September 9, 2008

US National Team, what up?

Lots of complaints, whining, discussion, hand-wringing, etc. over the latest US World Cup qualifier, another 1-0 win away, this time in Cuba. I have some problems with some of the player selection (hello, Mr. Cooper; goodbye, Mr. Johnson), but have been overall satisfied with the job Bob Bradley has done.

The issue that has bugged me the most about the discussion of how the US has done is that Bradley hasn't developed the team well enough since he took over. Is that really his job? I think his hands are tied in the player development, that's the responsibility of the clubs. It's not like Bradley really has his hands on these players for very long at a time. The time of months long national team camps is way in the past.

There have been strides at the youth level in recent years, and that will begin paying off with the full national team in the near future. I can understand why he left Freddy and Jozy off the roster for these games, they need to get settled with their new clubs in Europe. I think Jozy's hat trick in a friendly over there will do more to get him minutes with the Yellow Submarine than anything he would have done in Cuba. We need those guys in their best shape for the Hex next year.

Bradley's used the veterans in the first three games of the semifinal round, and they've gotten the job done (barring a choke job against Trinidad, let's keep the Revs players off the field for that one). I hope he starts blooding some new guys in the final 3 games to see if they can be of service for the Hex next year.

The grade is a definite incomplete at this stage, let's talk more after the semifinal round is over...


kizzak said...

terrible selections (Ching, Lewis, and Mastroeni)
terrible formation and tactics
terrible sub patterns (often leaving in his kid way too long)
terrible match-day squad (see selections and formation)

We might manage to qualify because CONCACAF is weak, but we won't take a single point in South Africa even if we draw an easy group.

Longshoe said...

I don't agree with the player selection, but I can understand his thinking with the schedule this round. Seems like he wanted to go with experience with the away games early on... Hopefully, that changes now that things seem fairly clinched.

I think Bradley is a little stuck when it comes to the formation. We don't have a true #10, so Bradley goes with that empty bucket midfield most of the time. It does suit his glut of 2-way center mids.

I agree, he needs more big game experience to handle substitutions and changes to the system. He's just going to have to learn on the job in that regard, all coaches do. You can't learn it from books. Look at Pekerman of Argentina in the last World Cup, he made huge mistakes in the Germany match in that regard.

I don't think we're in that bad of shape, especially considering we're just under 2 years out from the World Cup. A lot will change between now and then.