Edu, Jones keep battling for starting spot in crowded USA midfield

Jermaine Jones red (ISIPhotos.com)

Photos by Howard C. Smith/ISIPhotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones will be returning to starting roles with their respective club teams this weekend, but as far as the U.S. men's national team goes, neither has locked down a starting spot.

In the United States' friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay this past week, Edu and Jones both had mixed performances, leaving head coach Bob Bradley to further contemplate on whom he should pair with incumbent central midfielder Michael Bradley.

Two strong performances could have swayed Bob Bradley's opinion, but neither Jones nor Edu was consistent enough. Against Argentina, Edu looked promising once the U.S. team woke up from its slumber party while versus Paraguay he struggled in his first-half cameo. Jones was the opposite, having a subpar showing against the Argentines before putting in a better 45 minutes worth of work when matched up against Paraguay's defensive-minded approach.

The three midfielders did play together in the first half of the 1-1 draw against Argentina, but as was the case versus Colombia last fall, they struggled, especially on the offensive end. That doesn't mean Bob Bradley won't use that approach again (he hinted at such following the game in New Meadowlands Stadium), but a rotation between Michael Bradley, Jones and Edu might be better-suited for the team.

"I think that we three are good players," Jones said. "Now we was switching (from) Mo and Michael and Me and Michael. I think that maybe in the next game, maybe we try how we can play with me and Mo to see what's best for the tournament."

While there's a chance that Bob Bradley opts for that tandem against Spain in June, it doesn't appear likely. Michael Bradley was clearly the most impressive of the three central midfielders in the recent friendlies and he has also played 90 minutes in each game he's been available for dating back to a 3-1 loss to Denmark in November 2009 in which he was subbed off for Edgar Castillo.

That means Edu and Jones are likely to continue to battle for the starting spot next to Bradley over the course of the next two months.

"We look at it just as good competition for the team and it's going to bring out the best in us, and at the end of the day, we all want to win," Edu told SBI following the 1-0 loss to Paraguay. "That's what the ultimate goal is and we're just going to be fine in competing for a spot." 

If Michael Bradley struggles for playing time at Aston Villa and falls out of form, both Jones and Edu could gain ground over the next two months, but the one thing that seems clear is that Bob Bradley will have three quality players to choose from.

"The three of us are going to compete," said Edu. "At the end of the day, I think whatever combination is thrown out there will be quality and solid enough."

EduMessi (ISIPhotos.com)

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148 Responses to Edu, Jones keep battling for starting spot in crowded USA midfield

  1. Oni says:

    Bradley will start as long as he’s healthy, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Holden had been fit though.

  2. Rod says:

    Clearly the best? He put in below average performances in both games…he just happened to get a good shot off in the 2nd half of the Paraguay game. While all three are similar in style, there is no doubt jones offers more going forward. And “If Michael Bradley struggles for playing time at Aston Villa and falls out of form” has already happened….he hasnt seen much of the field and in my eyes performed subpar in both the ARG and PAR games. Im usually a Michael Bradley supporter but i have to be honest and say I havent been impressed recently.

  3. Geoff says:

    I already miss Stu.

  4. jonk says:

    Oh silly Jermaine. He thinks Bob will try pairing just him and Mo and leave Mikey on the bench.

  5. shweazy says:

    Why is Bradley Junior an automatic ? he plays well once in a blue moon but for some reason he starts every game and never gets subbed, before the Argentina game Jones was clearly out best CM and still is. He’s just having a bad patch currently. Edu is starting week after week for a championsleague team and scoring goals and Holden is bossing it in the EPL yet they are all second to Michael Bradley??? makes no sense.

  6. Micah King says:

    I wanna see Jones and Edu can we see it once ? Gosh, I knew when Bob Bradley was named US coach that he was going to show favortism to his son. FIFA should make a rule that coaches of the national team cannot be related to any of the players. I believe the same thing happened to Slovakia if I am not mistaken one of the players dad was the coach. Bradley jr. is good, but I wanna see some new blood.

  7. Ryan says:

    Mike Bradley was far and away the best player on the field against Paraguay. He was tidy in possession, minus one cheap give away that he got back and recovered from quickly. Jones has some decent one touch passes in the attacking third that I wish Mike would do more of, but with Jones, it’s a case of the bad outweighing the good. He’s shaky on the ball, and he’s much more likely to pick up cards or give away possession cheaply.

  8. Mike says:

    I think the phrase “bossing in the EPL” is a bit much, but Holden was certainly playing well. Assuming Holden comes back healthy, and that is probably a big assumption, then that debate can continue. For now, given the choice between the three, I would go with Bradley and Jones over Edu. Has nothing to do with club situation, I just think Bradley is a better overall player than Edu.

  9. Mike says:

    Exactly. Finally somebody who doesn’t throw out the same tired nepotism argument. It is simple, Bradley is better than Edu.

  10. Ryan says:

    I don’t understand why I have to post so many defenses of Bradley as a starter. He’s an automatic because he’s the best central mid in the pool (Stu Holden being a possible exception). I understand that hotshot Germany Jones should by default be the best player we’ve ever seen, since he’s German and all, but he’s not. Not even close.

  11. kpugs says:

    There is no need to mince words or mention mixed performances. They each had two terrible, terrible games. Jones is clearly the better player but Edu clearly has better offensive ability and is more well-rounded.

    Personally, I just want one of these two guys to play well consistently, and far as I’m concerned that guy can be the starter. Considering they both played horribly, at this point I’d rather see Bradley playing the role alone with an additional attacking mid tossed in instead of the shaky Edu/Jones combo.

  12. shweazy says:

    lol i just saw that , he must be out of his mind, Michael will need a broken leg to not start for that NATS even if he plays no games for his club at all. he was not great vs Argentina either but Bob chose to scapegoat jones .

  13. HoboMike says:

    While I agree that Jr. is the best of the bunch, based upon how he has played so far, I think that a Jones/Edu pairing is essential, if only to see how they mesh. Every other pairing has been tried.

  14. Al_OC says:

    To me all three are the same type of player and are probably at the same level.

    BB has tried Bradley/Jones and Bradley/Edu combos. So, I think it shouldn’t hurt trying the other option: Jones/Edu, especially with Jr’s lack of playing time.

  15. Vince says:

    Bradley Nepotism Accusation Time: 12 minutes.

    It actually took longer than I thought on this article.

  16. shweazy says:

    you do realize that Holden starts for Bolton right ? a team way ahead of Aston Villa, the same team that Bradley warms the bench for right ? . Holden is a quality cm but he cant make it into t CM spot on the Nats why is that ? You think Bradley is better but Edu has proven to be better more than once or twice, over the past couple of games. Bradley plays well once in a while and never suffers for it . Edu plays bad one game and he has to be re-evaluated ? smh

  17. DCUPedro says:

    Tick… Tick… BOOM!

    Ives, you are an evil genius. This thread should be fun.

  18. Rod says:

    I have to disagree with you on a few points…While Bradley performed better in the Paraguay game than he did in the Argentina game, I dont believe we got out of him what we needed to. While he might have retained possession well, he didnt offer much going forward in either game and really win the ball very well. Jones is more of a risk defensively, but i think hes better on the ball and has better distribution going forward. I dont think it will hurt pairing Edu and Jones to see how it works.

  19. Chavftw says:

    I’m doing my best not to flame you with sarcasm. Weiss is actually a good comparison because like MB90 he deserved to make the team and start.

    And your little rule would have prevented Paolo Maldini and N. Kranjcar from being on their national sides, to name two.

  20. shweazy says:

    see thats the stupid thing i dont get, Bradley has beens tinking a long time and comes back and has one good game vs Paraguay and all of a sudden he’s on everyones good books. Edu and Jones have one bad game and its all over for them ? double standard much ? Jones is the best CM in the pool , proven over his career and his first couple of games where he out performed everyone of our central mids . one game is nothning to judge a player by. Bradley is consistently bad and gets an automatic start regardless.

  21. jb says:

    Michael Bradley is a good young player and needs to be part of the USMNT going forward. However, seeing him go the full 90 both friendlies yet again, despite not seeing much PT with his club(s) is baffling. I’m sorry but he was not “clearly” the best in that position, even among the three who played, and even when Edu and Jones had times of poor play. Other options MUST be at least tried to see what is best for the team.

  22. Mike says:

    Do you watch Bolton games? I said he played well, but he seldom commanded the midfield. Holden couldn’t make it into the spot because he has been injured…nobody knows how things would have played out. Bradley has proven to be better than Edu consistently throughout his career, not just in the past two games. Stop with the Bradley hating and be objective.

  23. Rod says:

    just to mention, i never said edu was better that bradley.

  24. DCUPedro says:

    He was the best midfielder in these two friendlies.

    Not starting for a 8 weeks is one thing. But Bradley showed he very much has NOT fallen out of form.

    Bradley has never shunned a player who happened to not be starting for his club at the moment of any given friendly. How many chances did he give Adu while he was riding the pine? (Answer: tons). With Bob, its about whether or not that lack of playing time has eroded your form or made it impossible to judge your form.

    Bradley looks fine. Not all club situtaions are the same at any given moment. Clearly Michael looks as good as he always has. He will therefore continue to start until he shows otherwise.

  25. Micah King says:

    It is true. It is not a argument.

  26. Chavftw says:

    Agreed. The competition is not the story I’m interested in. I’d rather BB have to choose the guy who was in stellar form (or choose between 2 guys with stellar form) rather than choosing the least worst. I really think either Jones and Edu can be the big bad MF we’re looking for, so that’s why I was a little disappointed.

  27. Mike says:

    How has Jones proven to be better throughout his career? Because he started a couple seasons at Schalke?

  28. shweazy says:

    has anyone take into consideration that Jr was fresh for these games becuze he is on the bench for his club while Jones and Edu plays many games and may have been fatigued ? hmmmmm . some say Jr is clearly the best of the bunch lol thats just madness. what has he done for the nats and in his career to make one think he’s the best of the bunch? his run in Holland was years ago and he has yet to repeat anything close to that on the world stage or in a better league so get over it .

    Cant wait for Holden to come back so he can warm the bench or forced wide just so jr can play, then wen we perform like crap we blame everyone but Sr and Jr.

    (SBI-The story says Bradley was clearly the best of the three IN THESE RECENT FRIENDLIES. Yes, that’s subjective, but the popular sentiment from most media was that Bradley had a better pair of games than Jones and Edu. I would agree with that. I do agree that it would have been good to play Jones and Edu together, but I also doubt highly we’ll see that in the Spain game.)

  29. Micah King says:

    They can be on the team they just cannot have their dad being the coach which does not make sense to me. Even though your son is one of the best on the team. It limits the team because you might not try new combos that work. Also, what if your son get injured you do not have a back up combo because you started your son every game and were biased. I remember that episode of Hey Arnold back in the day. Pass the ball to Tucker! then Tucker realized the team was centered around him and no one else was given a chance.

  30. Micah King says:

    I say put Bradley up as a forward paired with Jozy, or Agudelo.

  31. Dennis says:

    Let’s see, Holden had a broken leg prior to the W.C. and is now out for 6 months. How does Holden figure this in any way other than wishful thinking?

  32. shweazy says:

    yes, and is starting for his current club team also. Bradley has never been consistent in Europe outside of Holland, even in Germany he was never a consistent starter.The only team he starts for every game and goes 90 every game is the NATs because whether he plays well or not his father will never sub him or consider another option for a start.

    (SBI-He wasn’t a consistent starter at Gladbach? You might want to go back and check the stats. Before the final months prior to his loan he was the lock starter for several years. Nice try though.)

  33. Chavftw says:

    It’s not a team of 12 year olds, you know. I suppose Kun Aguero and Van Bommel shouldn’t have made the team either. Or, as soon as their father (in laws) choose them as their best option, they should have resigned. Are you going to be the one to tell Maradona he needs to resign? Because there’s no way coaches could ever plan for a starter to be backed up.

    Hey Arnold? Really?

  34. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    You and every other USMNT supporter.

  35. PetedeLA says:

    I think you have to go with Jones until Edu goes to a better league.

    Scotland just isn’t high enough quality.

    Jones seems to mesh better with Bradley.

  36. Mike says:

    On the season…Jones 22 matches…Bradley 28. I guess if you count the matches Jones played while banished to the Schalke reserves, then he has played more.

  37. Dr. Robert Dobalina says:

    stability is huge for these players. If you told any of the 3 that they would be playing 90 min. for every game as long as they don’t make any huge mistakes over the next 5 matches Im sure they wouldn’t disappoint.

    As in any sport it is very difficult to play off the bench or knowing that someone is ready to take ur spot as soon as your play slips..

    if we had another game b4 Spain I would say try out the Edu-Jones combo but not vs. Spain!

  38. dcm says:

    i love them both, but you can’t beat how aggressive jones is, he doesn’t back down from any challenge. i saw a few things off camera from him that were really impressive, just running non stop.

  39. shweazy says:

    ok its hopeless i’m done cuz its seems the majority of american soccer fans are clueless idiots who group think every chance the get. cant form objective opinions and think independently . just like the other night when alexi started harping about passing out the back all of a sudden Onyewu our best defender became public enemy number one lol.

  40. Dennis says:

    Michael had 28, 29, and 19 appearances for in the Bundesliga, most of them starts. That is close to all the games for which he was available. The only time he did not play routinely is when he ticked his coach off and when the loan to Aston Villa was being contemplated and completed.
    Another MB hater who can’t get much right!

  41. MemphisRogues says:

    As long as the USA plays smaller or slower opponents we can get a result. That’s what the Nats are built around: speed and strength. I’m not being cynical either. Coach Bradley is doing what he can with what he’s got. I’m happy he tried the 4231. It didn’t work, though. With LD and Dempsey on the wings and dropping in so much, I feel Bradley wanted the 4231 to work like Bayern Munich or the The Mannshaft, but without a Klose or Gomez uptop to finish or a Schweinsteiger or Ozil to boss and create in the midfield, we’ve traded the 4231 back in for the battering ram power of the 442. Unfortunately, this is do to a lack of creativity in the midfield. M Bradley is our best mid. He works hard. He disrupts. He completes passes. However he doesn’t create. He doesn’t penetrate defenses with thru balls, flicks, or feints. Jones and Edu don’t offer creativity either at international speed. Until we find a midfield maestro, we’ll depend on the predictable patter of long crosses from wide areas, long balls over the top, or 20 yard shots.

    Holden would be perfect to team with MB. He creates and penetrates. Due to circumstances, we should try Mixx and Bradley. Mixx can create. What he misses in defenses he’ll make up by putting pressure on the opposition ie the best defense is a good offense. Otherwise let’s try LD in the middle. Chandler on the wing. Lichaj defender.

  42. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Literally every single comment you’ve posted in this thread has bashed Jr. Does it ever get tiring?

  43. Micah King says:

    Hey Arnold is a good example man. He did not know the teams full potential because he was stuck on only starting his son. Well the favortism is making a lot of fans sick and as you can see for the two games we played it did not do much for the US. We know what Bradley can do. Try something new, already. I bet if Stu was completely healthy he would still start Bradley and Stu was scoring goals and starting every game. I know we will never know since Stu got injured, but hey.

  44. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    I think their play, rather than the league, should matter.

  45. Soccernste says:

    This should be an interesting test of Jones’ character. It’s one thing to be injured and be lauded as the “if only he was healthy can you imagine how BOSS we would have been” (see JJ pre world cup, and Stu Holden now). Now to find you are platooned with or subbed for the guys your were supposed to rescue.

    Given his outspoken past, hopefully this does not fester into an issue.

  46. sdbransonusa says:

    How do you figure that he hasn’t been a consistent starter in Germany? The past two seasons he has averaged 28 games started and had a total of 3 substitute appearances. This year, before leaving at the end of January, he started 17 games, with 2 substitution appearances once it was known he would go on loan. If you’re going to throw out the nepotism argument, you could at least do your homework.

  47. Memphis Rogues says:

    … And still stick with the 442.

  48. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Trolls gonna troll.

  49. Dennis says:

    The best case for not playing MB is that sooner or later, due to cards or injury he will not be available. It would be good to see in friendlies what the other options might be.

    Of course, with both Holden and MB out, that would likely be Edu and Jones, not Diskerud, so little new info would be gained.

    Now once Holden returns, it would be nice to see different combos of MB, Edu, Jones and Holden. Right now, MB is the healthiest, has performed best for the USMNT and it is up to the others to step up.

    Anyone who thinks MB had a bad game against Argentina is silly. He was the guy who time and again forced Messi into multiple coverage and made the play predictible so DeMerit and Onyewu could make tackles, or stepped up and intercepted passes intended for Messi. Messi is , well Messi, but he did not have a good night and MB was a primary reason.

  50. Mike says:

    Have you watched a Blackburn match since Jones has been there or just read player ratings? I think your comment that Bradley wasn’t as consistent starter pretty much undermines your objectivity and credibility on the subject. Jones around 95 Bundesliga starts, Bradley around 70….despite Bradley being 6-7 years younger.

  51. Micah King says:

    I am not trolling. I want the US to succeed as well as the next fan. I want to get back to our confed cup 2009 form. Obviously, you are hating because you keep on replying to what I say.

  52. Free says:

    MB is a starting world cup vet who played well in SA. in order for jones or edu to displace bradley each will need to perform well above whatever performance bradley turns in…more than once. if each performance is debatable or *gasp* sub-par…MB will remain in the starting 11, with jones and edu battling each other for what remains.

    DCUPedro, good call… way to feed the mob… haha… BRAINS..BRAINS…BRADLEY…BRAINS..

  53. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Ryan, I wonder if some people even watch games. It’s fairly stunning that no matter what kind of a game he has, people drag out the same crap… Keep fighting the good fight

  54. jts says:

    Anyone find out the true extent of his injuries?

    It seemed very secretive.

    If it is just a bad cut, 6 months is a long time.

    If it is structural, I can’t find it discussed.

    I did see a phot from the hospital and he is wearing a brace on his knee, which sure seems like a ligament problem.

  55. haymarketfire says:

    Let’s be honest, there IS nepotism involved in Junior’s situation with the NT. The sooner the two Bradley’s are no longer involved with the USNT, the sooner we will be on the road to becoming a world futbol power. The whole situation resembles a pathetic little league scenario that I think we all experienced growing up. Bob is not a bad coach and Jr. is not a bad player, but the two together makes for a toxic environment. Again, the whole thing reminds me of my AYSO team growing up – an overbearing father (who was never a good player) trying to make his son the player he never was at the expense of the entire team. Sorry, but the Bradleys just rub me the wrong way – am I the only one who things (just by looking at them) that they are a-holes?

  56. John says:

    Paolo Maldini’s talent was edvident for anybody to see and far better than any other CB options during his time without debate. In Bradly’s case he is pretty much even with Mo and Jones yet has played the full 90 every game since 2009. Big difference. I also think confidence has a lot to do with how Mo and Jones have played so far. They are fighting for spots while Bradley can play his game at ease knowing he is a full 90 min starter no matter what.

  57. radi0head says:

    you are indeed trolling. every post from you somehow involves bashing MB, and not just in this thread.

  58. ochosiete says:

    The way argentina was playing on the first half was like the second coming of Barcelona.. in other words not any CM in the world would have a good game against them…Not even Xabi Alonso Lass Diarra or Khedira… or Roy Keane or M Essien. They would all look silly and useless. So if we are going to measure J Jones for that one game (or first half) it would be a mistake. I think the everyone needs to calm down and realize that there is enough depth in that position. I have no worries other than the fact that BB clearly shows favortism towards his son and that he doesn’t want to try all possible combinations. So to recap: 1) The first half agains argentina doesn’t count because Argentina was from another planet..therefore 2) Jones has to be in the starting 11 and work out the other combinations

  59. radi0head says:

    yes its just you. every player under Bob seems to love him, just read the interviews. To me, BB seems like a great guy. As much as I used to dislike his coaching a few years ago, I must say that I think he is a great coach for us now. He has become more experimental(even threw out the 3-5-2 the other night), he digs deep into our available pool for prospects, and he has started to move away from just long balls and parking the bus. I mean honestly, given our talent level, I really believe has us hitting above our weight class.

    As for MB, guy is a good player. Take off the hate goggles and go rewatch the Paraguay game.

  60. Felix says:

    Wasn’t that the “empty bucket” everyone was complaining about a few years back????

    This UTTERLY MORONIC whining about Bradley playing is plain F-ing stupid.

    He’s is the best center midfielder we have – PERIOD! Anyone who cannot see it is basing their opinion on his father, the manager. Not on Jr’s play.

    In the past World Cup, he was by far one of our best players on the pitch in all the games. And in these past two friendlies, he was the best CM out there, despite the fact he’s barely played the past few months and Jones and Edu have.

  61. Czo13 says:

    MB is clearly our best CM, with that said we would all love to see a Edu/Jones Pairing but like Ives pointed out it is not likely to happen.

  62. Brad says:

    Edu looked lost for most of the half against Paraguay. I think that if Jones had a whole game with Bradley, he would play better, as it can be hard to come into a game at half. Edu should be used in the Gold cup, to help Bradley and Jones keep the card count under control.

    I am not sure if the Bradley nepotism argument is merely trolling, or something else. In the end, I actually hope it is that. If you dont see that Bradley is our best CM, than you are either ignorant of soccer, or delusional. If you think that there is ANY combo of CMs, that the US can field, and play any other brand of soccer than what we currently play at the international level, you are delusional. We are a counter-attacking team. Period. That is why we can get a result against teams like Spain, Mexico and Argentina, and struggle to beat much easier opponents.

    The Paraguay game is an exception to most international games for us. Just like the US game has evolved to withstand Mexican and Costa Rican pressure, and catch them on the counter, Paraguay has learned to do it against Brazil and Argentina. (It has not been until the last WC cycle, that Paraguay has started to field attacking lineups.) As soon as they got a goal, they went into a defensive shell and barely had to break a sweat.

    It will be years before the US will start to produce the type of players that the Bradley haters think we can field now.

  63. Micah King says:

    I am not bashing him I am not a MB hater. Everyone else is bashing him . I just want Bob to try something new. How have I bashed MB ? Give me a quote, I have posted ? Yes, I did bash Bedoya and Ream,but that is the only people I have bashed. I am just agreeing with Jones I wanna see a Jones and Edu combo. If you could see you can see that all three are even!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So get off my back. -___-

  64. Felix says:

    Let’s try a combo of the least two effective CMs of the three!! YES GENIUS!!!

    After that, maybe we should start a Parkhurst/Califf partnership in center defense as well.

    Maybe we should do a EJ/Findley partnership, cause we haven’t tried that neither – who knows maybe it’ll work???

  65. DirtyLeeds says:

    You’re the a-hole, and so is everyone who says Bradley only plays cause of his dad.

    Everyone that thinks that, please F off and go support Canada or Mexico.

  66. Slyboy says:

    What up fellow Quaker!?

    I totally agree, I watched both games and I honestly believe Baby Bradley justified his starting spot with his performance.

  67. dan says:

    ——–AGUDELO——–
    DONOVAN–HOLDEN–DEMPSEY
    ——JONES—EDU———
    BOCA-REAM-GONZALEZ-CHANDLER
    ——–HOWARD————

    bam!

  68. dan says:

    you can swap Bradley for Edu, i just think they are both better defensive mids to stay back and support for this sorta formation.

  69. John says:

    Every single player that depends on Bradley calling them up to further thier own careers love him. I wouldn’t piss on my boss if he was on fire but i wouldn’t let anyone know who might tell him and get me canned.

  70. RafaFlores says:

    I, for one, would just like to see a different midfield pairing. That’s all. I’m no MB hater. The kid can play. However, I think JJ is better. I’m not saying a lot better but still better. Would it really hurt to try Jones and Edu without MB? Or how about Holden (when he’s back) as our attacking mid with Jones behind him and LD and Deuce on the wings in a diamond formation with Agudelo and Jozy up top. I think that would be interesting to try and just might work. Thoughts?

  71. Mike says:

    To be honest, I don’t know if Holden has what it takes to play the central role in a 5 man midfield. Despite what everybody says, he does not and has not been that type of player for Bolton. My line-up, assuming full health would be:
    ———-Dempsey——Agudelo——
    Donovan——-Holden———–Chandler
    Bradley
    Bocanegra—-Ream—-Gooch—–Dolo
    ————-Howard———–

    Subs to be used: Altidore, Jones

  72. John says:

    Not why he plays but why he starts and goes full 90.

  73. sean says:

    I would like to see Edu paired in Central Defense with Ream. And then Jones and Bradley in the Central Midfield positions. I think that Edu could potentially be most valuable to the US as a central defender. It is worth experimenting with it. Perhaps against Spain or in the group stage of the Gold Cup.

  74. chente says:

    I think Bradley is a good midfielder, better than Jones and Edu. That being said, it doesn’t follow that Bradley should automatically be a starter. There are, if you will, synergies that might make two players a better whole even if individually they are not the two best. That seems to be plainly true; I think anyone who’s coached before will accept it.

    The US has a number of midfielders who _should be_ competing for time. In addition to Bradley, Jones, and Edu, there is, for example, Holden, Feilhaber, and Torres. So, even if Bradley is undeniably the best of the bunch (I personally don’t think it’s so clear cut, since Benny and Jose offer unique skill sets), it’s still the case that we should be experimenting with other groupings. As it is, Coach Bradley has Michael locked in much as he locks in Donavan and Dempsey. But it really is preposterous to claim Bradley dominates his position among his US counterparts in the same way Donovan and Dempsey do.

    Moreover, even if Bradley is the best central midfielder we have, it doesn’t take away from the fact that there is a conflict of interest with having a coach who’s also a father. (This is true even if other national teams in the past have had father/son combos.) How can anyone deny this? I blame Gulati.

    It’s too bad Coach Bradley doesn’t take more heat from the media for his unwillingness to experiment in the midfield.

  75. Crosebud says:

    You are all crazy! We should go with Freddy Adu and Jose Torres!

  76. The bums will always lose says:

    The bottom line here is that there is competition, and that is good. While MB is the most consistent of the bunch, on any given day any of the three could be the best defensive minded CM we have, and that’s not a bad thing. Assuming they stay healthy, they will all continue to be called in for camps and they’ll all be able to compete. I don’t buy nepotism arguments at this level so I personally believe that Bob is putting out what he thinks is the best line-up for each game based on performances in camp. If MB continues to start, I’m going to believe it’s because he’s showed himself to be good enough to do so. End of story.

    Once Stu is healthy again I think this gets even more interesting, as when he’s 100% he is, imho, the best two-way player out of any of them.

  77. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    It’s only ‘true’ if another coach would not start MB….and based on those two games any coach would have preferred the performance of Bradley over Jones & Edu. There is little arguing this. And it is not the ‘one shot that was blocked’ that leads one to this conclusion. It is how tidy he is on the ball, how he CONSTANTLY breaks up plays from the other team, winning ball after ball. In the first half of the Argentina game, he may have been the only player with a passing completion rate over 50%. Great? No. But better than the others on the team.
    Personally, I like the pairing ofJones and Bradley. Jones is more creative, more likely to try a creative pass, (see the assist to Jozy in his first USA game as a sample). If this was a ‘must-win’ they would be my starting duo in the middle…and that may have been with a healthy Stu.

  78. shweazy says:

    finally someone with a brain +100, Mike is a decent player but with him in the middle we get the same results all the time, close loses or comebacks vs good teams, we almost never win vs any good teams. The fans seem to be satisified with mediocre and i for one is not . I want us to play to potential and getting the starting lineup correct is essesntial for that. Bob never gets this correct and resorts to pushing Dempsey up to to scrape a lucky goal, while pulling Jrs partner for a more attacking player. its the same story every game.

  79. shweazy says:

    How is Bradley the most consistent ? we consistently go down a goal early in 90% of the games we play and are dominated for possession the majority of the time with jr running around like a headless chicken. Even in our game vs teh Czechs before the world cup we were being ran over before Tores was inserted and he ran the midfield and we came back . Michael is not the Answer and the sooner its realized and his pops is fired the sooner we become the team we can be.

  80. DirtyLeeds says:

    Sorry but you’re a complete idiot if you favor Torres to Bradley.

  81. Micah King says:

    He use to be the best we have. Jones is better then Bradley are you serious ????? Empty bucket everyone was complaining about an empty at forward not center midfield. Also, if Bradley is so good why can’t he beat out the other CM at Villa. Yes, that was a bash on MB. So yeah he was dumb for getting loaned to AV they have a lot of dept at CM. He did nothing in either friendly, so get over he did not perform well. I am getting over we are not going to experiment with the line up.

  82. Tyler says:

    We need a Jones-MB pairing in the center mid with Edu coming off the bench to spell the two until Holden comes back from injury then it’s game on. I wouldn’t mind seeing Edu get some time in the back to ease the congestion in the midfield as the year goes on. That would provide some additional depth on the back line while also making sure Maurice was on the field and able to contribute in ways that still complemented his skill set as a footballer. Rather than focusing on the battle in the midfield (at the end of the day we know they are all about the same caliber of player), we need to be focusing on the defense. The phasing out of our elder statesmen and the integration of the younger guys should be our priority (ie. Chandler, Opara, Lichaj, Boss, maybe even Ream if he continues to prove that the pace of the international game won’t be an issue as he matures)… Oh and then there’s that whole issue about our strikers that we also need to divert more attention to haha but that’s another issue in and of itself

  83. Tyler says:

    Another point: As far as the nepotism is concerned let’s be honest. Bradley earned his way into the team with some great seasons in the Eredivisie and Bundesliga.. Has he perhaps been afforded some slight opportunities that other players not named “Bradley” might not have received in similar circumstances? That will always be debatable. But what we can’t argue is that he is definitely not lacking the class to be on the pitch whenever he plays. The same mistakes that we accuse him of making, we’ve seen Jones and Edu make as well.

  84. Micah King says:

    Bradley is good my only complaint is we do not try anything new we come out every game with Bradley paired with someone else. Maybe BB is scared to try something new cause it might work and MB will be left out who knows ?

  85. Jacker says:

    +2

    Why do people still attack Bradley? He may not have flash, but outside of Howard he’s probably our most consistent player on the entire team. Clinical passing and he does a good job of clogging up the midfield.

    Outside of Holden, he’s also the greatest CM threat to score.

    He was arguably our best overall player throughout the WC an email dude is still getting flack here? Jesus…

  86. Jacker says:

    Email? Damn phone autocorrect!

  87. Rex says:

    Being the best player doesnt mean your best for the team. USA has been on a quest to find a partner for Michael Bradley for years and have never really found it. We have tried everything except find a CM pair that doesnt include MB. Daddy has moved everyone around including guys like Dempsey and Donovan but not MB. Why?

  88. Jacker says:

    What part of best passing percentage and best shot on goal scream nepotism to you, exactly?

  89. Mikey says:

    Bradley has sucked his whole career but Jones has been good? Do you even watch soccer?

    You haven’t made a single argument against Bradley that has any facts or merit.

    Let’s try this:
    Bradley had less turnovers than Jones these last two friendlies despite playing a full 90 more minutes. Bradley led our team in passing in both matches. Each player has one solid strike on goal, Michaels from 30 yards out into the upper corner. Jones was in the box right at the keeper. Bradley wins direct comparison in every statistical category, not to mention better motor despite not getting time at Villa.

    You want to talk about clubs? Yeah how is Jones club doing?

    Michael isn’t getting time at Villa because the manager doesn’t exactly do a good job, not to mention the chemistry the manager is probably worried about. Jones goes to a team where he’s clearly better than the other options. Villas midfield is far superior to Blackburn.

    I can’t believe this has to be spelled out to you. Again, do you even watch soccer? Setiously?

  90. GJJ says:

    I’d put Edu in the back. We have no left back in the hopper and Boca and Demerit are not getting any younger. There’s three possible places he could be used.

  91. Mikey says:

    LOL seriously!

    I don’t understand the logic. Jones was horrible against Argentina and lackluster against Paraguay. Mo was decent against Argentina but horrible against Paraguay. What logic dictates that if you put them together, we magically have a perfect midfield?

    Even better – what about Michael Bradley’s game would either Mo or Jermaine improve? Certainly not possession. Attacking? Neither Mo nor Jermaine took more shots on goal!

    Bradley is forced to act like a DM at times usually because his partner in midfield keeps poorer possession. Seriously, Bradley has been on our our most consistent players. Benching him to try something that would kill our possession in the midfield doesn’t make sense… especially against a country like spain.

  92. tom v says:

    bradley’s also the only player we say play 90 minutes…both bradley and edu had horrible first halfs against argentina…what if bradley had been subbed out? who knows what edu might have done.

    not to mention MB has been playing edu further up the field, a spot that he obviously doesn’t excel in (keep in mind it wasnt that long ago that MB played edu at center back)…

    bradley was our best CM in the past 2 games, sure, but not by much, and not enough to warrant 2 full 90 minute games against 2 players who are in top form for their club

  93. ok says:

    again, bradley was the only one who played a full 90. he and edu both had horrible first halfs against argentina. who knows what edu would have done at the base of the midfield where he belongs, not as an attacking player further up the pitch where MB played him.

    look, i dont see how you can argue with the fact that MB, edu, and jones are all comparable players with a similar skill set. therefore, i dont see how you can argue with the fact that you should try out different combinations and let different players run full 90 in different games. even if you think MB is the best option, i dont see how he’s clearly ahead of either of the two that you dont give other combinations a chance, especially with bradley not playing for his club team.

    finally, a lot of media have never played soccer and most “player ratings” and such are typically way off what an actual coach would do. not trying to be condescending ives, love the site, but it’s a fact in most sports.

  94. tom v says:

    agreed. holden isnt an offensive player. he’s a holding midfielder. should be partnered with one of bradley+jones+edu at the base in a 4-2-3-1.

    watched plenty of bolton’s games, he plays great, btu he’s not an attacking player.

  95. tom v says:

    bradley’s the most consistent because he consistently gets the full 90… we’ve never seen any other pairing in for the full 90, hard to say that it’s inconsistent if it’s never been tried…

  96. MiamiAl says:

    I would like to see what Spector looks like in the midfield.

  97. Josh D says:

    The problem with Bradley is he wont go for the forward pass, too many times in the last game he went for the back pass. There is little use in a central who gets possession but has no idea what to do with it once he gets it.

    At least with Jones he was always getting the ball forward and we know from Edu´s season so far he does the same thing.

    Bradley just runs about disruppting plays..

  98. bizzy says:

    Bradley had a good game against Paraguay. Also he did much better than Edu but lets be real…you are bound to play better if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt your place in CM is secured. No tension…no pressure…no anxiety…No problem.

    There is no player that’ll be benched at his current club, not even coming on as a second half sub and have a guaranteed spot on the team, regardless of what he’s done in the past. When Gladbach need a spark because they were heading for relegation MB started coming on as a second half sub. No one lets their star player sit on the bench or release them on loan……no coach.

    Bradley is a good player but far from the best. In a 4-4-2 system where USA is their strongest, Bradley is not the type of player that you can rely on for the crafty and quality assists (which is “one” of the responsibilities of a quality midfielder) or for the dangerous scoring touch. He’s not gifted with speed, he’s not stronger enough to muscle his way through the midfield, he doesn’t have dribbling skills….so any player that can keep his composure and make good passes, and when pressured pass the ball back to the keeper or a defender can play in Bradley’s spot.

    The problem is not his game, because he hits the pitch and plays his heart out, it’s the fact that his presence disrupts the ability for the USMNT to discover new talent in the midfield because regardless if he has a good day, bad day or doesn’t even play for his club MB will start.

    There is a young and upcoming midfielder that’ll make an impression on the team, like Agudelo did up front, but with BB as coach and MB in the CM that discovery will take a while

  99. KB says:

    “great seasons in the Eredivisie and Bundesliga”

    See this is what I don’t like about Bradley. He has had one great season in Holland. He was good in Holland the rest of the time, but up and down in Germany on a bad team. He finally got benched and now he is riding pine in England.

    His European career has had one great year, some good moments, and a lot of promise with only limited follow-through. It’s been a good career by American standards, but pretty modest by any other.

    He’s played at Heerenveen and Gladbach and his boosters act like that’s the same as starting at PSV and Bayern Munich.

  100. KB says:

    I should say, “this is what I don’t like about Bradley’s fans.”

    Bradley himself is only out doing the best he can.

  101. away goals says:

    You’re kind of begging the question there felix. The whole point is that it’s not clear who the two best are. They’ve each impressed at times and been suspect at others.

    But the comparisons you and most others are making from this friendly series aren’t really apples and apples. True jones had a subpar first half against argentina in a 451 without agudelo or chandler. But so did bradley, edu, and every other usnt player not named tim howard.

    Bradley and edu were given a chance in the second half with a more familiar formation and, to their credit, played very well. But we don’t know how jones would have done in the same circumstances.

    Against paraguay bradley did very well with the 90 minutes he had, including coming within inches of the strike of the year. Edu was unimpressive with his 45. No spectacular howlers, just a forgettable performance. Jones did as well with his 45 as bradley.

    So yeah, what AIOC said, three similar players at roughly the same level.

  102. away goals says:

    Oh and with your sarcastic hypotheticals, you’re in danger of showing how little you understand the game.

    It’s very possible that two slightly less talented players could form a better PARTNERSHIP than either could with a more talented player.

    See lampard-gerrard circa the last 9 years.

  103. Eric says:

    I think the crux of the problem is that people accept that is is MB and someone. Maybe another combination would work better? Are we ever going to see that? Not unless MB gets hurt

    This group is NOT producing goals or chances in numbers. Part of it is making formations that have no chance and part of it is that we have no creative midfielder in BB’s mix. We cannot win but counter attacking and BB has to get a creative guy int there. Also, to be fair, he needs to try other things that do not include MB to see if there’s a better combination. MB is no Claudio Reyna and should not be an automatic starter. We certainly could play just as well without him

  104. mwc says:

    I’ve read all 99 comments and yours is the only one that even mentions the real issue, in my opinion. (Unfortunately, there is no prize.) Our midfield needs a maestro and until we have one, we will always have a midfield issue regardless of formation. I’d rather we spent the time giving Feilhaber, Torres and even Spector a real shot at seeing if they are up to the task. I don’t think Diskerud is ready, but I’m not opposed to him being on the list of candidates. It may sound weird, but I think having an average #10 out there would be better for this team than putting out another good defensive mid.– mwc

  105. Jase says:

    — Donovan — Dempsey —
    — Holden — Edu —
    — Bradley — Jones —
    Boca – Ream – Onyewu – Chandler
    ——– Howard

  106. JD says:

    The only way to put this argument to bed is to have access to reasonable statistics. We all seem to see a different game. I will admit that he does turn to the negative pass too frequently when not under pressure. However, I thought Bradley made a reasonable effort in the Paraguay game to make positive passes.

    Other than major tournaments finding detailed passing and tackling stats for the USMNT is difficult. I wish we had access to something like the Guardian chalkboards for the US game. I’ve seen them publish stats that not only cover passing percentage, but pass direction as well.

  107. Whitehartlane says:

    Bradley earned his way into the team with some great seasons in the Eredivisie and Bundesliga..

    —————————————-

    NO, NO, NO, this is NOT true, must we go over this again. Mikey made his debut, much to my immediate horror as Dad acted like he was unleashing a child prodigy unto the world, at the Gold Cup (Copa Oro) in the summer of 2007.

    Mikey was still a bench warmer at Herenveen and didn’t start to play regularly there until the season following the Gold Cup. Mikey played every match at the Gold Cup and this was the last time that Mandon played a competitive match as a CM, his 2nd half against Guatemala in the group stage being a master class in the art of holding central midfield play (amazing to this day, was that performance).

    It wasn’t good enough for Dad, however, as Mandon has been exiled to the wings to make room for Mikey.

    The best CM for the US in Landon Donovan, fact, not even close, he’s just been playing out of position during the 4 years of Dad’s mismanagement of the Nats.

  108. Whitehartlane says:

    Here, Here! Agreed. Apparently, leading your club (West Ham) at CM to a cup victory over ManU in the snow in the most scintillating perfomance that I have seen this year by a central mid was not enough to impress Dad.

    Oh, he was impressed by Mikey “leading” AV out of the FA Cup, 70 piss-poor minutes and then hauled-off, yeah, that was it.

  109. Whitehartlane says:

    That was Spector who did that for West Ham in the League Cupthis winter, goals, assists, the whole bit. Forgot to put his name in that post.

  110. RB says:

    I don’t understand why so many people on each side of this debate trash the other and polarize things and refuse to allow for any thoughtful middle ground. I’m not at all an MB hater. It seems obvious to me from his performances that he’s a very key part of our midfield and of the team’s ultimate chance at success. Clearly he’s not playing just be wise the coach is his father.

    But at the same time, I also have to wonder not why he always starts but why he _always_ goes the full 90, even in friendlies leading up to big tournaments when we’re trying to figure out a complicated midfield mess.

    Unfortunately the mere introduction of that kind of notion is often enough in these debates to be accused of just being an MB hater and to be bringing the old nepotism charge again, yada yada yada. Such ideas are sacrilege and cannot even be considered or discussed, it seems…

  111. RB says:

    Sorry, “be wise” => because

    (Autocorrect strikes gain!)

  112. MemphisRogues says:

    I absolutely agree regarding an average #10 would be better than another DM: I’d love to see BF more involved in the Nats. He is our greatest unrecognized/underexplored resource. I like Torres too, but he’s having a hard time finding playing time and something tells me he’s the kind of player who must stay working to play at a good standard.

  113. Alejandro Bedoya says:

    C’mon you hurt my feelings when you called me garbage. I say troll.

  114. mwc says:

    Seeing that you may be of like mind, I commend to you the article “Pixy Stix and Water” which you can find by clicking on the “Yanks Abroad Soccer Highlights” link under the “SBI Soccer Blog Roll” above and searching by title.

  115. abc says:

    Jones is 32. He may be acceptable for the Gold Cup but after that it’s time to move on (same goes for Hahnemann, Bocanegra, etc.).

    Our central midfield needs to be Bradley – Holden – Edu because they will be around for the 2014 World Cup.

  116. GW says:

    “Also, if Bradley is so good why can’t he beat out the other CM at Villa. ”

    Your basic reasoning is flawed.

    Aston Villa did not play Argentina and Paraguay. MB doesn’t have to be better than all the other AV midfielders. He just has to be a better option than his US teammates.

    BB has made it very clear that club time is important but he never said it was the only thing.

    MB has proven his worth to the USMNT under fire and has earned the slack his dad is giving him. Will he continue to deserve his time should he not get time at AV? I don’t know and we’ll see.

    As for not experimenting with the lineup that is BS. BB loves to experiment but you experiment with new guys only if they look like they will be a marked upgrade over what you got (Agudelo, Chandler, Ream, Lichaj.

    Why is that? Because,like most National teams the US has little experimental time so you don’t waste it on guys that aren’t going to be much of an upgrade.

    Like this Convey stuff. I saw him play for the USMNT before and first of all, his best was when he was a left sided midfielder and he wasn’t all that great at LB. Maybe he was better than Bornstein but if so not by a whole lot and that was 5-6 years ago when he was at his peak. I haven’t seen SJ this year but unless he is absolutely dominant at LB , I see no reason to bring him in.

  117. abc says:

    Put Spector in the defense replacing anyone but Chandler and that would be 8 midfielders. Let’s try a 2-8-0!

  118. Danny says:

    The fact is we don’t have a maestro and I don’t see one on the horizon. Torres is not that type of player- I don’t know why people on this board seem to think so- is it just because he’s latino? We should also put the Feilhaber talk to rest- is he even playing in Denmark? He is simply not NATS quality player anymore. We need to play to our strengths rather than try to be something we’re not.

  119. GW says:

    “Otherwise let’s try LD in the middle. Chandler on the wing. Lichaj defender. ”

    That’s exactly the formation BB had in the second half of the Paraguay game.

    Holden doesn’t “create”. He is a tireless bulldog who runs all day,fights for every ball and wins a lot of them and in general keeps everyone on their toes. But he is not a “creative” player.

  120. GW says:

    Tell me who are the players who are not starting for the US that would suddenly make the US play like world beaters?

    Name the guys who BB has ignored that are now tearing it up for their clubs making BB look like a fool?

  121. GW says:

    Wow, now there is a conspiracy theory to rival black helicopters.

    You are wrong.

    Bruce Arena gave MB his first two caps.

    From the USSF website:

    May 26, 2006 – Venezuela

    Lineups:

    USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Chris Albright, 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 13-Jimmy Conrad (Capt.), 3-Carlos Bocanegra; 8-Clint Dempsey, 14-Ben Olsen (24-Michael Bradley, 89), 16-Josh Wolff (21-Landon Donovan, 66), 15-Bobby Convey (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 65); 11-Brian Ching, 9-Eddie Johnson (7-Eddie Lewis, 83)

    Subs not used: 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 5-John O’Brien, 6-Steve Cherundolo, 10-Claudio Reyna, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Marcus Hahnemann, 20-Brian McBride, 23-Eddie Pope

    Head Coach: Bruce Arena

    MAy 28- LATVIA

    Lineups:

    USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope, 13-Jimmy Conrad, 7-Eddie Lewis; 4-Pablo Mastroeni (24-Michael Bradley, 83), 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 5-John O’Brien (15-Bobby Convey, 66), 21-Landon Donovan (capt.); 20-Brian McBride, 9-Eddie Johnson (11-Brian Ching, 83)

    Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 2- Chris Albright, 12-Gregg Berhalter, 14-Ben Olsen, 16-Josh Wolff, 19-Marcus Hahnemann, 22-Oguchi Onyewu

    Head Coach: Bruce Arena

  122. Ryan says:

    I agree that it wouldn’t hurt- there’s always the possibility that MB gets hurt or suspended. Also, I can totally agree with you as far as MB not providing much in the attack aside from the possession and that one pretty nifty shot. That’s not what we need from him though- it’s what we need from Stu Holden or Benny Feilhaber, and if either of those two were healthy, I’d imagine they’d have gotten the look at least once.

  123. GW says:

    “There is a young and upcoming midfielder that’ll make an impression on the team, like Agudelo did up front, but with BB as coach and MB in the CM that discovery will take a while”

    That’s a new if rather lame tack.

    Name this hot prospect.

    Bradley is 23. Twenty three. I’d say he’s your young and upcoming midfielder.

  124. ManicMessiah says:

    I think the amount of space that Michael Bradley wants to cover probably doesn’t help his midfield partner, which I said in another post. I know he’s said Roy Keane is a player he wants to emulate, but even Keane eventually realized that to be more effective as a player he curbed down his going forward and played a more stay at home role.

  125. Whitehartlane says:

    These aren’t competitive matches, just a 2-bit friendly, Mikey getting an odd minute. That’s not what we’re talking about, as we all know that was Mikey’s first camp. As I recall, some of our midfielders were hurt and Mikey was called in to be make-up the numbers, much like he’s currently doing at AV.

    FACT, he wasn’t seen in the team again until the following summer, for the Gold Cup.

  126. GW says:

    WHL,

    This is what you wrote:

    “Mikey made his debut, much to my immediate horror as Dad acted like he was unleashing a child prodigy unto the world, at the Gold Cup (Copa Oro) in the summer of 2007.”

    It’s wrong.

    You didn’t write “Mikey made his competitive debut”. You didn’t write ” I first experienced immediate growing horror at the competitive debut of the child prodigy in the 2007 Gold Cup.

    And Arena unleashed MB not his dad. So you were wrong there as well.

    “These aren’t competitive matches, just a 2-bit friendly,”

    So what? They were still his international debut. MB wasn’t dual citizen eligible for two countries at the time. That rule didn’t even exist then.

    “FACT, he wasn’t seen in the team again until the following summer, for the Gold Cup. ”

    Yes, you know why? Because the Lativa game was the USMNT send off for the World Cup and the US did not play another game that year after the tournament was over.

    If this is not what “we” are talking about you should write what you do want to talk about about in the first place instead of expecting people to read your mind.

    You need to be a lot more on top of your “facts” of you are going to start of your sentences with things like “FACT”.

  127. Soccernste says:

    *crickets*

  128. NP Tism says:

    Ah, a reasonable poster!

    I don’t know why MB goes 90 so much,though I can say it’s never really bothered me, becausse I alwasy was very underwhelmed by what was sitting on the bench.

    He did the two 90’s this last set because it’s clear he needs the work for the upcoming Gold Cup and it’s clear he may not get it at AV, whereas, Jones and Edu will at their clubs.

    I was always taught that when people can’t deal with the bigger picture, they like to micromanage. So people argue over whether Benny, Sacha or Torres, three flawed players who have already had their liabilities exposed shouild be on a roster. If they were any good they’d be starters. They aren’t starters but they can be useful role players. Bradley knows talent and he’s not afraid to use it.

    Look at how he has fast tracked Lichaj (all of 0 club starts in the league before he got his first cap). And Bradley wasn’t shy about throwing Chandler, who may not even know where the locker rooms are, in there.

    Edu, MB and Jones are more or less equivalent and frankly, if two of them are in good form it doesn’t really matter which one of them plays. On current form, none of them are going to be the game changer for the US. In fact, I defy anyone to name me the US players who are not now in the USMNT pool, who would suddenly make this team dramatically better.

    I can only think of maybe two, Subotic( he does have a US passport yes?) and Rossi. And we know why they aren’t here.

    Every other name I’ve heard mentioned is a big maybe. BB does have the record for the most new caps given after all.

    And with all that the only US players who have proven they can effectively put the team on their shoulders and carry them to victory are the dynamic duo, Dempsey and Donovan.

    MB is doing what he can to make the team as competitive as he can but his hands are tied because he will have to wait for the next US difference maker to emerge. National team managers don’t develop these guys, clubs do.

    Messi,Xavi, Iniesta were developed by Barca, C Ronaldo by Man U., Rooney by Everton and Man U., Villa by Valencia etc. etc. And that is the key to me.

    We still do not have one guy regularly playing for a champions league contender, while our opponents have plenty. Until then our guys will be hard pressed to develop the savvy and the wherewithal that can only come from playing at the highest levels on a regular basis. US players are talented enough, they just need to get on these teams and start developing. And I think you will see that in the next 5-10 years.

    Until then the national team will be what it is, a tough hard bitten unit who will difficult to beat and win the occasional big game mostly by outfighting the other team and doing whatever they have to do.

  129. Jerome says:

    Jones passing and intellect with the ball is 10 miles above any other US CM on that field. this site is Bradley biased. Who will partner Bradley? Seriously who will partner the player who is currently playing at the highest level of any CM in our pool, who is not injured, and that is Jermaine Jones. Michael bradley backpasses 80% of the time and gets praised by SBI like he plays for Barcelona. he is better than Edu, but not at jermaines level.

  130. mwc says:

    Danny: Feilhaber was playing a lot and playing well for AGF Aarhus prior to the winter break in Denmark. He’s got seven goals and seven assists in twenty games. While his team is in the 2nd tier, they are the league leaders and in a good spot for promotion. I also thought Benny did a pretty good job at the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. Based on this, I am not ready to brand him as “not NATS quality.”

    As for Torres, it is my personal opinion that he has shown flashes of creativity, composure with the ball, good distribution, a good ability with either foot, and an attacking mindset we don’t often see in the USMNT central midfield.

    Am I saying either of these two are a world class #10? No. Can their past play for club and country be the subject of valid criticism? Yes. Despite this, I think Feilhaber and Torres are two of the very few players in the pool who even look close to being a #10. As a result, I’d like to see them get an extended look at that role to see if they can do it or not. — mwc

  131. Micah King says:

    He did not score so that did not show much.

  132. Micah King says:

    But he is not getting club playing time. With no playing club time your form goes bye bye.

  133. Micah King says:

    Sorry my bad forgive me, lol. :D

  134. Polish Wonder says:

    These nepotism arguments remind me of the Arena-Reyna complaints early on. People used to complain on another site that Arena only played Reyna because of their long connection, not because of quality. Then after finding out the USA couldn’t hold possession without Reyna, they stopped complaining. People expected Reyna to be the pure assist man, and didn’t understand his role as a traffic director.

    Jones and Edu were both really shaky more than they should have been. Bradley did a good job of maintaining possession.

  135. Jonathan says:

    You mean, like say, uh… Adu?

  136. RB says:

    Sorry but do you ever engage in civil conversation and/or attempt to contribute anything of value to the discussion? Because that’s the third or fourth time you’ve just thrown out a “you’re an idiot” line in this discussion alone…

  137. RB says:

    MLS Extra Time podcast also claimed that this week, but multiple online sources show Jermaine Jones as 29, and that he’ll still be 32 through the WC in Brazil and even a few months beyond it.

  138. RB says:

    FIFA’s link on Jones agrees with others that he was born Nov 3, 1981:

    link to fifa.com

  139. DirtyLeeds says:

    He’s made about 10 stupid comments all saying that Bradley sucks and then throws out Torres as his replacement… Torres!!

    And cites his performance vs the Czechs, when I guess Bradley had a bad game. Lets not mention Torres being completely out of his depth in his lone WC appearance or how well Bradley played in the WC when the games actually counted.

    Ives poll was 93% in favor of Bradley, the dudes a loon and comments such as his do not deserve a measured response because they are not based in anything rational to begin with.

  140. Hush says:

    I personally thought Bradley was decent in the Paraguay game, and in the Argentinian game he was decent for 35 minutes or so. For those saying that Bradley had the better performances out of the three might be a little misleading. Keep in mind that he was the only one out of the three that had 180 minutes of playing time. Jones exit in the Paraguayan game let Bradley & Edu have more breathing room in the middle, therefor better play. I think if Bradley exits that Argentinian game in the second half and MO & Edu would have taken over, I strongly believe we would have seen better results than the Bradley and MO/Jones. Right now in my opinion EDU is a better player overall than Bradley. Bradley does have a strong heart for the game, but Edu is much more natural as a futbol player overall. Jones by far is the better of the two. Those who can’t see it are probably in denial.:)

    Overall I’m glad we have decent talent in our pool to have these arguments.

    EDU & JONES is what I would like to see.

  141. RB says:

    But this description

    “comments such as his do not deserve a measured response because they are not based in anything rational to begin with”

    fits for most of your comments here (chunks of the above being a welcome exception). Obviously you _can_ disagree with someone and provide a rationale for that disagreement that furthers the discussion, it seems you just choose not to on a number if occasions, preferring to name calling and personal insults.

  142. bizzy says:

    Let him make the starting 11 for Villa or better yet start coming on as a second half sub or start getting some quality assists under his belt as the CM for the USMNT then maybe he’ll be that up and coming midfielder……right now it’s like a gun and magazine package and we’re going to war, MB loads the rounds and Altidore fires the shot….so far they are both “BLANKETS”!!!!! In other words when you get “nothing” you give “nothing”…..

  143. MiamiAl says:

    I agree Spector looked excellent against Man U. Bob Bradley does not know how to coach. We all know this. Just like we all know that Bob Bradley will NEVER win a World Cup.

  144. DirtyLeeds says:

    1) There’s no point to in laying out an argument to someone like him cause clearly hes mental over Bradley. Illustrated by his spamming up the comment section with irrational Bradley hatred. I mean Torres? seriously, c’mon, just go support another country if you’re so upset by Bradley playing that you would put Torres in his place.

    2) its the internet not emily post school of manners, thicken your skin and calm down.

  145. RB says:

    Yeah, OK. And thanks for further proving the point.