Four More Years For Bob Bradley as The U.S. National Team Coach; Good or Bad Move?
Coach Bob Bradley's contract with the US National team was due to expire at the end of the 2010 year. Following the American's elimination against Ghana in the World Cup, Bradley expressed interest in managing a club in the Premiership; namely, Aston Villa or Fulham.
However, in late August, Sunil Gulati, the president of the United States Soccer Federation announced a four year extension for coach Bradley. A move that begged the question; was this a good move?
Well, let's chart his successes as well has his failures.
As the coach of the Yank's Bradley holds a record of 38-21-8. If you think about it, given the state of soccer in America, that's not bad.
With the victories, there most notable ones came against Mexico in Chicago's Soldier Field for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, and a Confederations Cup semi-final win over heavily favored Spain.
In the World Cup qualifying matches last year, as well as the group stage of the World Cup this year, the American won both.
Given that, in a tactical point of view, Bradley failed as the USNT coach and should not have been the extention.
Bradley's folly came in a condensed form and all involved the World Cup preparations and coach decisions on the pitch in the center stage.
Jozy Altidore may have been a superstar in the qualifying matches with eight goals, but given his performance in Hull City of the EPL, or lack there of, Bradley should've reconsidered his place in the National Team. Instead the coach started him in all the games.
What the coach should have done was replace the struggle Altidore with a red hot Edson Buddle. Buddle had scored nine goal for the Galaxy in a third of the MLS season. It took a long time for Bradley to finally call him up, but when he did, Buddle hard got any playing time in the WC.
A flabbergasting move considering days prior Buddle had knocked in a brace in a friendly against World Cup qualifier Australia.
The severe injuries to Charlie Davies (car accident) and Oguchi Onyewu (tendon rupture) last year were heart breaking for the Americans. But the coach stuck by his guys and selected an out of shape Gooch, and highly considered calling up Davies.
Gooch is understandable. We need a big man in the backline. But given his performance in the friendlies coming up to the WC should've been enough to warrant a benching decision.
With Davies, he almost lost his life in the auto-wreck, and had to complete countless hours of therapy to start walking. Thankfully, he made a remarkable recovery. But still, the fact that Bradley even considered calling up a man that's spent more time recovering on a hospital bed than playing is an alarm for concern.
Lastly, the Ricardo Clark situation. Clark had not been impressive the entire WC. Yet, the coach started the midfielder in the round of 16 match against Ghana. And an early Clark mistake in the midfield gave the African team the opening goal.
Immediately afterwards, Bradley replaced Clark with Maurice Edu. Edu was impressive and should 've had the start.
Now, I've been bagging on the coach a lot more that praising. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy. I've personally met him and he is one of the nicest most classiest coaches out there. But the man has got to go.
The only explanation I can fathom for resigning the coach is that Gulati may be thinking Bradley can learn from his mistakes. For his and America's sake, i hope so.
The next big test for Bradley will come next year in the 2011 Gold Cup.