Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Bob Bradley: 'World Cup qualifying is always challenging'
by Mike Woitalla, November 26th, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Mike Woitalla reporting from South Africa
CoachBob Bradley's challenge of guiding the USA to the 2010 World Cup finals came into focus on Sunday at the World Cup Preliminary Draw in Durban, South Africa.

The USA enters CONCACAF qualifying at the second playoff stage and will face the winner of Dominica vs. Barbados in a home-and-away series in June 2008.

"Dominica is a longer shot, certainly Barbados is favored in their head-to-head," says Bradley.

In 2000, the USA beat Barbados 7-0 at home before facing the Caribbeans in a must-win match in Waterford in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. Bradley, then coach of MLS's Chicago Fire, attended the USA's 4-0 victory in which it didn't score until the second half.

"A think the major lesson from that is just that World Cup qualifying is always challenging," said Bradley. "When you play away, the games can be difficult no matter who your opponent is. [Goalkeeper] Tony Meola made a big save in the first half of that game. We got our goals late.

"We know that Barbados is always an athletic team. They have a striker, Paul Ifill, who plays at Crystal Palace [English second tier]."

If the USA advances, its likely opponents in the semifinal round of qualifying are Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba.

"Guatemala we played twice this year [a scoreless tie and a 1-0 U.S. win]," Bradley said. "Certainly they are a familiar opponent. All of us have gotten to know Carlos Ruiz pretty well from his MLS years.

"Trinidad & Tobago, we know their players. We didn't see their best at the Gold Cup [a 2-0 U.S. win last summer] because they had some difficulties in securing their best players. That was not indicative, but we're aware of the talent they possess.

"We didn't play Cuba, but Cuba had some good moments at the Gold Cup, and I think showed that they continue to improve. That gives us a little bit of an idea of where those teams are at this point.

"Certainly they're all opponents that have our respect."

In World Cup qualifying, the USA has a 4-0-4 win-loss-tie record against Guatemala and is 8-0-2 against Trinidad & Tobago. In their only World Cup qualifying clashes, Cuba and the USA tied 1-1 and the USA won 5-2 in 1949.

Bradley was named head coach of the USA in December 2006 and compiled a 12-5-1 record during his first year at the helm.

"The highlight was obviously the Gold Cup title win," Bradley said. "And after a year, there's more of a comfort level, on things like dealing with our players' European clubs.

"Our camps have been pretty positive throughout the year. We try to challenge the key players who have been around, who have been in World Cups, to take bigger roles. And to test young players who we think are capable, and get them experience and try to lay a foundation for the future."

The U.S. team will convene in early January for its first training camp of 2008.

"That will be MLS-based, but will include some Scandinavian players, because they're off," Bradley said. "That camp leads to a game, which is Jan. 19 against Sweden.

"Sweden and the U.S. typically play that game with players from their leagues, because it's not a FIFA date. Then we let players go for a few days, and when we play Mexico on Feb. 6, it's a FIFA date, but obviously the players from Europe travel after their weekend games.

"So that game probably leans more toward MLS players because of the challenge of bringing players in from Europe for a single fixture."

Bradley spent the week between the USA's 1-0 win over South Africa in Johannesburg on Nov. 17 and draw in Durban touring the country and scouting World Cup facilities.

"There are a wide range of options as far as where to base the team," Bradley said. "It will be winter here during the World Cup, and in South Africa the weather varies at the different venues. The venues are also at different altitudes, so that can pose a challenge. Maybe it's better to be based at high altitude. We'll go back check with the 'sports scientists.'"

The USA takes part in the South Africa-hosted 2009 Confederations Cup. And if all goes well after an 18-game qualifying campaign, they'll be back in 2010.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Copa Centenario: Jamaica has heavy U.S. influence    
Other than the USA with 19 players, all in MLS, no team has more players based ...
What They're Saying: Afghani Mohammad Arif Ahmadi    
"I sold all my belongings and brought my family out of Afghanistan to save my son's ...
Crowd Count: NASL openers down 37 percent    
Only two of the nine returning NASL teams -- its two Canadian teams, Ottawa and FC ...
MLS Rookie Watch: Three make immediate impact    
Jordan Morris is just one of three rookies who have been starting regularly since the start ...
Jordan Morris heeds advice from new Sounders sage    
It took six games before rookie Jordan Morris scored his first MLS goal, but he hasn't ...
What They're Saying: Bangkok monk assistant Korpsin Uiamsa-ard    
"They wear Leicester's white away-game jerseys and chant its name while watching the game." -- Korpsin ...
TV Report: Leicester City game sets ratings record    
Sunday's Manchester United-Leicester City game drew the highest overnight rating ever for an English Premier League ...
Video Pick: Trump features in Argentine Copa ad    
Argentine TV station TyC Sports has used Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's "border wall" speech in ...
Video Pick: Leo Messi takes on giant robot keeper    
You've seen how routinely Lionel Messi beats human goalkeepers. Now, thanks to a Japanese game show, ...
USL Rewind: MLS expansion candidates drawing well    
Sacramento, San Antonio and Cincinnati have all been mentioned in recent weeks as MLS expansion candidates, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives