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Why Michael Bradley is indispensable
by Ridge Mahoney, June 16th, 2010 1:28AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, world cup

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[UNDER THE MICROSCOPE] Midfielder Michael Bradley is generally regarded as a strictly defensive midfielder, but he's not one-dimensional. He will still hear snide comments about "Daddy’s Boy" at U.S. games whenever he pulls on the national team shirt, but the grousing about Michael Bradley always being picked by Bob Bradley isn't so strident as it used to be.

Along with Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard, Bradley is always in the lineup if available. That despite his youth (22) he’s the best two-way American midfielder doesn’t get a lot of mention, so enamored are many fans and journalists of Jose Francisco Torres, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, et al, who are all good players in their own right but without Bradley’s range of abilities, and length of tenure (4 ½ years) in European club play for Heerenveen (Netherlands) and Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany).

“It’s how you get hardened,” said Bob Bradley of the tougher challenges his son has faced since moving to Germany. “You see things that are good and you see things that aren’t so good. You see how well the people who run your club deal with a bad stretch. Do they stick with that they’re trying to do, or are they changing the lineup every week? There are all sorts of factors that are thrown into it. Those are the experiences of playing at a higher level.”

In Europe, Michael Bradley has played for several different coaches, each with a last name different from his, yet suspicions of paternalism persist. Recently, more invective has been directed at Ricardo Clark, who has been the preferred central partner much of the time, and lined up with Bradley last Saturday in the 1-1 tie with England.

That Clark may not start against Slovenia Friday is a topic much-discussed; Bradley’s spot is inviolate, supposedly because he clearly reflects his father’s cautious, obdurate approach. It’s a popular belief, but misconceived.

Examining Bradley’s involvement in U.S. goals during the past year and a half proves he’s not strictly a robotic destroyer. He may be prone to cautions, but such is not unusual for central midfielders – especially young ones -- tasked with stopping the other team as well as igniting his own.

Players who cover a lot of ground encounter the most confrontations, which usually is where fouls and cards occur. Yet in 29 games (28 starts) for Moenchengladbach last season, he scored two goals and picked up only five cautions.

He may get some grudging respect from fans and observers for his prowess at winning tackles and breaking up plays, but his reputation offensively is that of a garbage-goal collector. That he netted 21 goals in 2007-08 with Heerenveen suggests a lot of sanitation work paid off in Dutch league matches that season, but regardless of how many assists he rings up with the national team, he’s shown a knack for putting the ball in the right spots.

Two goals against Mexico in the Hexagonal opener (Feb. 11, 2009) and single tallies against Egypt and Costa Rica is a pretty good strike rate for a “holding mid.” He has scored seven times for the USA.

How did the U.S. break open a goalless game against Spain a year ago at the Confederations Cup? With a Jozy Altidore goal, after Charlie Davies and Carlos Bocanegra worked a one-two to get the ball up the left flank, following an outlet chip by Bradley that dropped right to Davies’ feet near the touchline.

The chip came from the edge of the U.S. defensive third, so there was no imminent threat. The hard yards were gained by Davies and Altidore; Bradley simply set the play in motion, which is can be just as effective as pushing the ball upfield himself.

He can do that, too, as shown when he and Donovan stormed through the center of the Egyptian team trading passes that produced a first-time Bradley shot, and the second goal of a 3-0 win that, improbably, earned a spot in the semi with Spain.

Bradley also played a role in the second goal against Spain, which was tucked away by Dempsey from a deflected square ball served by Donovan from the right flank. Feilhaber cleverly dribbled past several defenders before playing the ball to Donovan; the pass to Feilhaber came from Bradley, who had scraped it away from Xavi about 35 yards from the Spanish goal.

Feilhaber’s trickery set up the goal, yet without Bradley’s firm tackle and quick square pass to Feilhaber, none of it happens in the first place. Perhaps the sexiest U.S. central midfield pairing would be Feilhaber and Bradley, and that might be feasible if Bradley had Clark’s range. But he doesn’t. Torres will see time at this World Cup, yet it may not be as a starter against Slovenia.

Dempsey’s skittering strike that English keeper Robert Green ushered over the goal line last Saturday is forever frozen into the memories of millions, but precious few remember how the sequence began. That would be Bradley, who struck a Green goal kick first-time in the direction of Donovan, whose head nodded it to Dempsey, and you know the rest.

Blamed on bad luck, the goal was anything but: putting an opponent in a position to screw up is always a good idea, and players like Dempsey, Donovan – and Bradley – know how to do it.

The two goals scored by the U.S. against Brazil in the Confederations Cup were sparked by Clark, who took on a bit more of the attacking burden in the absence of suspended Bradley. A studs-up tackle in the 87th minute earned Bradley a red card from Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda, and a penchant for cautions both for his club and the national team is a justifiable cause for concern.

Yet he’ll earn his 45th cap if he plays against Slovenia, and that experience may prove invaluable in a game against a cagey opponent.



0 comments
  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 5:26 a.m.
    Good article. Agreed here. Bradley work is often unnoticed, which is fine, but unfortunately he gets some hate from US fans just because he is the coaches son. While he's not perfect and makes some mistakes (who doesn't) people overlook the fact that he is the best holding mid that we have.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 7:37 a.m.
    Here we go again Ridge "the glorifications of Bradley" I guess you have to justify yourself because no one else believes you, or at least a very few. While Bradley at 22 is an OK player, but he is not an outstanding midfield player and he will never be. At 19 he started witha lot of promise but by now at 22 as a footballer he shoud be complete and matured on the World Football stage. His game is descending the older he gets. Just as Adu, although I think Adu should/will rebounce. Bradley wasn't recognized in any one of the European clubs as a mainstay let alone as one the key players as he has been let go from each of those less than mediocre teams and gypsying around from clubs to clubs. No solid player goes through as many clubs as he has been in such s hort tenure. The trouble with him in the National Team line up, that he doesn't fit in the Donovan (sometimes Dempsey) formation his playing his own game as it hs been much more evident and obvious in last few games. Due to his place being "rented" in the team Donovan is forced to play out of his position along with some others. Just let me get this right are we building the team around Bradley and trying to fit everybody else in? So that is why Ricardo Clark must play (even though he has been subpar)to back up and "baby sit" Bradley? I could go on and write scores of other issues but I let that finish by the rest the gang (who may have read your whole article)that you are going to get bombarded by. I must admit I didn't read the whole article as I have "short attantion span syndrome" for inane and futile jibberish. I think some of you people at SA are just writers and not very astute to football/futbol/soccer, with the very exception of Paul Gardner.

  1. Bruce Gowan
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 7:53 a.m.
    I read the article because as I suspected it was a puff piece about a good but not great US player. Bob Bradley will will be "let go" not "retained" after this world cup so the US can hire a real world cup quality coach. The new coach will not use Junior because he is not good enough. Junior tries to use force and hard work to overcome his lack of skill and tactical awareness. His inappropriate forward runs and unpredictable movement on the field make it difficult for the other central midfielder to coordinate. With Junior on the field the other central mid is always covering for him rather than playing the real game. Good bye Bob and Junior. Thanks for your service. Now let's move on.

  1. Tim Elam
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 7:59 a.m.
    Bradley is a serviceable player, but he is playing a position more vital than his skills. He passing is a weakness, and field vision non-existant. Pay attention to EVERY other team in the World Cup, the best guys on the ball, the best passers are in the middle. We play our two weakest in the middle. This is why we struggle to play ball control. After a couple of passes, Ricardo Clark or Bradley make a mistake. Bradley should be playing the Pablo Mastroeni role.

  1. Christopher Osmond
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 8:46 a.m.
    Great! He breaks up tackles, but what we need is a playmaker. Both him and Ricardo Clark are the same type: their destroyers, not creaters. Bradley (coach) only sees workrate. Imaginative play is not something that I believe he has a lens for. So yes, count me in the Torres/Holden and even Feilhaber camps as we desparately need an Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas type midfielder. Otherwise, it will continue to be the long ball over the top to our speedy forwards attack strategy game plan. Disheartening.

  1. Matthew Reber
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 9:11 a.m.
    I have one question: What happened to Bradley the fullback ? When I saw him play on the "under" teams his prowess was as a marking back. He disrupted the opposing attack, and was fearless in the box. On the US National team, he was suddenly a starting central midfielder. We need good marking backs. I don't buy the size argument. Look at Steve C.

  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 9:49 a.m.
    Excellent comments, but please look at both sides. Bradley along with Donovan has the best first touch amongst USA players which for a middie is critical. He needs to be paired with a creative midfielder and Donovan/Torres/Feilhaber suit that role, but that pairing hasn't been on the field lately. He makes 60% of his passes which is higher than Clark, but still could use improvement. The problem is that it takes two to complete a pass and the USA is last in passing. The whole team needs to be able to get open, run to space, and control/receive a pass with an adept first touch. Look at both sides of players when you evaluate them, offense/defense and strengths/weaknesses. Bradley is better at holding midfielder than any other player the USA currently has on the roster.

  1. Christian Navarro
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.
    I agree that you are a ninny Ridge! SA please FIRE THIS GUY!

  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 10:54 a.m.
    I agree with Charles. What I like most about Bradley, aside from his relentless work ethic, is his self-awareness. He knows what he does well -- marking, breaking up attacks, winning the ball and making the simple first pass -- and he does it confidently. He also understands what he doesn't do well, like dribbling and long passing, and he doesn't try to force things. He's ideal for his position in the US system IF he has a good creative midfielder next to him... and that, of course, is the sticking point. Bradley needs a running mate he can pass to, who can control the ball and trigger the attack, and only Donovan and Torres fit the bill.

  1. Paul Lorinczi
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 10:59 a.m.
    There is nepotism involved with MB place on the US World Cup team. He even got to play in a World Cup warmup back in 2006 when he was not even on the roster. Very seldom does anyone criticize his play or his passes. In the England game, there was a chance to break out on the sideline and he missed his pass. If it was Beasley or Dempsey, John Harkes would have been all over their rear ends. But, not MB - the golden boy - he still gets a good player rating even when he misses a pass or a tackle in key moments. I have nothing against the guy, but you guys in the media are using a different standard to judge his performance over the other players on the team. That is the problem I have.

  1. Power Dive
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.
    Junior is definitely a good player and I think he deserves to be on the team. He's scored some very important goals and played very well within his role most of the time. With that said, I don't see him in the "untouchable" class of Howard, Dempsey and Donovan. IMO, these are the only players on the team whose roles are not debatable and they should be in the starting line-up for every competitive match. His status as an untouchable is what I question. I can't remember a time when he hasn't started as a central midfielder. But yet, Feilhaber, Torres, Holden, Edu and Clark are constantly mix-matched and played out of position to experiment. I think Junior should be suseptible to experimentation also. However, now is not the time.

  1. Mark Maxi
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 11:51 a.m.
    His dad carries the player cards. The ultimate example of parent involvement in sport. Hey trace his pathway to the national team programs (youth, olympic, and full team). Your telling me he did not have access to opportunities where his did has influence?

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.
    Paul Lorinczi: Bruce Arena was the coach during that warmup WC 2006 game. Michael Bradley is a starter for a Bundesliga team. Bundesliga is one of the top leagues in the world. How many midfielders does the US have that start in a top-level league (England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany)? Dempsey... any other names? Or is Bradley starting for Borussia due to nepotism?

  1. Scott Ellis
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:19 p.m.
    The fact of the matter is, regardless of one's opinion on how good/experienced a player MB is, he is a DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER. Which means that because he HAS to play every game, we play with two defenesive midfielders right in the middle of the field. Our two offensive midfielders then must play outwide. Yes, our formation every game is structured to accomodate the coach's son. Trust Bradley to play defensive midfield or do not, but we need an OFFENSIVE midfielder in the center of our attack.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.
    Right on Ridge. When I first saw MB playing for his dad, I was highly suspicious (nepotism, at this level? Really???), but when I watched him play, I was impressed. He ain't perfect, but Mike Gaynes' comments about him knowing what he does well and sticking to it are appropriate. While the US used to have many players in that mold, and now we're starting to have many more creative players, we do still need a few players like that (and the holding midfielder is a place I think we need one). And he is not simply a destroyer; no, he's not as creative as Torres, Holden. Feilhaber (all of whom I love to watch, and want to see in the game), but he does have good vision, he plays simply, and he often hits the right pass (as he did on the US goal v. England). He's not untouchable, and Clark and Bradley (and Edu) to me are similar players, and I think we generally only need one of them on the field, but of the three, he's the strongest, and at the WC, his experience is invaluable. My main gripe about MB is his penchant for picking up stupid yellow cards, which amazingly, against England he did not do, so maybe he's maturing in that department. I'd like to see MB paired with Feilhaber (with Torres and Holden coming in as subs; Torres for Bradley if we're behind, maybe for Feilhaber if we're ahead, and Holden on the outside to free Dempsey to go up top in place of one of the forwards). But a timely article Ridge, and you make many valid points.

  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
    You forgot to mention that Bradley is also a dirty player.

  1. Tom Kondas
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:39 p.m.
    Mahoney you can't be serious! So he played in various games with various teams and coaches, so have the others. You are trying to justify his starting in every game by reason of the fact he played in other games and once in a while did something good. Truth is he isn't any more effective than Beasley and where is he? You concentrate on his individual accomplishments, Anyone ever tell you this is a Team sport? There are others on the team who, in my opinion, would be more effective by reason of the fact they are better team players.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:41 p.m.
    Ridge, just WHY IN SAM HECK are you putting Banal Bradley Junior on a pedestal? Why the over-lengthy apologia and the knock on Torres, Fieldhaber and Holden? Perhaps of the three, Torres did not have the "proper connections" to get on with European teams, the others coming up through the college ranks for a while and then having the luck, yes LUCK to get signed abroad. Your insinuating claim that if it wasn't for M. Bradley they (the three named players) probably can't hold their own. PLEASE RIDGE, stop elevating him so much, and by continuing to do so, many will begin to think that you're in someone's back pocket. I want to thank Mark Maxi's correct assessment on Bradley Jr.'s ascencion to the MNT. His father's influence and connections to Arena and then the several MLS clubs he coached, his way to the various clubs he's played for was amply and aptly greased. As for nepotism, OMG, this has been a known fact throughout the width and breadth of this wonderful country of us especially when he was named to the MNT at age 19, passed over many other capable midfielders. And now here he is on the world's stage, helped by none other than his pater. So, Ridge, please write more balanced and OBJECTIVE articles and stay away from elevating someone who is playing way over his head, as a matter of fact why don't you do articles objective on the whole team. or do a human interest piece on the team's trainer or equipment manager? Just a thought!

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:48 p.m.
    Ric Fonseca: so, Bob Bradley is either such an influentual and powerful figure in world football or is a multi-millionaire that he was able to force or bribe his son's way into the starting line-ups of Heerenveen and Borussia? I want some of what you're smoking.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 12:56 p.m.
    What I am much more curious about right now is why no one seems to be asking Bob Bradley any tough questions? He's holding daily news conferences, right? I'd love to hear his answers to questions like: 1) why were England players given so much time and space in the US half? 2) if the US team is supposed to be one of the best conditioned teams in the world, why were the England players so much fresher and mobile in the second half? 3) why, especially in light of the previous point, were there only 2 subs and both very late? 4) is the US team going to continue playing with two defensive midfielders and no pure wingers? 5) why does Howard keep kicking the ball upfield to a lonely striker? 6) why was there no cohesion and fluidity (nor numbers) going forward?

  1. Paul Lorinczi
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 1:01 p.m.
    @David Mozeshtam I am not talking about Heerenveen and Gladbach. I am talking about the US National Team. I have watched Gladbach games where he wandered around too with little impact. I understand Arena was the Coach. Arena and Bradley coached together, didn't they? What other kid has had the opportunity to play in a World Cup warm up and not be on the roster? The point of my comment is to say, MB is a good player. But, when the team plays average, MB always gets a good rating. Even when he is responsible for not covering space that leads to a goal. John Harkes blames it on the other guy. Or, he makes a bad pass where other players get skewered for the mistake. He is not there yet. Let's see where he is in 2 more years before we start showering him with the "indispensable" label.

  1. Greg Williams
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 1:31 p.m.
    Give us a break. Bradley would suit better as a marking back. 60% pass completion rate is unacceptible at any level. Clark and MB on the field at the same time is giving up a lot of posession and vision. MB is better than Clark, so at least put Torres in in Clark's place and watch the posession, forward runs and opportunities in the attacking third increase.The US desperately needs more meaningful posession, and a creative midfielder...and we have one in Torres. Also, somebody explain why we went defensive against England in the second half, when we were doing pretty well attacking in the first? We went from better than average in the first to below average, and cheaply giving the ball away.. a lot...and MB was responsible for several of those errant balls. It seemed we lost our nerve and our confidence, and began playing simply not to concede, rather than to win.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.
    As much as I don't like Bob, I do think Mike is a needed player in our midfield. He was first invited to USMNT camp by Bruce "I'm headed to Europe next" Arena before the last World Cup. Mike was on the radar before Pops took over and he has earned his spot beyond any doubt with his gritty performances. If he can continue his style of play and avoid multiple cards, his maturity will be complete.

  1. Alex Lozano
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 4:03 p.m.
    I do like Junior...more than most...and appreciate what he brings to the midfield. Having said that, it seems that "Daddy" will play Junior, regardless of how horrible a stretch of games he might play and, yet, never has time to play Jose Torres or Maurice Edu, who IMO bring a different & better dimension to the US midfield. Especially, against specific opponents. I have no problem with Junior starting v Slovenia but I want & hope to see Torres or, even, Edu next to him. Otherwise, it's the same 'ol US style...conservative or "empty bucket"!!

  1. Nick Prodanovich
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 4:32 p.m.
    Ridge, Solid analysis. Michael Bradley is an excellent player. Some of the comments to the contrary are somewhat laughable. Each year you see just how much Bradley has improved. Barring injury or an unusual loss of form I would expect Bradley to be a major pillar of the US Nats for the 2014 WC regardless of who is coaching the team at that time.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 4:39 p.m.
    @David Mozeshtam: You fail to see the trees for the forest, just like Coach Dad. My comments were definitely NOT meant to imply that Banal Bob had lots of bucks with which to use to buy his kid a place on European teams. And I don't smoke. I recomend that you read, and re-read Paul Lorinczi's comment that hits the nail on the head. MB needs more maturing, so please stop putting him on a pedestal!

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.
    I am not anti-MB but I am against the way daddy plays him. Even Ridge agrees that he's not a play-maker. Then why not get Clark out of there and replace him with Torres or Feilhaber. Why? Because according to Ridge, Bradley doesn't have Clark's "range". Okay, what we have here is a conflict between "range" (great technical term Ridge) and "creativity". Sorry Ridge, no contest!! "Creativity" wins -- unless you're a college soccer coach or a holder of a "C" coaching license or above. Sorry guys I don't even want to get started on what I think of the entire bogus soccer licensing scam. Ric Fonseca and Tim Elam -- I'm with ya !!

  1. Karl Ortmertl
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 5:47 p.m.
    The real crime of playing Michael Bradley is that it has not only forced a truly talented player in Torres to the bench but has forced Donovan to play on a wing rather than controlling the action in the middle (with Torres). These guys, along with Dempsey, are the strength of the team, but senior Bradley has gutted the team in favor of his son. I don't know what the Bundesliga sees in Michael Bradley, but its the same league that Donovan could not succeed in. I guess that they're into big klunky goons rather than skillful players in that league and we're stuck with one of them.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 6:01 p.m.
    Ridge--one further comment on your chain of events where-in Bradley was the real instigator of the goals---I think we should take that chain back a bit further and give an assist to the little boy in Pakistan who made the ball!!!!!!!

  1. James Griffin
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 9:35 p.m.
    If you have watched the games, MB and Clark have been average at best. I don't have a problem with playing a strong defense and then counterattacking to score goals ala Inter Milan, however, we are inept at that. We need more control and creativity in midfield. It is time for Torres and Feilhaber. Findley and Altidore are good for 45 minutes.Get them out after that. Move Dempsey up top, he sucks in midfield. Our attacks should go through Donovan. He wants the ball and knows what to do. WC coaches are reluctant to make sweeping changes, so don't count on ....

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.
    I like MB's passing game. He is very adept at getting the ball to people in a way that gives them room to maneuver. I think his game allows the US to compete with teams that are far more talented.

  1. Brian Herbert
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 1:24 a.m.
    Bradley is fine at central midfield. I am more concerned about Clark. The 2nd half midfield in the Turkey friendly was what I'd like to see Friday: Donovan, Bradley, Dempsey, Torres. Torres was both up and down the field and also a pit bull on the tackles.

  1. Manuel Trejo-von Angst
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 7:29 p.m.
    "and that might be feasible if Bradley had Clark’s range. But he doesn’t." And we get to the crux of why Bradley is overrated. Range is a HUGE part of a central midfielder's game. Ridge, let's be clear...Bradley is a center mid not a d-mid but he plays the game with the range of a serviceable at best d-mid. He doesn't get forward enough and when he does he usually abrogates his defensive duties. His passing is better than Clark's (which isn't saying much, a stone passes more accurately than Clark) but it's not even in the same universe as Torres who passes with more vision and clarity than anyone else on the team. (Feilhaber comes close when he's in the zone) Furthermore, when Jermaine Jones is healthy, if he still chooses to play for the US this whole article is a moot point because there is no way in hell anyone would start Bradley before Jermaine Jones. He has everything a center mid should have and much of what Bradley does not. (thus why Jones plays for one of the biggest clubs in Europe and Bradley plays for a constant relegation battler) Jones gets forward and strikes with venom and early on in matches establishes the tone for all who come his way that they better move the ball out wide or the pain is coming and he does it CLEANLY and doesn't take as many stupid yellows and reds as Bradley does. Furthermore most of the examples you cite are passes Bradley made to someone else, who passed it to someone else, who passed it to some one else who scored. I mean if we are going that far down the rabbithole in the order of passes then Tim Howard is the greatest passer on the team since virtually every goal we've ever scored has come from a pass he's made from the back. I'm sorry but some of the examples are a bit silly. Bradley is a better passer than Clark but again, he's not close to the same league as Torres. When Bob is fired after this World Cup you will see Mikey benched in favor of Torres (or Jones; see note above) until some of the younger crop (who are better than both Michael and Torres come up)

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 11:13 p.m.
    Oh Ridge... Sure I'll agree with him that Bradley has developed into a decent player. But i refuse to believe he is the best option for the US at DEFENSIVE MID. And yes his skill sets are defensive in nature. He is not a two way player! I don't care how much you think you know about the game Ridge he is not that player you or his father make him to be. Has he scored goals? Yes. Does push up the field on counter attacks? Yes. Does he make neat crisp passes that open up the defense? NO. Does he have creative ball movement and great control? No. So how do you classify him as a two way player? He simply is not. He is a good hard nosed typical defensive midfielder. Nothing more. He will not pick apart the defense with incredible vision or passing. He will not retain possesion in a crowded area. He will not spring a player on a fast break with an incredible pass. The reason he has become a decent player is because Bob Bradley has crammed him down the throats of US fans by playing him every USMNT game. Does B. Bradley know something that prominent or even mediocre clubs don't know about M. Bradley? Or maybe Borussia Moenchengladbach have just gotten a steal. And I guess the Glasgow Rangers got the short end of stick with M. Edu and would much rather have Bradley. The truth of the matter is the USMNT will never have the opportunity to play their best players at each position because Bob Bradley plays his favorites and his son. Ricardo Clark may just be an illegitimate child of his. Please Ridge, Please. Don't shove this garbage down our throats. Some of us actually do know the game and understand players strengths and weaknesses. It is time to be critical of Bob Bradley. It is time to expect more from our National Team coaches. The players deserve better than Bob Bradley and so does this nation.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 11:27 p.m.
    By the way, just because M. Bradley plays in the Bundislega doesn't mean he's a quality player. There are hundreds of midfielders in that league and most of them don't make their countries national squad. Borussia Moenchengladbach finished in the lower half of the league. The Bundislega is a good league but i would rate the leagues as follows as far as team strength from top to bottom: English, Italian, Spanish, German. If Bradley is a top notch player than why has he not been signed by any major clubs. Even if you are not solid now most will sign you in expectation that you will become a good player, ie. Adu, Altidore, Edu, Kenny Cooper, Tim Howard and the list goes on. But when it is clear you will never get better than you are currently you just bounce around from celler dweller to celler dweller. Bradley has become a journyman at best and holds this USMNT back in what it could accomplish. Until we get an international coach with experience and a lack of nepotism than we will be average at best.

  1. Mike Gaynes
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 11:41 a.m.
    Looks like the argument has been settled by Mr. Bradley himself... in the most emphatic possible fashion.

  1. Juan R
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.
    Bradley is quality and he has shown that game in game out, and he can score big goals, like today. Torres showed today that he still needs a lot more work, though I really wanted him to succeed. Bradley is still improving as a midfielder, a midfielder's prime is at 25-29. Good subs by Coach Bob today, though I wondered about Findley. Coach Bob tries his best to avoid nepotism, but you folks still can't accept that Michael Bradley is a good player. He's not Kaka, but he's not finished getting better.

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.
    Andrew P., the Bundelsiga is clearly one of the top soccer leagues in the world. Your rankings are meaningless. If he is getting playing time in the Bundesliga as an American, then that speaks volumes about his ability. I'm not sure how many of your 'hundreds' of midfielders in the Bundesliga are Americans, which is the question here. Because, strangely enough, BB doesn't get to choose from such a wide pool. So who would you put in his place? What league or top club do they play for?

  1. Arthur Narro
    commented on: June 18, 2010 at 8:15 p.m.
    Mike, I think you are right, Good job Mr. Bradley! Jose Francisco Torres was not ready for the pressure of a WC. if MB played like that the flames would fly. I believe that there is still a place for Torres, but he is in need of some seasoning as well. The complaint that he is not a 2-way player, please we could use more of these one way players who score the type of aggressive heads up goals that MB is gets for the US.


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