[USA] Speaking to reporters on Monday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said expectations for the U.S. national team have risen sharply and it didn't achieve them with their 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana. Gulati said Coach Bob Bradley did a very good job, but he planned on meeting with him to assess the U.S. performance and discuss Bradley's future. Here's what Gulati had to say ...
“I think the team is capable of more. I think the players know it. I think Bob knows it. And so at that level we’re disappointed we didn’t get to play another 90 minutes at least.”
“The missed opportunity is partly a chance to get to the quarters and the matchup with Uruguay, but it’s also a missed opportunity to stay in the American public’s eyes for another four, five, six days, maybe 10 days, when interest is at an all-time high. I have no doubt there will still be people at bars watching games at strange times, that the TV ratings will still be good. But what the ratings might have been for a quarterfinal game or dreaming beyond that, it’s certainly a missed opportunity.”
"I have known Bob for a very long time, I have a lot of faith in him and I think the world of him at a personal level. We will make the right decision for the sport; it won't be about the personal level. It's not going to be a snap decision. I want to hear his thoughts about how things went. I have some questions and why we did some things collectively -- decisions that he made along the way. I'm sure he is going to want to hear about some of my reactions."
OTHER COACHING CANDIDATES.
"It's not my plan to talk to people until I have had a chance to sit down with Bob. Bob is our coach. He is the coach through the end of the year. This isn't a question about making a change. We have a four-year contract, the end of the contract is the end of the year. The same was true in Bruce [Arena]'s case except Bruce had an opportunity [in MLS], so we needed to make a decision very quickly. I am not saying we are going to wait six months to make a decision." [Bradley was hired after extensive negotiations with Juergen Klinsmann stalled in 2006.]
AMERICAN VS. FOREIGN COACH.
“Having someone who understands the mentality of Americans and American players is a plus. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. On the other side of that, it’s also a plus to have played in a World Cup final and coached in a World Cup final, and we don’t have anyone that fits that in the United States.”
“We’ve gone two World Cups without a forward scoring a goal. That’s not a good thing. And that’s not blaming the guys who have been playing forward for us. It’s just a statement of fact. However we evaluate a coach in a short-term situation like the World Cup, the broader issue is we’ve got to get better development, better players at the other end of it. And that is not something you do in a year or two. And that’s everything else we’re doing in our system or trying to do, whether it’s the development academy, whether it’s MLS having youth teams, whether it’s reaching out further to the Hispanic and African-American communities. I don’t think it takes a lot of watching to know that [Carlos] Tevez and [Lionel] Messi have a different control of the ball than most of our players or most of the players in the world, for that matter. So we’ve got to be better. Players have to be better, sure. And I take responsibility for that that, on where the sport is.”