SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley of USA

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

While the U.S. Men’s National Team succumbed to a second consecutive shutout in their 1-0 defeat to Austria, there were a number of noteworthy positives. One of them was certainly the reemergence of Michael Bradley.

The AS Roma midfielder brushed off a subdued performance from Friday at Scotland with a much better game on Tuesday night in the rain of Vienna, earning him SBI USMNT Man of the Match honors.

On a night when central midfield partner Jermaine Jones struggled badly, Bradley provided the link between attack and defense for the entire 90 minutes, as well as tracking back well when his side turned the ball over in the midfield. The 26-year-old also provided the corner kick that was turned in by Geoff Cameron, who also had a solid game, though the referee missed the goal.

Bradley narrowly edged out Cameron for Man of the Match honors. Cameron was very steady playing at right back for U.S. national team for the first time since March. Cameron defended well and was a threat on set pieces.

In addition to Cameron, honorable mentions go to Tim Howard, who couldn’t do much on the conceded goal, and to Jozy Altidore, who helped set up a number of chances up top, though he couldn’t put any of his own opportunities into the net.

Who did you think was the USMNT Man of the Match against Austria? Cast your vote here:

  • Jozy Altidore
  • Michael Bradley
  • Geoff Cameron
  • Tim Howard

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What do you think of Bradley winning SBI USMNT Man of the Match? Were you impressed with his performance? Which USMNT player stood out to you on Tuesday?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, International Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Michael Bradley

  1. Joe says:

    He has some bad turnovers to start the match.

    It’s Cameron or Howard for me.

  2. elgringorico says:

    It was great to watch him settle in the 2nd half and pull some really skillful moves and gorgeous chip passes. You forget that he has those in his arsenal when he is so heavily anchored in the defense.

  3. Sabella says:

    H should play a more attack minded, creative central midfield role. We are otherwise woeful in that dept.

  4. Good Jeremy says:

    About Cameron’s non-goal…
    We seem to be hit by these kind of things a lot. Does this happen to other teams as often, or am I just paranoid? I’m glad that goal line tech is finally being implemented next summer.

  5. danny says:

    I think pointing out a missed pass here or a turnover there misses the point of his contribution and importance to the team. I watched for just 30 minutes in the 2nd half, but it was clear that when most of the US player’s get the ball, they almost immediately look to give it to Bradley. He controls the tempo and everyone plays with him as though he is the commander.

    • wandmdave says:

      I agree that he is super important to the team and still a big contributor even on an off night but I’m not sure how he gets a pass for some pretty bad plays and giveaways in the first. He also seemed slow with his decision making and many of his passes were just off even when he picked it up in the 2nd. Kind of surprised to see him getting MOTM despite what I thought was a very down game for him.

  6. Wonderloaf says:

    Wondolowski only needed 3 minutes to not score. Imagine if he had all 90!

  7. Nihal says:

    Geoff Cameron.

  8. Kyle says:

    Michael Bradley is great. The problem is that I know he’s great so I don’t give him enough credit when he plays how he usually does, which is great. For that reason which is not fair I give it to Cameron because I was over the top impressed with Cameron. He was as composed on the ball as I have seen. He put in multiple dangerous crosses with right foot, left foot, and the outside of the right foot. He overlapped when necessary and was a constant outlet for Bradley to switch the play. I have zero problem with brad Evans as a right back. He has done basically everything asked of him, but if Cameron continues to play like he played today I don’t see how the spot isn’t his to lose. He also brings some height to a position where height is normally not a given. Scored a goal in the air tonight and would be dangerous attacking in the air moving forward. I know that’s a small part of a players ability, but one goal in the World Cup can make all the difference. I wanna see Cameron at right back again to see if he can sustain the level where he played tonight.

    • DR7_Liverpool_ says:

      well put Kyle, Cameron did put in one heck of a performance. would love to see him employed there again.

  9. Del Griffin says:

    as well as tracking back well when his side Klinsi’s German buttbuddy, Jermaine Jones turned the ball over in the midfield.

    /Fixed

  10. David M says:

    It’s a rather sad state of affairs when Geoff Cameron is our main offensive threat.

  11. bryan says:

    i agree, Bradley for me. Cameron was good too. before the game i said he would likely stay back and not venture forward much. but that was based on Ives saying Alaba would be lined up on their left side and going at him. only thing to nitpick about for Cameron was his tendency to drift into the middle.

  12. That Guy says:

    I have to imagine there is something fishy going on in the tactics room regarding Jones and Bradley. It almost seems like Bradley wants to be the more defensive player between him and Jones. Never have i seen a midfielder so far back so often. He would drop back to behind the central defenders to pick up the ball. I know we all fault Jones for pushing forward and making Bradley sit, but if Bradley is going to be the one to drop back so deep to get the ball, then Jones has to be the one to push up. I would be interested to see the heat map of where Bradley was during the game. There were so many times that I saw Bradley drop back to to get the ball and i was like, That should be Jones! It was pretty clear Jones had a bad game, but it looked like Bradley took the defensive role for himself and let Jones try and be the attacking fulcrum. It should be the other way around.

    IMO it is on Klinsmenn to get these two figured out. Jones has been a starter on a Champions League team for quite a few years now (age is starting to catch up to him tho). He knows tactics and understands the game well. He is not some unprofessional who everyone on this site makes him out to be. There is a reason his team, with him starting in the CM role, has been in the Champions League for the last few years. Not all the blame should be on him for his tactical and positional play (his skill and touch are all on him though).

    • Del Griffin says:

      Jones turns it over constantly, Bradley has no choice but to play behind him.

      • That Guy says:

        Bradley played behind him independent of Jones. Instead of looking to just grill Jones, look at how Bradley played. He dropped off to the same depth as our CBs to pick up the ball. That’s not because Jones is giving the ball away there, its in USA possession. If we want Bradley to be the attacking player of the two, Jones needs to be that player. That understanding is a tactical one that it seems either Jones just blatantly ignores the tactics given to him or he is being given directions to push up field and allow Bradley to be the one to drop in deep to get the ball and distribute. Given Jone’s success in soccer, I believe he is being given the instruction to push up.

        Outside of this, Jones needs to stop giving the ball away. He is a turnover machine. While changing his role to Bradley’s current one would probably help this, Jones also needs to get his act together on his dribbling and passing, I agree with you.

        • bryan says:

          amen. people want to rag on JJ and his role but it’s OBVIOUS Klinsmann wants him pushing up. he says it every single time. he sees JJ as a #8. we all know, including JK, that Bradley is also a #8. but for his own reasons, he is clearly telling Bradley to play the deeper role.

          like you said, people should only focus on blaming JJ for HIS inability to consistently pass or dribble well. he has great games and stinkers. no in between. and that is a problem. i know i’ve lost faith in JJ being consistent. sadly, i’m not sure Cameron, Kljestan, or Mix can be that consistent player next to Bradley. hopefully one steps up.

          • Increase says:

            Maybe its because…. Bradley turns over the ball less.(Normally) So Jones farther up is safer?

            • joshw says:

              Maybe it’s easier to complete passes when you are 40 yards from the nearest defender. Bradley is good, but he is extremely conservative, which pads his stats.

          • joshw says:

            I bet that Jones had more completed passes in the opponent’s end than Bradley during the time he was on the field. And a couple of his turnovers were as a result of hospital balls from Bradley and Cameron.

    • David M says:

      Of course, there is a reason for Jones starting. He’s good at “grinding” people, he’s not afraid to hurt them.

    • Del Griffin says:

      When Mix pairs with Bradley they are both normally in the attacking zone as it should be. I have yet to hear any defense of Jones play other than: he plays in the bundesliga, and that he is some type of defensive tough guy. The only defense I see him play is chasing after the guy he just turned it over to. The fact that he has an automatic roster spot when Diskerud clearly outplays him is ridic.

      • bryan says:

        the “only” defense for playing Jones is that he is a Bundesliga starter for a Champions League club. i do agree Jones probably deserves to sit and earn his starting spot after too many inconsistent performances, but come on dude.

      • That Guy says:

        Starting Diskerrud and Bradley together in either the middle of a 442 or in the back of a 4231 would leak goals. Diskerrud has proven that when attacked, his defense is not reliable. Diskerrud is the perfect person to bring on later in a game either down or in need of a goal. When down a goal, the other team is attacking less and thus Diskerrud’s defense is less of a liability. Also, later in the game the other team is also more tired. Diskerrud, imo, has to gain a defensive presence before we make him the starter. However, against weaker competition he can start. If not, he should be an early option off the bench.

        • roundhead says:

          I think you are right. Mix doesn’t seem to stand up to more physical pressure as compared to JJ. the question really is, who is best to replace JJ on the defense pairing him with MB? I really do not see anyone other than possibly Kljesten, which is a very different type of player.

        • Del Griffin says:

          Just look at yesterday’s game. They did not score when Mix was on, they didn’t leak goals. They were in the attacking zone, because they have two guys that can move the ball. When Jones is in, every ball to him is a turnover, a lateral pass that the wing has to come back to get, or a 40-50 yard bomb that the forward s can do nothing with. Mix, like Bradley, moves through the midfield with skill and vision, and makes the right pass to start an attack.

      • Increase says:

        Don’t agree at all about Diskerud. Didn’t work in the Gold cup.

  13. the original jb says:

    I dunno, I think SBI has their “Bradley goggles” on again. His work rate was good, and he covered well for Jones’s mistakes, but Bradley seemed a bit rusty to me and lacking his normal sharpness. We had several corner kicks with serious height advantages and played the ball short and backwards. I also don’t like when Bradley drops all the way back behind the centerbacks to receive the ball. If this is by design, then shame on JK. But if not, then shame on Bradley for trying to do too much. I’ll go with Cameron.

  14. rainORshine says:

    yes, bradley goggles in full effect

    this was the worst game i remember bradley playing in a long time, if ever. he was a turnover machine at some points

    id actually give it to brooks. brooks was not not at fault on the goal – he had to go with the near post runner and his momentum in that direction kept him from getting a foot on the ball coming through… to the guy behind him.

    was he perfect or without a couple shaky moments? no. but ultimately cant really remember him putting a foot wrong.

    what am i missing?

  15. John says:

    Watching the highlights: Just before half Bradley has Johannsson wide open on the 6 yard box but fires it into the man standing just in front of him. He also had a bad turnover that luckly Omar cuts out a cross after missing the tackle. Not that he wasn’t the man of the match but just saying.

  16. Annelid Gustator says:

    Bradley was ~86% accurate on passing. The team was about 84%. What kind of damn turnover machine was he?!

    • wandmdave says:

      He had his pocket picked in bad places several times, his forward passing and set piece deliveries were regularly close but off the mark, and his decision making seemed slow. Even when he received the ball with some space he’d regularly jog with the ball at his feet until someone closed him down and he’d have to back pass under pressure. It was not a vintage 2013 Bradley performance for me. JJ gets crucified for doing the same kind of things. I understand that for JJ that kind of thing is the rule while for Bradley its the exception but I’m not sure how he gets MOTM when having a poor game by his standards.

      • Annelid Gustator says:

        MLSSOCCER matchcenter has him with 3 unsuccessful dribbles (2 in his half, one of those near midfield, the other between the middle and back lines, and another one with the ball tackled away.

        I eyeballed his successful passes as 1/3 forward, 2/3 lateral or back. That’s less than stellar, sure. Essentially all his unsuccessful passes were forward.

        So it might be fair to say that he had a slightly off game for MB, it is a bit harsh to go overboard.

        • wandmdave says:

          I’m not saying Bradley sucked and should be benched from now on. I love Bradley He was, is, and will be a key contributor for this cycle and barring injuries next cycle as well. All I am saying is that I didn’t think he played to his normal level and therefore doesn’t deserve the highest honor on the team for that game as a result. Possibly if everyone else played very badly like in Hondoras but that wasn’t the case. Cameron had a great performance and should have had a goal.

      • beachbum says:

        who is wearing Bradley goggles, in the negative that is?

  17. Brett says:

    For the volume of passes that move through him, it’s hard to pick on him for a few bad ones over the course of 90 minutes.

    For me the MOTM goes to Bedoya. I was really impressed with his work rate and skill. Then again, awarding a USMOTM for this match seems like awarding a “Cutest Kid” prize at a burn unit.