My American Soccer Show co-host Dave Denholm, CSRN’s Peter Brown and myself have been scathing on air in our denunciation of Bob Bradley’s tactics: the bucket formation and the overall defensive posture. However with Bradley’s wooing of Jose Francisco Torres and latest squad selection I believe Coach Bradley “gets it.” He realizes despite the results our play in recent qualifiers has been subpar and will not translate to results in the Hexagonal. I believe Bradley has come to the conclusion that he needs to set the team up the way Bruce Arena did. Focus first on defense but attempt to score some goals on quick counter attacks going the other way and not simply rely on dead ball/set piece situations.
Here is how the United State could set up in the Hexagonal:
Obviously Beasley could play on in his natural position on the left side, but Torres has almost become a counter attacking specialist at Pachuca, and his decision to play for the US may be predicated on Bradley adopting this style and formation. Also Clint Dempsey played well enough this weekend for Fulham to make me believe he still has something left. I wouldn’t start him but I wouldn’t drop him from the squad either. Let’s hope Michael Bradley can take advantage of the coaching change at his club and find the pitch and not end up in Benny Feilhaber purgatory after moving to a bigger league. If Bradley does not crack the starting XI soon at a club that is likely to be relegated I’d strongly consider Mo Edu, or down the road Bakary Soumare in the holding midfield position.
Also I’d continue to call in Frankie Hedjuk, Eddie Lewis and Pablo Mastroeni for leadership purposes even if they are not going to play. This US team still sorely misses the leadership of Eddie Pope, Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride.