Why rehiring Bob Bradley was a bad idea

31 Aug

I first heard the news that Bob Bradley had been rehired as the coach of team USA via Twitter.  I hoped this was merely inaccurate, but alas, twas true.  Bob Bradley, the man with the mind-boggling lineup decisions in the World freakin’ Cup, is set to be the coach through the next World Cup in Brazil. Sigh. It was disappointing to see U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati stick with the familiar for this appointment.

Now I don’t think Bradley is a bad coach, but I also don’t think he’s the type of coach that can build the U.S. program into a team that can consistently compete on a high level.

He has achieved a certain level of success with the team, taking them into the second round of the World Cup and winning the group.  Even with that experience though, are expectations going to be any higher for the next go-round?  Not for me.  I’ll be impressed if the team even makes it into the second round now.

The failings of Bradley’s preparations came out in the World Cup.  In three of the four games, the U.S. gave up a goal within the first 10 minutes.  It happened in prior matches too.  If giving up early goals is an issue, why not tinker with the formation to start with a super-strong defensive front and then gradually work out of it?

Now you can’t attribute everything that happens on the field to the coach, but a coach has got to implement some form of consistency in a team.  The only thing you know you will get out of a U.S. team is that they will go hard, but they’ve always done that.  Will you actually see them string together passes? Who knows.  Will they be able to put a shot on target? Who knows.  There was not enough improvement in Bradley’s team from beginning to end.

His World Cup squad selection also left something to be desired.  Robbie Findley? Really?  The guy is fast but couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with his shot and last time I checked, strikers are supposed to score goals.  The World Cup is not the place to see if a player works out.

I realize that there’s a lot of politics involved in the job as well, but at some point, Gulati’s got to grow some balls and buck the system in making this hire.  Or just fire himself for making dumb decisions, that would work too.

So congratulations U.S. soccer on sticking with the status quo.  Way to aim high.

P.S. There’s way too many members of the soccer media saying this was a good decision.  Boundaries must be pushed for the U.S. to improve on the world stage and that just ain’t happening right now.

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One Response to “Why rehiring Bob Bradley was a bad idea”

  1. Mark September 3, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Where to begin…USA, especially under Bradley, has come on leaps and bounds in terms of their attacking soccer. I think at times we played beautiful attacking soccer, and attacked convincingly in numbers and scored some good goals as a result (in qualifying and world cup play). But, our defending was attrocious as well. Several big named players failed to live up to expectations (Oneywu and Howard) and failed to deliver in the big moments.

    Now, does that come down to Bradley? Not necessarily. Our progress in our attacking ability comes down to a lot of factors, most notibly our revamping of our youth development. Emphasis on creative attacking soccer has been the fad for the past decade or so and we’re seeing a result of that in the amount of attack-minded players we’re sending overseas now. Defensive shape and organization has taken a backseat to that development.

    So can we blame Bradley for our faults at the World Cup? Only if we can blame Obama for our economic state; sure, he can shoulder some of the burden, but not what the media says he should shoulder. Bradley can only work with the players he has; its not his job as a national team coach to improve anyone, just to improve the team…and he’s doing that I think. Within the past four years, we’ve proven we’re capable of playing with the big boys in the attack, now its just time to start getting back to basics defensively. We’ll never have a better chance at making a deep run in the WC than we just had, so its disappointing to not capitalize on that, but with more defensive midfield/defensive shape, we can push through the tournament regardless of the opponents…eventually. We’re on the right course, we just have to keep it. But, credit to Bradley for bringing some great players into the pool and broadening it further than his chosen few. He definitely has more positives than negatives as a national team coach.

    But Dunga would be my pick.

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