Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com
U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley was in New York on Thursday for the unveiling of the U.S. national team home jersey, and also to speak with media about preparations for the upcoming World Cup.
Bradley touched on a wide variety of topics, from the progress of specific players, to process of selecting the team, to the recent success of players such as Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle. He also discussed Jermaine Jones, altitude preparation and even his observations of Algerian and Slovenian players.
Here are just some of the things Bradley said:
On how many of the 23 World Cup roster spots are secured
"We’re somewhere between 16 and 18, some days a little higher."
On Jermaine Jones, who the U.S. team is still monitoring and who U.S. national team trainer Ivan Pierra will be visiting soon:
"Jermaine has tried to hold off as long as he could to give this thing time, but I think we’ll know in next week for sure whether that one has any hope, or whether or not for his future the best decision to get the surgery."
On Charlie Davies
"I think the fact that Charlie is this far along is great, but certainly even within the framework of being back, let's face it, there are different levels there. Our ability to assess where he is factors into making that decision.
"There’s going to be a decision on our end that is simply about the World Cup. I know that’s been one of his motivating forces in this whole thing. Regardless of how that particular decision goes, if at the end if he's at step 80 (in his recovery), and we think in order for him to start that camp he needs to be at 85, that can’t get in the way of him getting to step 100.
t’s a tricky part because I know what’s on the table right away. I know that a lot of his drive has been with that goal. That means something to all of us, but at the end of the day we still have to assess completely where he is as we make decisions, even for the camp.
On the possibility of not selecting Davies, or cutting him in camp
"At the end of the day decisions get made that you feel are best for the team. There's tough decisions that get made all the time. This one has a lot tied to it, that's exactly right.
Oftentimes, wtihin the team, decisions are clearer than people on the outside would understand. There's an old expression that the team picks the team. That's pretty true because usually things establish themselves pretty well. Players know who are the ones that should be there, and that kind of thing.
There's always going to be strong feelings, not only about Charlie, there's strong feelings about all sorts of guys in this process."
On putting together the starting lineup
Your best eleven guys don’t always make (up) your best team.
On Jozy Altidore
"His experience this year at Hull, I think, has helped him. There’s been some good days. I remember for sure the game against Chelsea, where you could tell he was motivated that day. It was an extra edge in everything he did. I think that seeing that makes you feel good, tells you that some of the things that we've talked to Jozy about, things that he needs to do to keep growing, are happening. There are moments when it goes the other way.
Part of it is our experience as a staff helps Jozy because we know him. We’ve had him in enough. I think the experiences along the way will ensure that he'll be ready to go."
On the upcoming national team camp
In a perfect world we’d have picked our 23 and that’s who we’d come into camp with. At this point, we’re probably thinking more along the lines of 26 to 28 guys in, and knowing that within that we’ll have to assess and, at the end of the day, make some decisions.
On Edson Buddle
"The easy thing to see so far this year is he’s scored some incredible goals. That actually fits if you look over Edson’s career. As a young striker in the league, his talent came through based upon his ability at times to score some great goals, a variety of goals. Goals where he dribbled, goals with his head.
That part is not new, but it’s been there of late. There’s been a lot of maturing that has taken place in less obvious ways. He seems to be doing a lot of little things that make a difference for his team."
On Herculez Gomez
"Herculez we had in in Copa America in 2007 following the Gold Cup when we had almost an entirely different team. We all know, if you go back to his beginnings in MLS, his first year was a year where he came into the scene in LA and what you would say is everything that he touched went into the net. His pure ability to strike a ball was pretty obvious.
That’s kind of come back a little bit at Puebla.
Even in the games where he was, a lot of these games he was just a sub, but he came on the field and now a certain ball would pop loose and the next thing you know he’d latch on to it and score a great goal.
You try to assess those things and project, or factor, or ask yourself what it’s like when the games get better, are enough other pieces of the equation that fit, and see."
Bradley said he hadn't settled on a specific number of players at defender, midfielder and forward, but that the versatility of the players chosen will help him make that decision. In other words, if has a midfielder who can play in central defense (like Maurice Edu), that might make it easier for him to bring one more midfielder and one fewer defender.
Bradley mentioned Edu's experience as a centerback in the 2008 Olympics as the type of experience that could make him an option in the centerback pecking order.
Discussing the left back position, Bradley mentioned Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Jonathan Spector and Heath Pearce as options.
He has not settled on a No. 2 goalkeeper, with Marcus Hahnemann and Brad Guzan the obvious choices battling to back up Tim Howard.
The team is still looking into possible solutions to handle the high altitude of South Africa, including potentially using oxygen tents. That is still being discussed.
That's all for now. What did you think of Bradley's comments?
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