Category: michael bradley

Golazo- Michael Bradley Bends It In On A Corner Kick

The USMNT has not been looking great in the past few friendlies they’ve played so this was a big win against Panama. Jurgen is trying to shake things up which has affected and continuity and chemistry of the team but it is still hard to completely explain away the losses they have suffered recently. Thankfully, this was a vintage USMNT performance and it is no coincidence that their win came at a time when Michael Bradley was able to play in the defensive midfield role where he has shown the most comfort. I’m not sure he meant to do this but I like to believe he did.

Also, check out Clint Dempsey’s goal to make it 2-0 after an exquisite through ball from Gyasi Zardes below.

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Michael Bradley Scores Game-Winning Free-Kick Goal Against Portland

The best part about this goal is all the players who initially try to claim that they touched it before it went in. They can make a case though because the goalkeeper did think the ball was going to be headed which is the only reason he let that slip by him.

World Cup on the Horizon

Came across this promo for the World Cup today and it reminded me of the atmosphere at the Gold Cup of Summer 2013.

Let’s set the scene.  It was an overcast Baltimore day, hot and humid in late July.  On the docket was a Gold Cup quarterfinal doubleheader with the US of A to play second.  There was a sea of red, white and blue adorning the streets leading to the stadium, but mostly because the other teams playing that day were Honduras (blue and white), Costa Rica (red, white, and you guessed it…blue), and El Salvador (blue and white).  The CONCACAF region clearly does not recognize other colors.

The gates of the stadium were opened and a sea of people rushed to find their seats for the 4-5 hours of soccer to come.  The American Outlaws had reserved three sections right behind the West goal.  Aside from a few other US fans scattered throughout the stadium, that was the entire cheering section for the Yanks.  It took until about halfway through the first game for all three sections to be filled with US fans, it took quite a few police officers to explain (in Spanish I assume) that if your ticket says nosebleed section you need to leave.  Most of them didn’t leave, as if they could hide amongst a bevy of Uncle Sam hats.

The first game was boring and muted.  Honduras won 1-0 over Costa Rica, and the Honduran fans celebrated like they both won the World Cup that day, and had somehow defeated the United States.  Neither was true, but kudos to their enthusiasm, albeit a little misguided.

The second game was magnificent.  The US took a 2-1 lead into halftime and it felt as though the game was being held in El Salvador.  Roughly 10-15% of the fans were cheering for the US, and 5% of those fans were Honduran good guys.  If you want to experience being a USMNT fan, I suggest you experience the Gold Cup in 2015.  The Gold Cup is the best competitive international soccer tournament that the USMNT plays on U.S. soil with the exception of World Cup qualifiers.

The second half: a unique experience.The lead held in the second half thanks to some fantastic work from a rejuvenated Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson.  It started to rain, and the USA rumbling got louder and louder.  The Central American fans, unhappy that capitalism (#MURICA) was raining on their parade, tossed every drink and bit of food/garbage down from the cheap seats.  The chants got louder.  The rain fell harder.  The goals kept coming. 5-1 America.

Eventually the disgruntled El Salvador fans ran out of 8 dollar beers to throw, and the final whistle blew.  Everyone was soaked and began to exit the stadium, but the American Outlaws kept chanting.  They sang songs, shouted chants, and eventually they did a roll call as the USMNT players thanked them for their support.  They stayed until the stadium was uncomfortably empty, and then proceeded to sing as they exited the stadium.

If you are an American soccer fan that wants soccer to succeed in America, then you should find your local AO chapter and join.  Every member helps, and it’s the first step to enjoying a truly American soccer experience at the next USMNT game.  Well worth it the next time you see the USMNT play and get to lose your voice with fellow soccer lovers.

http://www.theamericanoutlaws.com/

https://www.facebook.com/americanoutlaws

 

Michael Bradley To MLS. But Is It Good For American Soccer?

American soccer and MLS are not one in the same. MLS and US Soccer are deeply intertwined, but they are two separate entities and certain events in soccer affect one more than the other. For example, take Michael Bradley’s father, Bob Bradley. He had the opportunity to receive a lucrative contract to coach in MLS but instead he opted to coach a Norwegian team. Why did he make that decision? Because he wants to achieve his goal of being a coach at European club in one of its top leagues. If he went to MLS he would not have furthered his resume because he needs to prove he can coach at a European club and deal with the European club system. In essence, he has to prove he can succeed outside of his comfort zone (Being head coach of the Egyptian National team improved his resume but the international game and the club game are two different animals). Bob Bradley’s decision is the opposite of the decision his son has just made.

Michael Bradley has had a pretty successful European career. There have been ups and down during his club career but he has proven he is capable of being a starter at a club in one of Europe’s top leagues. As a result, his game has improved tremendously and he has grown from a role player on the USMNT to one its best players. His current struggles at AS Roma have been well documented but those struggles came on the heel of an injury that he suffered during an international qualifying match. Despite that setback he has played in several of AS Roma’s games and there were several other European clubs who have been showing interest in acquiring Michael Bradley and inserting him into their starting lineups. Michael joined AS Roma because he wanted Champions League soccer which makes it confounding that he would go to an MLS team where there is no chance of playing in the UEFA Champions League. Has Michael Bradley’s aspirations shrunk because of his lack of playing time? Or is the allure of playing in the US along with a very lucrative contract enough to convince Michael Bradley to abandon his career goals to make more money and go back to his comfort zone? Whatever the reasons for his move to MLS, it is no question that Michael Bradley is abandoning his career goals in order to languish in a lower quality league. At least Clint Dempsey was getting towards the wrong side of thirty, Michael Bradley hasn’t even hit the peak of his career yet (Which usually hits at around twenty-seven for most athletes). This move effectively stalls Michael Bradley’s growth during a critical World Cup year and will most likely negatively affect the team as a whole in the 2018 World Cup as well.

This move is a huge boon to MLS though. The league has long been criticized for not being able to retain top American talent and instead, being a feeder system for clubs overseas searching for young slightly developed American soccer players. However, the retention of Landon Donovan and the addition of Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey is a big statement from MLS that they are capable of fielding the best American talent in an American soccer league. It effectively nullifies previous accusations thrown at MLS since they now have three of the best players on the USMNT. MLS will get a huge boost in ratings and profitability from having these three players and it also shows that the league is quickly moving in the direction towards achieving its goal of being a competitor in the crowded international soccer environment, and the equally as crowded American sports environment. That being said MLS is not at the competitive level it needs to be to create talent capable of competing effectively against top international talent. Hopefully one day it will be, but until then the players on the USMNT need to ply their trade in Europe in order to grow as soccer players. Therefore, although Michael Bradley’s addition to MLS will help the league, it will stall his individual progress at a critical time and in turn prevent the USMNT from reaching the level of quality it would have been able to achieve had Michael Bradley stayed in top flight European soccer.

It’s Over

photoAlas! It has happened. The honeymoon stage of this year’s Serie A campaign is officially over. I have been in denial for 2 weeks, but the disappointment of yesterday’s match versus Cagliari has left Roma one point behind Juventus in second place in the standings for the Serie A. The giallorossi did everything right, except score…arguably the most important thing to do in football.

Roma’s historical unbeaten run came to an end 3 match days ago against Torino. During the match days since, Roma began to resemble the Roma of old: an inconsistent team that once knocked down, won’t get back up (Chumbawumba, story of my life).

Yes, during their record setting run, Roma netted a lethal 24 goals while only conceding 1. Yes they convincingly mowed down the likes of Intermilan and Napoli in the process. Yes, they fought tooth and nail through injuries and suspensions from the likes of Michael Bradley (ankle), Federico Balzaretti (suspension), Mattia Destro (knee issues stemming from last season), Douglas Maicon (hamstring, suspension), Gervinho (left quadracepts) and most notably il capitano, Francesco Totti (hamstring), to name a few. Since the loss of their creative captain to injury during the Napoli game, Roma has maintained a record of 3-3-0, netting 4 goals in 6 matches while conceding 2 goals.

One might say, ‘why are you complaining? Your team has not lost, is 2nd in the standings and still playing phenomenal football and have already set records this season, where’s the ish?’ The truth is, I am not complaining, I’m just coming off of a high that has not been felt since Luciano Spalleti’s reign as manager and having withdrawals from that explosive offense and stingy defense we saw at the beginning of the season.

So yeah, the lovey dovey malarkey during this 2013-2014 campaign is officially over. What you can take away though, is that this team is still fighting through the drama, despite the setbacks like inner ownership feuding over the cough*cough*sketchy potential sale of the American ownership, by Unicredit, to the richest man in China (an issue that is still being investigated) on top of those injuries and suspensions previously listed. They have shown qualities like ambition, resilience, leadership, youth, experience, …the list goes on and the season is not even half over. No, this relationship is not over. In fact it is alive and well. With class players like Gervinho and Mattia Destro already back from injury, the goal well will be sure to fill up again, especially with the energetic Alessandro Florenzi, sly Miralem Pjanić and fierce Daniele De Rossi patrolling the pitch. New young guns like Adem Ljajić, Kevin Strootman, and Mehdi Benatia all look nothing short of promising as well. The season is far from over, and as a die-hard Roma supporter, it’s my duty to remain humbled that anything can happen, but I’m confident that La Roma will work out its issues  even retain its run of form from earlier this season and regain the top position from Juventus, because “Nessuno ha piú fame di noi.”

Howler Article On Michael Bradley’s Greatness

If you haven’t heard of The Howler magazine (http://howlermagazine.com/) then you should check it out because it is a fantastic football magazine that started in 2013 and is run by writers who really care about soccer and putting out a great product.  In their most recent edition they ran a fantastic article about Michael Bradley and how he is the USMNT‘s most important and talented player. To the untrained eye many would believe it is Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, or Clint Dempsey but in actuality it is Michael Bradley. All those aforementioned players are incredibly talented, however, Michael Bradley is the engine that runs the team and through his talents he both anchors the defense and drives the offense. He is the definition of a box-to-box midfielder. However, I cannot do his talents justice as well as this article so read it if you are a football/US Soccer fan.

http://deadspin.com/americas-most-important-soccer-player-conquers-the-old-1113369327

USA Passes Massive HEX Test

This year’s Hexagonal is closer than in year’s past. There is no shot that after three games any of you reading this would have placed Panaman atop the group and Mexico currently out of Brazil 2014.I bet you didn’t have Jamaica at the bottom either. This year’s Hex will have no shortage of drama down the stretch. But that is down the road. I’m here to discuss the masterclass that wasn’t and the pesky Americans that went into the Mexican version of a gladiator arena and came out alive and unscathed.

A point is a point is a point. Expectations going into Estadio Azteca are always hindered by a multitude of factors including projectiles thrown from the crowd, high altitude and a Mexican team that is virtually untouchable at home. But the USA caught them at the right time. Mexico has zero wins and zero losses coming into this game. After a less than impressive performance saw them draw a not overly impressive Honduran that fought back from a 2-0 deficit to take a point at home. The USA found themselves riding high after a spring blizzard found the Colorado air and propelled them to a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica. It was not a pretty victory but it didn’t have to be. Anything to get the USMNT a vital three points.

So move on to match day and three hundred questions remain lingering in the air. Who will the back four be? Who steps in for injured Jermaine Jones? Will the incrdible run of injuries in the USMNT be too much of a challenge? Can Guzan be the man of the hour? When will Jozy Altidore get off the mark for his country? And lastly, will Landon Donovan suddenly parachute into Azteca for the start of the match and score the game winner? (WE ALL HOPED THAT HAPPENED)

And there it is, the whistle blows and off goes the madness. 100,000 screaming fans counting the passes of a Mexican side that enjoyed incredible spells of possession especially in the first half and a USA that looked better. I use such an awful, undescriptive word because that is excellent what they were. The USMNT were organized, they were relatively disciplined and they didn’t try to fight fire with fire. They weathered storm after storm after storm and took solace in whatever possession they were given. I think it was obvious that Mexico was looking to expose Beasley early and often. They might have had success had Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler been out to lunch but they were locked in and smart in their movement. The coverage they provided as a unit was impressive and integral to the USMNT backline suring up any mistakes from the midfield.

Alas, Mexico was clever in the attack and decisive with their movement, something that is difficult to cope with for an inexperienced backline and especially impossible for an inexperienced backline trying to defend the likes of Chicharito and Giovanni Dos Santos. But as of late, Mexico has had trouble finding the all important match winner as in apparent in their recent record. This was largely due to timely interceptions and blocks from my Man of the Match Michael Bradley.

Michael Bradley must have felt that his father was about to win a WCQ with an Egypt national side that has dealt with more adversity than half of the rest of the world’s international teams combined. Bradley’s time at Roma has helped him mature as a player and that is exactly what the USMNT needs. He is mature beyond his years and showed it last night with simple passing that helped keep the US team in possession. He made timely tackles and was the most consistent player on the pitch. His role as a back four buffer and combining midfielder were played to a T. He was a major reason the USMNT found a draw last night.

Lastly, Brad Guzan is on fire. He always seemed to be in excellent position. His feet were quick and his hands even quicker. When called upon he was absolutely stellar.

Even though this was a makeshift squad for the United States, some performances will not help make Mr. Klinsmann’s job any easier. These performances helped the USMNT to a week that they needed, a week that saved Klinsmann’s job and kep the USMNT at the forefront of qualifying for the next world cup.