J Hutcherson looks at the bigger picture around the U.S. national team in the aftermath of Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to England, and the problems that Coach Bob Bradley has yet to solve. "National team soccer isn't about picking an all-star team from whoever might be available and hoping they gel," he writes, "but that's looking like the point in the Bradley era."
"Take one game or several, and there's a lack of development of role players that is significantly hampering the U.S.," he says. "Setting aside the backup issues in defense when the European players aren't easily available, the midfield lacks the true successors to Claudio Reyna and Chris Armas, while the strike partnership continues with odd pairings."
Wednesday's strike duo of Josh Wolff and Eddie Johnson took Kansas City to fifth place in the Eastern conference a couple of years back. Landon Donovan has had a string of unsuitable strike partners. Even Michael Bradley, a prolific goal scorer at club level for Heerenveen, is being played out of position as a defensive midfielder. Bradley Sr. so far hasn't developed the team, but if the U.S. builds "a better idea of a midfield, one that can play both ways without needing a designated player to link the defense, [then]...the U.S. turns a weakness." Bradley, Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley can all both attack and defend, and "all of them can play a role at international level."