The USMNT Daily Update: Bradley resume training and what his comeback means for the USMNT qualifiers

MichaelBradleyRedStripes (ISIPhotos.com)

By John Todd/ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

Both Jurgen Klinsmann and U.S. Men's National Team fans everywhere breathed sighs of relief this morning amid word that midfielder Michael Bradley was back in full training with AS Roma after being sidelined for the past three weeks with a thigh injury.

Bradley's return gives him two weeks to get match fit and prepares for the USMNT's remaining qualifiers in October, first against Antigua & Barbuda on Oct. 12th, then against Guatemala on Oct. 16th. His return is crucial to the U.S. team's chances of fielding as strong a team as possible for the matches that will ultimately determine if their World Cup qualifying hopes remain alive.

No, the USA shouldn't need Bradley to beat Antigua & Barbuda, or to beat Guatemala at home, but the midfield's struggles in Jamaica illustrated just what the team misses when Bradley's dominant presence is missing.

What will be interesting to see is who Klinsmann fits around Bradley for the upcoming qualifiers. Jermaine Jones has long been preferred as a midfield partner, but Danny Williams' showing against Jamaica in Columbus (and his improving form with club side Hoffenheim) has him on the rise.

Klinsmann sees Bradley in a more advanced central midfield position than the anchor No. 6 role most recently filled by Williams. Jones tried playing Bradley's role in the September qualifiers but struggled badly in Kingston before showing some improvement in the return match in Columbus.

Here is the USMNT midfield we could see start vs. Antigua & Barbuda:

Donovan———-Bradley——–Dempsey

——————–Jones———————

Before anybody even dares say it, NO this layout does NOT mean Bradley is a playmaker. It just shows how he will be in a more advanced role than Jones. This quartet would play behind two forwards, most likely Herculez Gomez and Jozy Altidore. As we have seen in the past, when Bradley and Jones are paired centrally neither really sits deep for the majority of the time. Both players tend to surge forward when they can. I would lay out the formation to look more like this, though it will probably too reminiscent of the Bob Bradley era for Klinsmann to ever concede he was playing a 4-4-2 with deep-lying central midfielders

———–Altidore——Gomez————-

Donovan—————————Dempsey

————Jones——-Bradley————-

What we will need to see is whether Klinsmann learned any lessons about leaving forwards stranded like the USMNT did in Kingston. That might prevent him from trotting out this attack, though it should be noted that having Landon Donovan in the lineup across from Clint Dempsey in midfield would give Herculez Gomez and Jozy Altidore much more support than they saw against Jamaica.

The game on Oct. 16th vs. Guatemala will be an interesting one because what Klinsmann tries to do will likely be determined largely by the result the USMNT manages in Antigua. If we stick to the notion that the USA will attak more at home, we could see this front six:

———-Gomez———–Dempsey——-

Donovan———-Bradley————-Zusi

——————-Williams—————–

Some might ask why not just play Bradley in the deep role and slide Dempsey into the playmaking role (like this):

———-Gomez———–Altidore——-

Donovan———-Dempsey———–Zusi

——————–Bradley—————–

Klinsmann has never really used Bradley in an anchor role (though he has shown in the past on the club level that he can certainly handle that role well). For my money, if Klinsmann is convinced Zusi can handle a starting role (and he sure did impress against Jamaica) then I would personally love to see this front six go at Antigua & Barbuda as well as 

Whichever way Klinsmann goes, his options are improved exponentially by the presence of Bradley, who brings a presence to the middle of the field no other American central midfielder does. Now all Klinsmann and the national team need is for Bradley to stay healthy for the next three weeks so he can resume his role as the indispensable backbone of the U.S. midfield.

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117 Responses to The USMNT Daily Update: Bradley resume training and what his comeback means for the USMNT qualifiers

  1. Dan says:

    Ives, do you think we should issue an Amber Alert for everyone who cried nepotism for so many years?

  2. Bob says:

    USMNT Daily Update? Awesome!!

  3. DeLarge says:

    6 points, we can do it.

  4. RLW2020 says:

    all three scenarios look great; it is great to have bradley, donovan and demps all on the same field!!!

    the last one looks lethal but i wouldn’t be opposed to starting the game in the 442 and bringing Zusi in for Jones some point after the opposition is contained.

    Most of all i hope we get comfortable and confident wins here.

  5. Waterlewd says:

    If the field is as crappy as the one in Jamaica, I’d like to see Dempsey up top. He could win some knock downs and it’s important to get our best finishers closer to the goal. Sometimes you gotta force it on those crap fields. We have to change our game to match the conditions.

  6. Vic says:

    I could see Torres starting. Klinnsmann likes him and he had one of his best games against Jamaica.

  7. WK says:

    Where’s the speed on the wing? Fabian has it and can get forward on overlapping runs w/ Donovan, but I sure do miss the top gear like CD9 once showed.

  8. Freddie F. says:

    For heavens sake, I hope Klinsmann calls up Lichaj to play LB so we can move Fabian to LW. That would improve our attack immensely.

  9. Shane says:

    Precisely and that game showed what a witless coach Klinsmann is. He complained about the field being bumpy in the middle yet the US only put one cross into the box. Un-freaking believable. It’s coaching 101 to consider match conditions. Yet Klinsmann insists on his style that doesnt, incidently, resemble anything like what he said our new style would be. Jeez it is irritating

  10. Shane says:

    How about an amber alert for Stu Holden.

  11. Good, I hope this means that Beckerman and Torres are on the outside looking in. Don’t get me wrong, I like those guys, but they just don’t deliver for the Nats. Beckerman makes a million passes that get the team nowhere and Torres just kinda blends in with the grass out there. Go Michael!

  12. Agreed, I like having Dolo around, but his experience doesn’t translate to kinetic energy on the field (although he did very well with two early crosses at Columbus.) Licaj is getting more playing time with AV and deserves another look.

  13. jb says:

    I’m curious, and a little anxious, about how Bradley would pair with D Williams behind him as the 6. That seems to me to be the ideal central pairing, but it seems like Bradley gets confused/unsure of his role sometimes when paired with an unfamiliar player, and ends up trying to do too much. Bradley usually seems comfortable with Jones, but not with Edu or Beckerman or Torres. I would also love to see Zusi get another run out with Donovan on the other wing, Dempsey as withdrawn striker.

  14. Jake_NJ says:

    We should know if Chandler is getting capped or out the door this October.

  15. Falsify says:

    I would like to see Dolo and Zusi on the right side. They seemed to pair up well last time.

  16. Waterlewd says:

    If he’s in form, I’d say give the keys to Donovan for the A&B match. Let him find the game left, right, center, or behind. We’d have the power up front and the speed in Donovan to keep them honest. Then have Williams and Johnson play seesaw in the midfield to bust up counter attacks or whip in crosses. Most importantly, it’d get Dempsey, Altidore and Donovan moving and swapping positions.

    4-3-1-2
    –Dempsey—–Altidore-
    ——–Donovan——–
    Johnson–Bradley–Williams

    I see it now. Altidore gets the ball played to feet 35 yards out, Donovan makes a vertical run that catches the defenders attention and allows Jozy to easily turn and run at the defender like a charging bull. Faking inside and cutting outside, Jozy creates space for himself and unleashes a blast from 25 yards. Goal.

  17. Mario says:

    How about an Amber alert for Josh Gatt?
    Does he exist?

  18. Scott says:

    No. You inaccurately ascribe his current form to past decisions. He has improved dramatically since moving to Serie A.

  19. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    hahahahahahaha… aww.

  20. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    “Improved dramatically”? Perhaps your ascription is the one that is inaccurate.

    He was deserving all along, but only now is rewarded with the accolades presumptive to a Serie A player.

    Enough of the dictionary. Dude balls.

  21. Shawn says:

    Holden isn’t even playing for club. How can he play for the USMNT when he’s not match fit enough for Bolton to risk him?

  22. Shawn says:

    I *think* Zusi gets the start in front of his home fans. But that’s just a guess.

  23. Scott says:

    In the Bundesliga, and with the USMNT, he was a “cushion” defender that gave and gave. When on the ball, he was a high percentage passer…who attempted very few passes that pressured the opponents and he was a card prone hot head. He did go through phases in which other options were worthy of a look. Since moving to Serie A, he has maintained his high percentage passing, however, they are more often passes that stretch the opponent. He also is providing higher and harder pressure and winning the ball farther upfield and doing this with fewer cards. I liked him then, and now, I just don’t wear blinders and ignore reality. He is a much more polished player now, than then.

  24. Shawn says:

    Donovan isn’t useful in the center at International Level. This was proven repeatedly under Arena and Bradley both. He’s not a big player, and his greatest asset, pace, gets taken away when he is forced to play centrally.

    Better for LD to be on the wing and allowed the freedom to cut in from the flanks. That said, I’m all for flipping the wingers to the opposite flanks every 10mins or so.

  25. abc says:

    Hey man whatever you need to tell yourself to not feel like a dbag for all the nepotism nonsense… but he was one of the best players at Herenveen, one of the two best at Gladbach, and the best American at the World Cup.

  26. Louis Z says:

    I agree with Scott, this MB is different that then MB that played under BB. People that don’t see the change in his play just don’t want to see reality. You want a test? if he was always this good he should have gone directly to a ROMA team or similar, not start out at CHIEVO.

  27. abc says:

    1. Torres is not a starter on a team with as many talented and versatile midfielders as ours, against any level of international competition.
    2. Jones is a 6, even though he wants to be an 8. Bradley is an 8, even though he wants to be a 6. Klinsmann needs to realize this. This isn’t some rec league where you get to pick your favorite position.
    3. Zusi looked good, but let’s not anoint him based on one game at home against an inferior opponent that was sitting back.
    4. If Klinsmann is going to be an idiot and play too many defensive midfielders, he should be using guys who have a minimal level of versatility (not Beckerman) and passing ability (not Edu) like Bradley and Danny Williams.
    5. Jones isn’t reckless, name the last time he was red carded for either the national team, Schalke, or Blackburn.

  28. PD says:

    Isn’t “dude balls” a redundancy?

    Oh wait, now I get it. Nevermind.

  29. beachbum says:

    you mean he’s matured given the opportunities he earned and deserved and so continues to improve? wow, what an insight

    Also, your assertion he didn’t get forward is off as he did that repeatedly when his dad coach, like vs. Slovenia. And your assertion he didn’t stretch the field as often is off as for some time now he’s been the best central link up midfielder in the pool…for many years now.

    what’s most interesting is that all the calls from the MB bashers was that all that was required was for others to get opportunities and we’d all see what a handcuff Michael was to the team

    what a pile of manure that was revealed to be

  30. PD says:

    ——–Gomez———–
    LD——-Dempsey—-Zusi
    —-Bradley——-Jones—
    Johnson–Cam–Boca–‘dolo

    subs:
    Jozy for LD,
    Williams for Jones,
    Torres for LD

  31. beachbum says:

    he has changed and evolved as all players do, but claiming only now is he worthy is garbage and has been for many years. People that don’t see that just don’t see reality either.

  32. Louis Z says:

    I can’t remember the last time Dempsey played RM, either he has played as the withdrawn 10 or the LM with mixed results. I think Williams against A&B should be a better matchup, he can take a physical opponent better than Jones.

  33. Louis Z says:

    worthy of what? all I said he is way better than before, others claim he was always this good which I don’t agree. P.s. not all players evolved, otherwise all leagues would be full of exceptional players.

  34. 2tone says:

    Yep that’s what I would go with.

  35. 2tone says:

    No, no. I would start Jozy who is scoring goals. Gomez has been relegated to the bench for Santos.

  36. Stephen says:

    I would like to see Lichaj at RB, but I don’t think we can replace Johnson at LB. He has that position locked IMO. And we don’t need him to play LM. Cherundolo is still in good form though so I don’t think we will see Lichaj, except maybe at RM.

  37. Dennis says:

    Still time for any or all of Demps, MB and Landon to get injured. It is premature to say they all will be available. But, yes there is a good chance.

  38. david m says:

    Yeah, what a lousy player he was to be playing on just a middle-of-the-table Serie A team! And before that in the Bundesliga. The US has always had tons of Bundesliga and Serie A players.

  39. Dennis says:

    With bumpy fields, I think you want players with quick feet and players who know how to keep the play in front of themselves. There is no set of US players who fit that description perfectly. MB could have quicker feet, but he is smart enough to stay well-positioned, same for Jones, but he is a bit more likely to tackle from behind. Beckermann’s feet are just too slow for errant bounces. Torres is quick enough, but hasn’t show for the US the kind of cohesion with the rest of the team needed to address random bounces. The back line Johnson, Cameron and Cherundolo should all do fine and Boca will probably lie deep enough that his lack of speed might not hurt too much. Attacking on a rough field, Guys like Gomez, Dempsey and Wondo who all know how to get into good spots and pounce on a misplayed ball are good choices. Altidore’s speed and power can be useful depending upon how the game goes. Zusi seems quick enough, but the randomness that is added by a rough pitch might unsettle him more than the opponents.

  40. Shane says:

    Not asking for a call up just some explanation as to why he is missing for so long. It’s not as if he was involved in a fatal car crash yet Davies is at least playing soccer.

  41. Shane says:

    Come on Dennis. If the field sucks you dont try long risky passes all game long. If you’re capable of an air game, which the US is, then you use it. And I’m not talking long ball, just use the width of the field and get some crosses in. One cross into the box the entire game, that never happens with the US, but it did that night in Jamaica on a bumpy pitch. Klinsmann is at fault, why people wont call him out is beyond me.

  42. Da Truth says:

    Michael bradley still sucks….. He doesnt know where he should be when Jones is on the field. He will never push forward and take an opponent on 1 vs 1 while in possession.

    Please call in Ricardo Bocanegra

  43. Isaac says:

    I kinda wanna see this

    ———–Altidore———Gomez————

    ——————–Dempsey——————

    ————Donovan———Bradley———-

    ——————-Williams——————

    —-Johnson————————Cherundolo

    ————Bocanegra——Cameron———–

    ———————Howard——————

    Donovan and Bradley are the best passers on the U.S. national team right now and I think they’re best suited to help us dictate the pace and play of the game. Moreover, I think we need to get that triangle of Donovan, Bradley, and Dempsey to interact. Those three are our best players and our best chances will come from these three.

  44. jones says:

    Agree with PD – I think Dempsey preforms best in the withdrawn striker type role, so I would like to see this. Or, take Zusi out, move Gomez to the wing and put Altidore up top.

  45. jones says:

    I like the lineup, but I would push Gomez to the wing and move Bradley to the center with Williams (or Jones) just under Dempsey. With Bradley’s skill set, you wouldn’t really want him on the outside.

  46. Isaac says:

    The thing is I think Altidore, Bradley, Gomez, and Donovan will have the freedom to be as wide or central as they want. Donovan will likely play wider than Bradley, and Gomez will play wider than Altidore, but all four will take their turns. That’s why I like this lineup. Overall, it’s a skinny 4-4-2 diamond.

  47. beachbum says:

    worthy of what?

    worthy of his callups, both now and before his Serie A stint, both with his continually improved play of today and before (like all thru the last WC cycle). players do all evolve, some poorly

  48. SuperChivo says:

    You had me until 5

  49. Da Truth's friend Bert says:

    I’ve been waiting years for the ol Dick Blackmouth call up

  50. jones says:

    I see what you’re saying, but I worry about width. I suppose Johnson and Dolo will help out, but I still wish we had another decent winger in the pool.

  51. CConk says:

    Jozy Gomez
    Dempsey Donavan
    Bradley Jones
    Williams
    Johnson Cameron Boca Cherundalo
    howard

    With Gomez slightly behind Jozy to pick up the scraps and Dempsey and Donavan on the outside to cut it back in.
    Johnson and Cherundalo will still be able to overlap on the wings and help spread the field and giving Bradley and Jones more space in the middle.
    And Bradley is nothing but class and he and Jones seem to have an understanding when together most of the time. He is going to be one of the best us products. If it starts to fall apart move Jones next to Williams and Dempsey up next to Jozy and Gomez. With Bradley slightly drawn back behind Donavan. What I’m trying to say is a modern team needs to be able to adjust and adapt to what they are facing.
    Just my two cents.

  52. CConk says:

    Yeah, I’m tired, no sleep catching up to me. this would work great with if we could sneak an extra play on. Get rid of Jones and move Bradley up behind Dempsey and Donavan.

  53. CConk says:

    Like it.

  54. Steve says:

    Why not just play them in their natural role:

    —————Altidore—————-
    —–Dempsey————–Donovan—-
    ———–Bradley—-Jones————
    —————Williams—————
    -Johnson–Boca——Goodson—Dolo—
    ————-Howard—————–

    I would feel safe with that lineup…………

  55. Mario says:

    Or Timothy Bornstein

  56. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Bradley improve as a player. It is great to see him back training and ready for qualifiers. I don’t think it will be to much longer until USA is as good as soccer powerhouses.

  57. GW says:

    You seem to be under the impression that talent alone is what determines a player’s success. MB is what 24?

    Do you think Roma or Chievo for that matter would have signed MB 90 at his age if they thought they had to teach him how to tackle or pass the ball?

    They aren’t as stupid as you think they are.

    All that nice passing (and the other good things)he is doing now for Roma and that he did for Chievo? I saw him do that for BMG and occasionally for the USMNT, just not as frequently or as comfortably.

    At 24 he is not developing new skills per se. What has happened is he has now found a more structured environment with players and a staff that appreciate him and what he can do and have to the talent to take advantage of that.

    For example, Holden already had his skills and talent at Houston, Coyle and Bolton gave him an EPL platform and better teamates to play with. Same with Donovan at Everton with Moyes.

    And because he has done well Bradley’s confidence, in need of a bit of a boost after the Villa fiasco,is now at an all time high. And confident players play better.

    “if he was always this good he should have gone directly to a ROMA team or similar, not start out at CHIEVO.”

    No.

    Italy is a big culture shock for a player new to the league and the country. Chievo gave Mikey a chance to learn the language, the culture (of the league as well as of the country) and the style of play in the league, etc. etc.

    The competition is fierce at Roma. His time at Chievo gave him a chance to acclimate and prepare.

    His success at Chievo also made it far more likely that the people at Roma would take a chance on him in the first place.

    You look more appealing to them as a succesful, dominant player from Chievo rather than a reject who played ten seconds with Aston Villa and was kicked off the team by his manager in Germany.

  58. GW says:

    “Klinsmann is at fault, why people wont call him out is beyond me.”

    Probably because you are wrong.

    Away game, crap field, hostile crowd, big nasty, fast athletic oppostion, missing your most of your best attacking players and the one who is there is completely out of shape.

    In that case, you don’t care about offense per se,you field a very defensive lineup and shut it down early and often.

    They had the gift of a first minute goal that should have been enough.

    The players lost this game. And they really only needed a tie. The players could not get their set piece defense organized. Without those set piece goals the US wins 1-0.

  59. Lost in Space says:

    I’d flip Jones and Bradley…otherwise I think you’ve got it. Would like to see Lichaj and Chandler as Outside back options too. Gives us the option of pushing Johnson further foward…or subbing Dolo if needed.

  60. GW says:

    If your best player plays better with player X, you pair him with player X.

  61. GW says:

    “Donovan isn’t useful in the center at International Level. This was proven repeatedly under Arena and Bradley both”

    Horse manure.

    Arena was quoted as saying the problem with Donovan is that he is your best player wherever you play him. In the 2002 World Cup he was paired up front with McBride and has basically played everywhere ever since.

    “He’s not a big player, and his greatest asset, pace, gets taken away when he is forced to play centrally.”

    I guess all those litle Barca guys should stay out of the middle of the field. I guess Messi’s speed and quickness has been neutralized because he is so often centrally located, huh?

    Speed is an asset everywhere on the field. When you play centrally you always have the freedom to head out to the flanks. On a good team others cover for you.

    Donovan has always turned up wherever he is most needed. Do you think his manager is going to sub him out because he is on the left wing instead of the right?

  62. Chivo says:

    4 outof 5 ain’t bad.

  63. Evan W says:

    I really hope you didn’t just call Bradley (who is 25 by the way not 24) our best player….. He isn’t even in the same class as Dempsey. Donovan is still a better player as well. I would even argue that Jones, Altidore, and Johnson are better players.

  64. b says:

    5 is pretty much a question. So if you don’t agree, why don’t you tell us when Jones was last red carded?

  65. rusty says:

    Boca Raton Malmstein

  66. Sunil Gulati says:

    No EJ 2.0?

  67. WiscFan says:

    +1 I’ve been waiting to see this one for a while.

  68. Evan W says:

    I agree with Scott. Bradley has certainly improved in the past year but I still don’t think he is as good as everyone is making him out to be. He has played one game for Roma, was solid for Chievo but certainly not exceptional. I would like for someone to name two games that Bradley has played for the US in the past year and a half where he has looked really good. I’ll give him Scotland but what other game?

  69. Kevin says:

    how about the road win over Italy when he was our best player? Best central midfielder since Reyna easily and has been for a while

  70. Stu says:

    Another D-Mid for Klinsmann to use….awesome news

  71. biff says:

    Why all the anger toward Scott, Ewan W, Louis Z up above for simply giving their opinions on Michael Bradley’s development as a soccer player? Can someone please explain to me why it it perfectly okay to point out that Jozy Altidore has improved dramatically during the past year playing for AZ, but anyone who says the same about MB is attacked?

    This is a forum for people to give their opinions about soccer and what the guys up above said is actually quite mild and absolutely correct: MB has improved dramatically over the past year. Part of that improvement is no doubt because of the move to a lower level team like Chievo after his troubles during the end of his time at Gladbach and followed by the disappointing fiasco of Aston Villa. At Chievo, MB was guaranteed 90 minutes per game and had Italian coaches working with him to improve his skills. It was a great move for MB and he took advantage of it and worked hard and he succeeded in improving his game.

    I also think part of MB’s improvement the past year can be attributed to Bob Bradley being fired as USMNT coach. Whereas MB had a guaranteed starting position under his father on the USMNT roster plus a guaranteed 90 minutes per game, even when he was not playing at the club level and was not in good form, MB had no such assurances under Klinsmann. That basically shook MB up and he realized it was a whole new ball game and he needed to pick up his game and he did. Nothing wrong with that. Even one of the writers for a big newspaper said that the change in coaches appeared to have lit a fire under MB. I think Klinsmann is the best thing that ever happened to MB and Klinsmann should be given credit for his role in MB’s improvement as a player.

    There is a logical reason why Roma, which was strongly linked to MB in the summer of 2011, waited until the summer of 2012 to pull the trigger. Quite simply, MB was not good enough in 2011 but he improved dramatically and was good enough by the summer of 2012 for Roma to bring him on board. Everyone should be happy that he has improved, just as we are happy to see Jozy’s progress.

  72. Evan W says:

    He was certainly not our best player that game (Dempsey and Altidore being better) but I will admit when I am wrong, he did play very well that game. Thats two good games….

  73. Evan W says:

    Biff, you make too much sense for these clowns. Just be careful when mentioning Altidore’s improvement or you might be torn apart on here.

  74. Lorenzo says:

    Yeah, wrong dude. We can go back and look at great simple passes he made when he was starting out. He certainly wasn’t as good as he is now. But look up the Michael Bradley video with him in the u-20 world cup and MNT. He was making nice and more than “easy” passes.

    I think one might say that when he was younger the things he did were simpler and easier to discount, where he now has gotten better at the going forward part- so good in fact that it is very hard to go unnoticed.

  75. Scott says:

    Not a basher, haven’t used the word nepotism, have liked him since before he cut his hair, etc. Love the way you people go straight to hate. But to say that his game was such that no other player ever deserved to have a start in his place is wrong headed. To cherry pick a game that fits your argument and ignore numerous others is insincere. As to my insight, you miss the point. I was pointing out his recent improvement when another poster like you points to how good he “is” and then goes back a few years to say all of the MB haters were wrong. Current performance vs. past decisions.

  76. Scott says:

    Liked him then, didn’t bash him. Didn’t insult him. Lose the hate. The only thing worse than Bradley bashers are those that love him so much they can’t take any non-love comments about him.

  77. Scott says:

    Never used the word nepotism. Learn to read. Gladbach got rid of him AV didn’t keep him after the loan and Gladbach didn’t take him back and he went to a bottom dwelling Serie A team. I watched him most weeks during that time. He changed when he went to Chievo Not sure if he changed his mind on how to play the game. Maybe he went back to how he wanted to play the game. Maybe his new coach or system helped. He changed for the better that year. Saying that he changed for the better is not an insult. Saying that there were stretches with the USMNT where he could have been sat a game or two is not an insult. It also is not to say that, at times, he was great. Young kid, growing and maturing. Most of them sit the bench a game or two now and then. But if that takes you to a dbag comment…that is a YOU problem.

  78. Shawn says:

    He’s still missing because he’s not match fit. Holden isn’t screaming to get into matches on Twitter. That should tell you they’re on the same page as far as his recovery goes.

    There was a horrific broken leg, followed by an almost as horrific knee injury that occurred in no small part because he rushed himself the 1st time. They’re going to make sure he’s physically 100% before committing him to the pitch again.

    And they should.

  79. Shawn says:

    Wrong. He was exceptional for Chievo, or Roma wouldn’t have bought him.

  80. Shawn says:

    I wouldn’t say he’s ‘different’ than the one who played under BB. That MB scored on a box-to-box run vs Mexico and was a good player in his own right.

    I’ll agree that he’s GROWN as a player. But he was never as bad as the nepotism crowd, and while his deserving to start in the last World Cup may have been a commentary on our lack of quality depth in midfield as much as his talent, he was never undeserving.

  81. Shawn says:

    Messi’s a free-roler playing striker. And Messi is a one of a kind player. Comparing ANYONE to Messi is unfair.

    And yes, Messi may be small, but he’s hard to knock off the ball because of his skill and low center of gravity. LD doesn’t have those traits, so he’s easier to muscle.

    Also, LD is a player who needs to be on the ball to be happy. If he’s marked out for 10 mins, he can disappear for the match.

    And did I say left wing or right? No, I said he should start on the wing, where there’s more space, and then have the freedom to cut in as the match allows. I also mentioned switching wings.

    Because you know, Marc Overmars and Robben and other Dutch wingers NEVER come into the middle. At least have the courtesy to read what’s read, instead of your assumptions.

    I want LD to free role. But not where he can be marked by three players in the center of the pitch. It’s not where he’s best. And look back at all the ‘disappearing Landon’ matches and see where he played in 75% of them. Coincidence? I think not.

  82. Evan W says:

    Exceptional is a pretty big exaggeration, Roma has some great players but is not the team they used to be. I think Roma will be a good move for him but a lot of people on here are over rating Bradley.

  83. Scott says:

    With the way Jones is all over the field, up and back, it probably makes pairing with him difficult. When Bradley has a good holding mid behind him, he is able to play his game. With Jones all over the field, I think he is split between his assignment and making sure Jones didn’t vacate his as MB moves forward. Personally, I think that MB would pair better with Williams. By the way, Boca gets called in every game and doesn’t play in the midfield. Or were you thinking Ricardo Clark? If so, he is definitely down/off the depth chart from MB.

  84. biff says:

    +1 Amen. So true.

  85. Thomas says:

    Agreed. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a daily Bradley sucks, no Altidore sucks, fest.

  86. biff says:

    And just want to add about the comments above asserting that MB is indispensable to the USMNT. Nobody, I repeat, nobody is indispensable to the USMNT. Not Landon Donovan, not Clint Dempsey, not Tim Howard, and certainly not Michael Bradley. Yes, MB is an important member of the team. But he is not indispensable. We have other talented midfielders and can do quite nicely, thank you, even with MB is absent, as we did in August with the historic win against Mexico in Mexico City and as we did in the second WCQ Jamaica game earlier this month in Columbus after Klinsmann fielded a more attack-minded line-up than the 3 defensive midfielder disaster he played in Kingston. If Klinsmann sticks with an attacking line-up in the Antigua and Guatemala games in October, the USMNT will have no trouble winning–with or without MB. There is no need to exaggerate the importance of any single player to the USMNT. Doing so makes it appear as if the Exaggerate-Tor is promoting a personal agenda rather than the team as a whole.

  87. Waterlewd says:

    So, you just looked at the formation, and didn’t read my tactical description of Donovan’s role? Cool. And this is only for the A&B match. Hardly int’l level.

  88. Bobeto says:

    Ives,
    Can you give us an update on Holden? He has been completely off the radar for club and country? Is his career in jeopardy? I would like to see Diskarud given a chance rather then inviting Beckerman or another MLS midfielder.

  89. Andy says:

    —————Altidore—————-
    —–Donovan—–Dempsey—-Zusi—-
    ———Williams—–Bradley———–
    -Johnson–Boca——Cameron—Dolo—
    ————-Howard—————

  90. bryan says:

    the update is that there is no update!!!! Ives has said this OVER AND OVER. he should be back training in Oct. or Nov. the same timeline it’s been for a long time. then he’ll still have to get his fitness back, his touch back, and then get into games. at that point, we can see how he’ll figure into the USMNT.

  91. bryan says:

    i have to disagree. Gladbach did NOT get rid of him, he wanted to move to a bigger team. so he went to AV and failed. and Gladbach, who was not happy with him leaving, said he was surplus requirements now. not because he didn’t have the talent, but because he “wronged” them. and after a bad time at AV, it was no question it would be hard to find a good team. luckily Chievo took a chance on him, he re-focused, and did extremely well for a very boring team. and now he is with Roma.

    having said that, i will agree it was ridiculous he ALWAYS started for the USMNT during his bad stretch at AV and was NEVER subbed out if he was having a poor game.

    but he certainly has always deserved to be in the team and, aside fro the AV spell, has deserved to start for the USMNT.

  92. bryan says:

    idk man, i think it’s ridiculous to make some gigantic assumption like that. the players did not play well at all. we didn’t even have the ball in enough dangerous situations to even be able to cross the ball. i don’t think it was a lack of a tactical game plan, but rather a lack in the execution.

  93. ThaDeuce says:

    I’m for
    gomez altidore
    donovan bradley deuce
    williams

    dempsey sometimes doesn’t defend as hard in the center as he does on the wing.

  94. bryan says:

    agree with all 5.

  95. Dinho says:

    Dennis = Debbie Downer

  96. Amru says:

    I can dig it

  97. Louis Z says:

    ??? I don’t getting from you guys…I have never said he was bad or not worthy, yet some of you just ran with like.

  98. Louis Z says:

    Don’t say it too loud. GW may hear you. MB was always a good player. I think now he is more of a complete player.

  99. GW says:

    Evan,

    In fact, I just did call MB our best player.

    Now we get into what you mean by “best”. In this instance I’m talking about the best player during JK’s short tenure. And it goes without saying that I’m talking about their performances for the USMNT.

    Howard has done well but he is a keeper and I generally put them in their own separate category.

    Donovan and Dempsey, the usual suspects have been either too absent or too inconsistent.

    The only competition then for MB is Johnson but because MB is a central midfielder I just believe his influence is greater.
    Jones has had a few stinkers though he is much better than most of you think.

    And Jozy, are you kidding? We’re not talking about his play for AZ, we’re talking about his play for US.

  100. AMPhibian says:

    great article, Ives.

  101. GW says:

    “And yes, Messi may be small, but he’s hard to knock off the ball because of his skill and low center of gravity. LD doesn’t have those traits, so he’s easier to muscle.”

    The reason Messi is hard to “muscle” is because, in addition to his ball skills,he is so quick and fast that it is hard to get a body on him.

    Also, his teamates, most of whom are not a lot bigger than Leo, are mostly just like that and if you try to “take out” Messi and miss, you will probably wind up way out of position and no team is better and faster at exploiting that sort of blunder than Barca. So defenders are very wary of that entire teams quickness. Messi is his own play action pass. Speed kills.

    Barca evolved their present style in part as a response to the bigger, stronger players from other countries.

    Donovan has been a high level pro for about 14 years. In my view he is probably the most talented all around player the US has ever produced.

    If stopping him was as simple and easy as putting a body on him, everyone would have done it by now.

    It’s not that easy.He’s pretty good at figuring that sort of thing out and going where he needs to be.

  102. GW says:

    “There is a logical reason why Roma, which was strongly linked to MB in the summer of 2011, waited until the summer of 2012 to pull the trigger. Quite simply, MB was not good enough in 2011 but he improved dramatically and was good enough by the summer of 2012 for Roma to bring him on board.”

    Or you could look at it logically and say that Roma used Chievo to see how well MB would acclimate to Italy and Serie A.

    And when he showed well, then they pulled the trigger.

    Switching leagues and countries is far harder than you all seem to think. An acclimation period at a place like Chievo
    is very useful for both the potential buyer and the prospective seller.

    And MB did not improve “dramatically” at Chievo.

    If you remember, after a short acclimation period, he very quickly surprised everyone, seized a starting job and then moved to being their dominant midfielder. If he learned a lot of new skills at Chievo he did so very quickly.

    Chievo are a humble club. They bring in talent (as in already skilled), give them a platform to display their skills and then sell for a profit. So if MB was a fixer upper so to speak, they don’t really have a lot of resources to be renovating him.

    It sort of reminded me of how quickly Donovan became an important, integral part of Everton during his first loan spell.

    This makes a lot more sense to me than your take.

  103. Shawn says:

    I didn’t say you said he was ‘bad.’ I simply don’t agree it’s fair to say he’s ‘different,’ except in the way you hope every player grows.

    He’s more mature and aware. But his game is still essentially the same stylistically. After all, he scored for fun in Holland. So it’s not like he never got forward before.

  104. Shawn says:

    But when Landon starts in the center, it’s not just ‘one’ body that’s on him. It’s the DMC and a defender, at least. He always has a man-marker and less room to maneuver.

    Tactically, he’s a superior player on the wings with the freedom to come in, than vice versa. I’ve never been in the “Landycakes” crowd. But that doesn’t mean I can’t say a player like Dempsey is better suited to the central withdrawn forward role than Donovan is.

  105. GW says:

    So you are saying Donovan gets hit with two, or three man man markers when he is in the center of the field?

    Do they follow him everywhere? Because Donovan will just move somewhere else. Or, if they stick on him, even better because if they keep it up it means someone, somewhere is really open. Who is covering Dempsey while all this foolishness is going on?

    Donovan is not exactly an idiot when it comes to soccer.

    If you watch Dempsey and if you watch Donovan both of them go where they feel they need to be. They understand off the ball movement. Their teamates then cover for them. It has been that way on the USMNT for many years. Many of Donovan’s games where he “disappeared”, he did so because he was playing defense and no one watches that.

    It’s not as if either one stays exactly in the center of the park as if mounted on a rail moving up and down when asked to play centrally. Soccer is a dynamic game.

    I’ve never been his biggest fan but Donovan is far smarter as a player than you give him credit for. At this point his body may be letting him down but he still has the best “soccer brain” in the USMNT player pool.

  106. GW says:

    He was always a complete player. Some people say his dad getting fired shook him up and made him a re dedicate himself to get even better but I doubt it.

    I think it happened sooner, when all that BS at BMG went on followed by the Villa fiasco.

    The USMNT gig is a big deal to MB 90 but it is not his first priority. His bread and butter day job is his club team. They are the ones who pay his way and put food on his table.

    Mikey was basically fired twice in less than a year, long before his dad got the axe.

    Have you ever been fired LZ? Because if you have then maybe you understand how that can force you to get your priorities straight instantly.

    So when he got lucky with Chievo, he wasn’t about to screw it up and got down to it very quickly. As I’ve said elsewhere, he stood out for Chievo so fast it’s pretty clear he had all the talent already and what he really needed was a place to show it and people who believed in him.

    That was not the case at Villa and obviously things had been going south at BMG for a while.

  107. GW says:

    “Whereas MB had a guaranteed starting position under his father on the USMNT roster plus a guaranteed 90 minutes per game, even when he was not playing at the club level and was not in good form, MB had no such assurances under Klinsmann. That basically shook MB up and he realized it was a whole new ball game and he needed to pick up his game and he did.”

    His dad’s firing could hardly have come as a shock to MB90. He’s not a kid. He’s played in Europe a long time. Managers there get changed as often as you change your underwear. Of course it hurt but I doubt Mikey was all that shook up.

    The USMNT does not pay MB90’s bills. His club team does.

    I think Mikely’s epiphany happened sooner, when all that BS at BMG went on followed by the Villa fiasco.

    The USMNT gig is a big deal to MB 90 but it is not his first priority. His bread and butter day job is his club team. They are the ones who pay his way and put food on his table.

    Mikey was basically fired twice in less than a year, long before his dad got the axe.

    Have you ever been fired biff? Because if you have then maybe you understand how that can shake you up and force you to get your priorities straight instantly.

    So when he got lucky with Chievo, he wasn’t about to screw it up and got down to it very quickly. As I’ve said elsewhere, he stood out for Chievo so fast it’s pretty clear he had all the talent already and what he really needed was a place to show it and people who believed in him.

  108. GW says:

    When people talk about indispensable, it is a matter of degree.

    As they say in the NFL, injuries are a part of the game that must be accepted and overcome but what mostly matters with injuries is who is injured and for how long.
    An injury to Tom Brady is more worrisome than an injury to Logan Mankins.

    To think otherwise is naive.

    Certain players, Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey, Howard, Dolo, Johnson and so on are more “indispensable” to the USMNT than others. This is a soccer team not a democracy.

    Can the US win without player X or player Y? Of course they can but the chances of winning are decreased a certain percentage by their absence.

    So it is all very well to say we can win without Dempsey or Bradley or whoever, but it would be a lot easier and more likely to happen with them available.

    If you doubt that just go to Vegas.
    The people who set the lines in Vegas are far from stupid. They know that the odds against a US team w/o Bradley are greater than the odds against a US team with Bradley.
    and set their odds accordingly.

    But of course, as I have said, it doesn’t mean we can’t win without him.

  109. louis z says:

    Sorry, I never been fired but there is always tomorrow. I still stand by my comments.

  110. CplDaniel says:

    I think you will run into a problem with that plan. I would fully expect TNT or Guate to bunker down and counter for the first 60-min (thus appear “contained”) and then only play a free-flowing game for maybe the last 20-30minutes.

  111. Kevin_H says:

    I guess 12 players really would be the best scenario, albeit illegal.

  112. Dlock says:

    Jozy run???? the laziest _______ I’ve ever seen. He can stay in Europe with that at best average team/league he plays in.

  113. Dlock says:

    don’t compare but try to emulate

  114. Dlock says:

    Jozy shouldn’t even be on the bench.

  115. Dlock says:

    see what? Altidore fall over when there’s a slight breeze or see him do nothing at all. Altidore is aweful.

  116. Dlock says:

    clueless

  117. GW says:

    Well, hopefully it stays that way. That is one experience you can do without.