What Grade Does Bob Bradley Deserve?

  What Grade Does Bob Bradley Deserve?

With the first match over with, what grade does Bob Bradley get. It was a much hyped and anticipated event that he navigated successfully through. My grade for Bob Bradley would be an B+. The only thing from him getting an A was that he got a draw verses the win. I based it on two criteria; starting 11 and in-game tactic. The starting 11 that Bradley pick I had no problem with. The only question that I had as well as many fans had was the inclusion of Ricardo Clark instead of Maurice Edu or Jose Torres. One can’t blame Bradley for picking Clark because he is a known entity for Bob, he was a starter all through qualification and the Confederations Cup. Bradley knows what he is getting with Clark, he knows Clark’s weaknesses, and the team knows his weaknesses. Torres may be the popular pick but we have only seen him shine in one half of football against Turkey in a friendly, and while Edu is probably a better player than Clark, because of injuries he hasn’t been able to log as much game time with the junior Bradley as Clark. Bradley went with the safe pick rather than having Torres and Edu get their baptism by fire.

At first I really questioned Bradley’s in-game tactics wanting him to bring in  Buddle  sooner and really push forward and go for the win, but having a day to try to think about it as a manager you get what Bob was trying to do. Bradley knows that this team is a chronic slow starter and they proved it again last night, but they fought back. Now do you take the draw, leave the field feeling confident, keeping yourself in the drivers seat, controlling your own destiny, or do you risk it, push forward, allow England to counter-attack, and give them more chances to spray shots at your already banged up goalie. Then they leave the field dejected, they leave the field as the same old US, no evidence of progress from 2006.  A win would have been one for the ages, but the draw keeps this team in the calm, confident, and controlled attitude that it had entering the England match, and this is exactly what they need knowing that Slovenia won and that most likely England will win its two final games. Now the US team can go into win their final two games, knowing they can win, and don’t be surprised if they try to punch in as many goals against Slovenia and Algeria hoping to top England in goal differential for the group lead.

The next two games will call for a different approach from Bob Bradley, lets see how he does, and hopefully him and the US team will both get better and grow into this tournament. Please share your grade for coach Bradley.

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0 Responses to What Grade Does Bob Bradley Deserve?

  1. njndirish says:

    While, I am usually quick to criticize Bob, it just felt like he outthought the man next to him. England needed to adjust to what USA was throwing at them, but whatever Fabio thought would work wouldn’t. Bob figured out a way to contain one of the best players in the world and get some good chances in as well. I’m still confused on the decision of telling Green a mere hours before the match that he was starting. Fabio will of course have more games to prove himself, but after watching his odd behavior of late, it makes me wonder if he is a fraud or just unlucky.

  2. short passes says:

    To base the decision not to play Torres on his lack of performance is disingenuous at best and a pure distortion at worst. First of all Torres played brilliantly against T&T but was subbed by BB at half time to the utter amazement of every blogger that I have followed (Ron –you seemed to have missed ?? this). Since then his playing time prior to the Turkey game has been almost non-existent.
    Let’s lay it out honestly: (1) Torres doesn’t fit BB’s or US Soccer’s model of a US soccer payer; he’s small in stature and he OMG !! he plays in the Mexican league. So, the best way to handle him is not to play him and then state at the last minute that he doesn’t have the experience (2) BB and Gulati are petrified of not making it out of the KO round. It’s as if this “Holy Grail” will suddenly transform the image of soccer in the US. In all honesty I would agree that the best way to ensure proceeding out of the KO round is to play highly defensive, physical soccer because that is our strength—-unfortunately. However, this is the same ugly approach that has generally been our solution for 20 years. Now however, we finally have a nucleus of world class players, Dempsey, Donovan, Howard and Gooch (almost), but instead of trying to show the world that we can PLAY with them, we hunker down and rely on physical, ugly defense to win or tie games. TO ME this just re-enforces the world’s perception that we are still a wan-a-be soccer nation. For me, and I’m sure that I’m in the minority, winning ugly is not a success. Showing the world that we have the skills to compete even though we end up losing is by far the better approach. Besides the immediate message that this physical approach sends to the world, it also tells our US skilled players that they really don’t have a place on our team or in our future. That’s a depressing message to send to our youth, particularly those who have options to play with other countries.
    I will celebrate our wins but mourn our lost chances to really shine.

    • Ron Preston says:

      I agree with you short passes on that the exculsion of Torres makes no sense, but I think Bradley and Gulati thought that they needed some type of result and that an ugly lucky tie would be better than an inspired performance that ends up in a loss. Now going into the next two matches where we must win, if Bradley needs to make some more offense minded adjustments and his sub need to come earlier.

  3. Robert says:

    Saturdays’ match was pure luck that we got a point. Bradley finished the game with 1 sub left, midfield was laughable, Clark was uninspiring by passing back to defenders every chance he got. Clark wasn’t creating chances for the forwards or the wingers. If we think we can pull this off against top mid-field teams we are going to have a rude awakening on the plane back home.

  4. Jack in TX says:

    I give Bob Bradley a B-. I am tired of the US playing not to lose. Buddle should have started instead of Findley since Buddle is a legitimate threat to score a goal. Gomez didn’t even get on the pitch because the match ended as he was trying to sub in.

    I can understand his tactics, but he used his resources and bench poorly. If not for Tim Howard, the US would have dropped all the points. I hope he recognizes that he needs to have goalscorers in the match to win the next ones. Of course, if the US advances, then I’ll look the fool. :o )

  5. Jammer says:

    A-. Take this game and last summer, the US first team is regularly playing above their talent level against non-concacaf opponents. I have to give credit to Bradley for the team’s preparation and organization.

    For choosing players, I can’t find fault. I agree with your points about Clark, although I don’t think he should start the next game. I think Findley’s speed was important, I didn’t want to see Altidore/Buddle.

    My one gripe, is the one I always have about Bradley. I think he is too slow to use his substitutions. Findley was looking tired and ragged well before he came off. Bring on some new energy a bit sooner, and it could have prevented some of England’s chances, or possibly led to a winning goal.

  6. short passes says:

    Grade B- , only because he got the point, as lucky as it was.
    Jack in Tx — you won’t look the fool !!! You’ll be just like many of us who think the US has greater potential than will ever be met with a coaching mentality like BB’s
    Jammer — with all due respect I feel that the US could accomplish more in the way of playing creative soccer,even with their current roster, win or lose. While I understand that your position is the majority one–do whatever it takes to get out of the KO round—I like the Dutch attitude better. They continue to be one of the best teams in the world yet they have never won the WC because as Ruud Gullit said today, they never wish to give up their free flowing creative style. Hail the Oranje !!!!!

  7. AngelUSAfan says:

    Wow everyone here are saying the right stuff from “short passes all the way thru Jack in tex. I give Bob Bradly a B- also. We need to be more creative, learn to hold the midfield, play forward and control the ball. Mexico has that style too, but when they play team that they supposed to beat it never happen, but when they are the underdog they play great. We have player that have that style of creativity, control of the ball and great passes from Donovan, Beasley, Dempsey, Torres, Holden, Feilhaber and we have guys that play stuff and can be the enforcer like Ouguchie, DeMerit, Adu, M. Bradley all the way to Clark. USA has a good Generation of players that have to be free in the field to show what they can do and show the world that we are not a wanna b soccer (Football) Nation. I think Bradley should start the same lineup that play against Turkey and The R. Chezlovakia. with Torres and M. Bradley and Donovan Right and Dempsey left. on top Either Buddle or Altidore pair with Findley.

  8. Mark says:

    good article and insightful comments

    Overall I give Bob a B+ (without winning I’m not giving out A’s)
    Tactics: A-
    Lineup: A
    Substitutions: B
    Attire: D

    Tactics: The US’s objective in this game was to not lose the first game of the WC against the seeded team in their group. In doing so they’ve put themselves in a position to not only advance, but to win the group (likely avoiding a stronger knockout section by avoiding Germany and Argentina if all goes to form). To achieve that they needed to contain Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard. The tactics were to clog the MF denying space for the three danger men and force England to attack from wide. Cherundolo shut down Milner and SWP while Boca mostly contained Lennon (Lennon beat Dolo twice in 90′; the other attacks on that side came from Glen Johnson). Rooney and Lampard were made to look ordinary and Gerrard only slightly less so. The biggest threat came from Glen Johnson. When an opposing fullback is your biggest threat, you’ve probably contained a very dangerous team. The attacking tactic were to play the ball quickly to the forwards to exploit the space behind Lampard and Gerrard, who both tend to push too far forward, and in front of the slow England center halves. The secondary tactic was to attack with Cherundolo and Donovan in tandem on the right, hoping to get in behind an overlapping Ashley Cole. That worked well until Milner got the hook and the speedier SWP occupied Cherundolo more. The same strategy doesn’t work on our left b/c Boca isn’t as fast as Dolo. The primary objective of not losing made offense secondary to defense once parity was restored with Demspey’s goal.

    Line-up: No quibbles with the line-up. The back line was what was expected from the warm-ups and played great. Clark over Edu or Torres is a talking point, but Clark has played more in this team recently (back to the Confed) and thus has more familiarity. Watching it live I missed a lot Clark breaking up plays and playing simple possession passes, however it stood out more on second viewing. Findley’s shock inclusion may be an inspired selection in a game like this due to his pressing defense from the front and his pace making him a viable option for an out ball.

    Substitutions: During the game I was calling out for a sub, but given the 1-1 score was acceptable and England weren’t dominating us there were no obvious subs that needed to be made. If anything I would have brought on Edu instead of Holden to firm up the MF or Beasley to stick on Glen Johnson, but its a minor point.

    Attire: Its the WC for crying out loud, ditch the jumper and get a suit. Even Maradona had a suit. He looked like a drug lord, but at least he looked like a stylish drug lord.

    Rebuttal of expected criticism wrt tactics: If Bradley employs the same tactics on Friday I’ll give him a much lower grade. Objectively the US needs to win that game. A draw isn’t the end of the world, but a win would make it a decent possibility to win the group. Against Slovenia there will be the opportunity to play more possession football. Hopefully that means Torres comes in for Clark and either Buddle or Gomez for Findley, both of whom use the ball better. I wish the US had the personnel to win against top quality opposition by playing possession football, but at this point we don’t. I don’t blame Bradley for doing what it takes to get the most out of what we have. If you want a scapegoat for the US talent level I can suggest two names: Sunil Gulati and Thomas Rongen.

  9. Mark says:

    addendum: As a fan I wanted bradley to bring on Gomez at 75′ because he’s a goal poacher. Not only would winning have been a great result in the competition and for the US as a soccer nation, but it would have shut up the more ignorant sections of the English fan base. Most of the English fans have been pretty OK, but the jingoist, arrogant ones are really getting on my nerves.

    On second thought beating England probably wouldn’t have shut them up….. oh well

  10. Jack in TX says:

    I have to add one point that I neglected to include in my prior comment. Bradley’s tactics fully neutralized Wayne Rooney. That is something that cannot and should not be overlooked. I needed to give credit where it is due.

  11. short passes says:

    Mark, very complete analysis and I won’t disagree with any of it . Our differences of opinion are at a more basic level. (1) I want to advance only if we do it in style. You and the majority of fans consider advancing the highest priority (not the only maybe, but definitely the highest). (2) I feel that we have the talent and skill to compete with the Englands of this world if we use that talent. Most are like you who think we have to be determinedly defensive in order to hang with them. I don’t deny that the odds favor them but that doesn’t bother me like it does many others.
    Ruud Gulitt summed up my attitude when he talked about the Netherlands never winning a WC. He said the reason was that the Dutch insist on playing creative, flowing football and that doesn’t always work. All hail the Oranje !!!
    BTW Mark I bet you have your C license !!!!!!

    • Mark says:

      short passes – I’m going to take that as a very flattering compliment. If the US doesn’t win it (which we won’t) from a stylistic standpoint I hope Spain, the Netherlands, or maybe the new Ballack-less Germany win so other countries will copy their possession style of football. Argentina might yet turn on the style, but I don’t think Veron has the legs to keep them playing attractive football. The worst result would be if England somehow managed to win with their rush rush rush style. However I expect Brazil to win it, coupled with Inter winning the CL we’re going to see even more teams try to ape their style and get it wrong. Inter and Brazil both play transition football very well and its not defensive or ugly, but its hard to do well. Similarly, the original cateneccio of Hererra’s Inter wasn’t negative football but the imitators made it so. Jonathan Wilson did a good analysis of that in “Inverting the Pyramid”.

      I’m hoping the new generation of players in this country learn the first lesson of football. The ball is your friend, treat it well

  12. doug says:

    The jury is still out for me on Bradley. From the England match, tho’, I think it is clear he should have used all three subs, and used the ones he did use earlier in the match. Buddle should have started, but, failing that, he at least should have entered 10-15 minutes earlier, when the US were gassed. And it did look like we ran out of steam somewhere in the middle of the 2nd half, which is understandable, b/c the game had pace up until then. He should have pulled clark for Torres at 60, Findley for Buddle at 65, and Altidore for Gomez at about 75-80 (which was when he made his first substitution..)…

    but I do not buy that Bradley doesn’t like hispanics… that’s simply not true. Reminds me of the “Obama hates Jews” line, which is based on no evidence of any kind whatsoever, and contradicted by all the Jews in the Obama administration. Just b/c a coach doesn’t play someone isn’t indicative of anything. And he started Bocanegra, whose parents are Mexican! So are Bornstein’s parents. (And clearly no one argues Bornstein hasn’t gotten enough playing time…) And, although I’d like to see Torres play more, I definitely wouldn’t start Gomez. I think Buddle should play more, but again, there’s an obvious problem w/ leaping to the conclusion that Bob Bradley doesn’t like black people…

    Lastly, in the runups to the tournament, we should have played quality, big-name teams to get US soccer more notoriety. Not just good teams. We could have stuck in China and Russia, Italy, Germany, Japan, France, North Korea… All those cool geopolitical matchups… And we could have done it in prime time in the US.

    • short passes says:

      Assuming that your comment about Bradley “doesn’t like hispanics” was directed at my post, I would ask that you not distort my statement into implying a sort of bigotry. My reference was to the style of play and if you would take the time to correctly read the post you would have understood that. Please don’t attempt to interject some type of political ethnic hysteria into a sporting blog. And for the record I was among the very first supporters of Obama. Please steer your Glenn Beck nazi commentary to another blog!!!

  13. doug says:

    Also, from the replay, there were four people in the general vicinity of Gerrard when he scored, but I thought Bocanegra was really the deepest defender who got beat, and who wasn’t close to any English defenders at that point. Perhaps Clark was supposed to be marking Gerrard, but Bocanegra was marking nobody at that point…

  14. doug says:

    Short passes, you wrote “Let’s lay it out honestly: (1) Torres doesn’t fit BB’s or US Soccer’s model of a US soccer payer; he’s small in stature and he OMG !! he plays in the Mexican league.”

    Just so we’re clear, we have no evidence at all that Torres playing in the OMG!! the Mexican league has anything at all to do with why he didn’t start against England. Nor have we any evidence that he doesn’t fit BB’s “model”, other than by looking at his playing time, which I agree should be more than it is.

  15. Anthony Platt says:

    Is there a zero? He blows.

  16. chorchi says:

    Bob bradley should stop caring what players do for clubs, and start thinking of what certain players can do for the team, clearly bradley and edu don’t cut it in the midfield, at this point go back and watch the games torres is a fantastic player, great first touch, knows how to open up play, always looks to attack, freddy adu although he does not play much in europe remember what he did vs argentina and spain in the 2008 friendlies, he runs at defenders has the technical ability to take out 1 or 2 defenders and open up space, great first touch and has a way higher scoring chance on freekicks than any other usa player, I would love to c, gk howard..df chandler,abogossamonde, onyewu, cherundolo. Mf landon donovan, adu, torres, holden(when fit). fw dempsey davies (when fit). This team will attack and look to create hold possesion, and usa is known to score on few chances, now imagone on a lot of chances ;-)

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