dempsey is still our biggest scoring threat.

    dempsey - johannsson
    johnson - diskerud - bedoya
    jones - bradley
    besler - gonzalez - cameron
  6. manfromgallifrey91

    Swansea City
    United States
    Jul 24, 2015
    Wyoming, USA
    Southampton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Bradleys first touch is much heavier than it was a few years ago. His passing is very inconsistent, and he is much better making late runs into the box, than carrying the ball up the field, as he overdribbles a lot, and gives away soft turnovers. He has to have a partner to be effective. The question is who to partner him with. Jones, Mix, Williams, or trying a youngster, either way we need to find an eleven, and give them some run in Sep to build some cohesion.
    Raider Power repped this.
  7. Grogtank

    Grogtank Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Vegas Baby
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mexico played a 3-5-2 tonight rather well. Single DM and their outside CB's were very aggressive. They were able to move the ball seemingly effortlessly.

    Our problem is that I doubt our staff has any clue how to play a 3-5-2, much less instruct the players tactically in any successful way.
  8. Raider Power

    Raider Power Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Exactly. A player through whom much of our going forward is run through cannot produce touches that put the ball three yards in front of him on a consistent basis. I have enjoyed Bradley when he has been at the top of his game and really thought he had a chance to be revelation to the rest of the world last summer. Unfortunately, he is a mediocre attacking MF. I think at his best he has been a holding mid, paired with someone like Jermaine Jones or Geoff Cameron in a 4-2-3-1 or as a single holding mid in a 4-1-4-1.
    CeltTexan repped this.
  9. Marko72

    Marko72 Member+

    Aug 30, 2005
    New York
    3-5-2 is as German as pretzels, lederhosen, and lager beer.
    cpwilson80 repped this.
  10. Grogtank

    Grogtank Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Vegas Baby
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In modern times, so is a high tempo attacking game.. proactive even. :)
    Marko72 repped this.
  11. Grogtank

    Grogtank Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Vegas Baby
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah it would be an uphill battle switching everything up. I can't remember how well it worked when we tried it earlier, I do recall us trying it with JK. Overall a bad idea with a must win playoff on the horizon.

    I do think we have the CB's needed though. Alvarado and Besler would make nice outside CB's, CCV in the future as well. Reasonably fast and good with the ball. As long as both wingbacks aren't caught too high up we should still have 4 defenders. If a CB pushes up and loses possession the DM is there.

    As jaxonmills pointed out it would be a nice way to get 3 CM's while still allowing for 2 central strikers. Would be nice if we could do it well.


    Aug 30, 2011
    Asteras Tripolis
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i hated Bradley when he was getting time under Bob
    as soon as he went to Chievo and Roma, i feel like his decision making and movement changed,
    and i started liking him, and still do

    regardless if people like Bradley or not, at this point we do not have a better CM type to replace him

    imo, usa needs a 3 center midfielders
    1 DM and 2 CMs
    or DM, CM and AM
    problem we have, we dont have a true AM
    maybe vs some concacaf teams where we dominate we can get away from this,
    but we always need a DM vs better teams

    i feel like Bradley plays better when he has a stay at home DM behind him
    then he plays freely without having to worry about making defensive stops

    Bradley does not win balls in the air
    Bradley does not put on hard tackles

    i dont think any formation will get us to score more or more frequently, we just dont have top scoring forwards
    so then the next question is, what style or type of team do we want/have
    if we think Bradley is our best player, then lets model the team after him
    high motor, high energy, high workrate
    id like to see Bedoya next to Bradley as dual CMs, with a DM behind them
    something like

    wing ------------ forward ------------ wing

    a little like Sporting Kansas City

    whoever is playing best at DM, Jones, Beckerman, Cameron, Morales, other
    since JK loves Dempsey, he has to be the Forward
    we have lots of choices for wings, Zardes, AJ, Agudelo, Zusi
    if we are using Yedlin as a late sub, he fits perfect at wing
    if we have 2 FBs, not named Chandler then Fabian can also be in that wing spot

    - where is Benny ? or put in another Mids name that is missing and hasnt gotten their chance
    - why does JK keep playing Bradley as the AM ?
    thats probably his worst spot : lone CM, dual CM, skinny diamond left side, Holding Mid, Defensive Mid
  13. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    MB has been nigh unstoppable playing an 8/10 in behind 2 forwards. Play him front of a legit d-mid like GCam, DWill, or Kitchen. Or return to the xmas tree/433 the team used in the friendlies.

    Get him some rest.

    Find a suitable backup. I'd nominate Tchani as someone who could perform the '8' portion of what MB does.
  14. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    Box midfield or Y would work with the current personnel. With the fullbacks providing width in the attack if we go box.
    Mr Martin repped this.
  15. Rainer24

    Rainer24 Member

    Jan 6, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    VfB Stuttgart
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #115 Rainer24, Jul 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
    His touch is usually very good, but you can tell when he gets tired. He spends a lot more time running around to cover for players inexperienced in the holding role, while still expected to carry the team forward in attack. That takes to much energy, and I think any player's performance will slip when asked to do that much.
    Shabs, ChrisSSBB, Mr Martin and 2 others repped this.
  16. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    #116 IndividualEleven, Jul 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
    He's been extremely productive as a playmaker for over a year and half now. The team played a lot of 4231 and flat 442 in GC.
  17. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    Bradley should be rested and rotated more but not benched. He was asked to play as an off-forward/amid for most of the WC, a role Jones would have been better suited for.

    Bradley should have been rested by his not playing the Cuba match. JK's feeling the need to play Dempsey and Bradley 90 against Cuba evinces basic failures in his personnel selection and tactical approach.
  18. When Saturday Comes

    Apr 9, 2012
    Toronto FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Point #2 is spot on. During the broadcast they said MB played 660 minutes for the national team in July, not sure if I heard that right but if so that's just a crazy tally. He's also been at every camp and played every friendly in 2015 I think. To my mind it's a complete failure of the entire coaching staff not to have rested him. Playing him in the 3rd place match was even more insanity
    ChrisSSBB and Mr Martin repped this.
  19. deuteronomy

    deuteronomy Member+

    Angkor Siem Reap FC
    United States
    Aug 12, 2008
    Siem Reap, Cambodia
    Siem Reap Angkor FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We all enjoy a good joke about MB being a robot.

    As hard as he works and as much as he runs, 660 minutes + the travel in the July heat was entirely too much.
    Basically, he is asked to play two positions. With rest, he could do it. He should have come out at half time in the Cuba match, for example and been rested in the second half of the group Panama game.
  20. ChrisSSBB

    ChrisSSBB Member+

    Jun 22, 2005
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  21. Excellency

    Excellency Member+

    Nov 4, 2011
    Arsenal FC
    Wasn't 3 cb formation what Berti Vogts preferred......I'm not an expert but I was told that.

    3cb's actually would maximize talent in the USMNT pool because we don't really have great fullbacks.
    exref and CeltTexan repped this.
  22. AutoPenalti

    AutoPenalti Am I famous yet?

    Sep 26, 2011
    Coconut Creek
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We've tried that how many times before the World Cup started?
  23. CeltTexan

    CeltTexan Member+

    Sep 21, 2000
    Houston, TX USA
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We could make the old Christmas Tree formation of 4-3-2-1 fit our American lack of true outside fullback and yet find a way to get Bradley paired with a workhorse #6 in a Cameron.


    ------------Zardes Bedoya

    Johnson Cameron Bradley Yedlin

    -------Brooks Gonzalez Besler

  24. manfromgallifrey91

    Swansea City
    United States
    Jul 24, 2015
    Wyoming, USA
    Southampton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    To me a 3-5-2 would be asking for trouble with our current crop, just not tuned in enough on the wings to take advantage of the formation. If you try and max Bradley, you minimize Dempsey, its just the way it is. Dempsey as a lone striker is not ideal but probably the best way to go, have him float around a la Suarez to keep the defense honest. Id like to see a 4-1-4-1, sure up the defense and it plays to our strengths with good overlapping fullbacks and wings who like cutting inside, with track backing qualities. Something like this:

    Fab-------------------- Bedoya/Finlay
    I think well see Dempsey go to the bench and play as a sub as this cycle moves on, and as youngsters break through they can overtake some in the 11. Its just really tough tactically to max Dempsey and Bradley, because neither fit a specific role, they float, which means they can be really poor or really good. Well see how it plays out.
  25. Ironbound

    Ironbound Member+

    Jul 1, 2009
    Gazzetta World: Bradley still hurting over Roma departure


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