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USMNT Notes: Bradley talks post-World Cup transition, scouts Jamaica & more


 Photo by Rick Osentoski/


WASHINGTON – One of the most intriguing subplots surrounding the U.S. national team's rocky Gold Cup road has been how coach Bob Bradley has balanced putting his team in position to win the regional crown while also catering to long-term goals.

With less than 24 hours remaining before the U.S.'s Gold Cup quarterfinal against Jamaica, Bradley discussed the matter prior to a training session at RFK Stadium.

"There's no doubt that after a World Cup there is transition," Bradley said. "We are fortunate there are a lot of parts that are the same. But nonetheless, you're starting to move forward, you're starting to think about how to improve and who are the new players who need to start to be introduced.

"And you do that with an eye on qualifying and an eye on the World Cup in 2014, but certainly the Gold Cup all along has been a goal."

Here are some more notes from Bradley and captain Carlos Bocanegra's press conference:


Although Bradley hasn't faced Jamaica as a coach, he noted that he has watched the Caribbean side play numerous times and pointed to their speed and organization as a daunting combination to face, specifically citing the danger players such as Dane Richards and Luton Shelton can present.

To Bocanegra, the U.S. back line operating as a unit and focusing on group defending will be key.

"If we put ourselves isolated a lot in one-on-one positions, it's going to make it more difficult because they're very athletic," Bocanegra said. "So I think organization and good team effort, team defending, is probably the first component."


With key attacking midfielders Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey set to arrive in Washington late Saturday after each player attends his sister's wedding, Bradley said the coaching staff plans to go over film of Jamaica with the duo Sunday morning before the game, as per the team's usual routine.

"For all of our players, we start to show them different pieces of action, matchups, we start to show them a little bit how our opponent plays," the 53-year-old coach said. "That all is sort of finalized the day of the game as we go through some details, and we'll talk about everything with Clint and Landon tomorrow."


Finding the right combination of forwards has been one of Bradley's most prominent challenges since striker Charlie Davies suffered major injuries in an October 2009 car accident. The constant up top has been Jozy Altidore, who has retained his spot in the starting 11 despite sporadic playing time on the club level and rewarded Bradley with two goals in the Gold Cup group stage.

"Since the last World Cup, Jozy has been frustrated with his club situation," Bradley said. "He hasn't had the game time and success that he wants, and we all want. But we always feel good that when we get him into the national team, there's a solid foundation for what we expect and how we do things, and we always try to build on those past experiences."

Altidore's partner at forward, however, has been another matter. After playing with Robbie Findley, Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez at the World Cup, Altidore has shared the front line with Juan Agudelo and Chris Wondolowski thus far in the Gold Cup.

As Bradley noted, the veteran Wondolowski's timing and awareness to involve teammates "is a little further along than Juan," but Agudelo has "the ability to make a play out of nothing."


The only change Bradley made in the U.S. back line throughout the group stage was the insertion of left back Eric Lichaj against Guadeloupe, a move that shifted Bocanegra from his post on the outside to the middle. The 32-year-old defender explained that playing centrally makes embracing his leadership role all the easier.

"I think if you're in the center of the field in pretty much any sport, you're right in the heart of the action," Bocanegra said. "So you have a bit more to do, a bit more responsibility. … Wherever I end up, I still try to speak and try to be a leader out there."


As Bocanegra put it, "We feel in the last four-year cycle, we raised the level of the national team. We raised the expectations of people in this country, we raised our own expectations."

Therefore, few would argue that anything short of advancing to the Gold Cup final would be seen as a tremendous failure for Bradley and the national team. After the Americans dropped a 2-1 loss to Panama in the group stage, the pressure and scrutiny is even more prevalent.

Bradley's hopes now hinge on the U.S. using that setback as a lesson that will help it succeed as the tournament goes on.

"That ability to come together as a group and during the tournament improve game by game, deal with different situations that arise, [like] a loss to Panama where we weren't satisfied with how we played — those are the things that need to happen when you get into a tournament, and you try to continue to grow and move on," Bradley said.


  1. Are you serious. Do you know anything about the Gold Cup? If so, then you’d know that schedule has not been out for all that long, not to mention the bracketing.

    Get over yourself. These weddings or time off means NOTHING! Let’s talk about something important, like the formation shift or the much improved play of Lichaj or better yet Panama – who we already were embarrased by.

  2. Marco,

    If BB does not win the Gold Cup there is a good chance he won’t be around for 2014.

    So why should he worry about developing some kid for two years down the road when there may not be a tomorrow for him?

    Put it this way,if you come upon a car accident and there is an injured person in the car with a neck injury, you should be very careful about moving them. But if the car is about to be engulfed by fire, you better get them out ASAP.

    It’s a matter of priorities.

  3. Yes, brain freeze moment. But that sort of makes my point.

    Mexico has younger more engergetic players to transition to while the US’ next generation is not really ready yet. I ask this all the time and never get an answer; who are the uninjured, in form, big stars that Bradley has left at home? Where are the players to come in for an uninspired Donovan,an unfocused Howard,or a “lazy” Dempsey and Jozy??

    Mexico has better players but when you get to the starting eleven its pretty close.

    The one major difference, and this is a real big one, is that they have something the US has never had, a young, arguably world class striker, in top form, playing and starring for a top flight European team.

    If the US had Rossi do you think Mexico would be favored over them?

  4. Klinsmann was not a disaster with Bayern. He was sacked when the team was within 3 points of the first place in Bundesliga with 5 games to go. And in the Champions League they advanced to the quarterfinals where they lost to the eventual winner, Barcelona. His successor, Van Gaal, who happens to be on your list, was sacked with Bayern 10 points behind the first place and after Bayern failed to reach the quarterfinals of the 2010-2011 Champions league.

  5. The fact is that in my life all I’ve seen is Bruce and Bob and I haven’t been satisfied with either. We will never know if a foreign coach can help us AT THIS STAGE of the sport’s development in the US if we don’t try, and I honestly feel like we don’t have that much to lose, so let’s do it and see what happens!

  6. I’m sure your right about USSF, but if there was enough pressure out there for them to have to sack Bradley, they would have to at least make an apparent effort to hire a respectable international coach just to save face, and if they failed again over this issue of control, I think that would put even more pressure for USSF to shake things up; It’s a very pessimistic argument that you’re presenting that we have to stick with Bradley simply because USSF won’t ever be able to come to terms with anybody decent anyways.

    Also, you keep mentioning the failures of players such as Dempsey in coming up big in the clutch, and that his horrible finishing can’t be blamed on coaching. Well as a soccer player myself (yes I remember you’re little deriding comment questioning whether I’d ever played the sport based off of my factual statement that our midfield should have dominated Canada’s lol) that CONFIDENCE is the most important thing when it comes to players’ form, and confidence, or lack thereof, absolutely has something to do with the preparation and coaching. Clint Dempsey had his best season ever at Fulham and won their MVP, why is he now so horribly out of form???

  7. Kudos Jayson, for finding the silver lining. The team has not played ‘bad’, but have been poor at the CB position and have had an inordinate amount of poor finishes epitomized by Dempsey’s ‘gonna walk this in’ “shot”.
    A little more alacrity in front of goal will get them rolling, and I’m guessing the Jamaica game will give them that kind of wide open game.
    Having said that, I’m not sure I start Dempsey and Donovan…maybe Bob brings them in to save their legs in what will be a bit of a track meet.

    Johnny R….facts are facts, its not being a defender of the Bob, if we had more luck/skill/ability with the final shot…you’d be talking 3 blow-outs.(of course if frogs had wings they could fly…)

  8. Don’t disregard the Ghana players comments that the USA looked like a scared side, one that could be pushed around. It may have been bravado, but there appeared to be some truth in the performance.

  9. There is a good chance that more than half of his current selections (for various reasons) will not be on the WC side for 2014. He should know this, and it weakens his transition argument considerably.

  10. Don’t be a Bob Apoologist. We are struggling against weak sides. We’re outshooting sides, but our shots are terrible & way off the mark. Also, Jozy’s a$$ is now three feet wide.

  11. Mexico had trouble getting past Guatemala. They had to come back from a 1-0 deficit in the 2nd half. Could it be that Mexico can no more penetrate an organized packed defense than can the US?

    It is always a gamble to bunker and counter, but Guatemala made it work for 48 minutes.

    Mexico has almost entirely a new team from to the one the US played in WC qualifying. This team is more attacking oriented and when/if the US face them, it probably does not make sense to try and out-score them (Mexico scored 15 goals in 55 attempts in the 1st 3 games, while the US scored 4 in 49 attempts). Even if the game looks even, Mexico would look to have an advantage. I think US would be making a mistake if they did not concentrate on defense and use Altidore and Agudelo to counter-attack, at least in the early going.

    Of course Mexico has to get past the semis and the US must also advance for this to happen. Given the ability of both the US and Mexico to maintain possession and get many shot attempts against the minnows, I expect both teams will ultimately reach the finals.

    In the finals, well frankly anything can happen.

  12. Great comeback. You obviously don’t follow the sport. This would never happen in other national teams, no matter what you think is acceptable.

  13. Can someone (maybe Ives?) explain what exactly these little empires that we keep hearing about within USSF consist of and who the emperors are?

    USSF is surprisingly free from media scrutiny. It would be nice at least to know who people are, who is on the executive committee, and maybe how they got there.

  14. You realize that Lavolpe isn’t Mexico’s coach now, don’t you?

    Mexico has transitioned to another coach, and younger, more energetic players. They’ve moved on to the next generation.

    The US, apparently, has not.

  15. oh you mean the SAME algeria that ENGLAND couldnt beat with all their SUPERSTARS and their STAR coach. Algeria is always a serious contender for the African Cup of Nations but some of us US fans are too ignorant to understand that.

    We have zero world class players yet we managed to win our World Cup group. Give Bradley at least some credit

  16. I wish we could all be as wise as you are, ye who doth patronize. But obviously wisdom only resides in older people such as yourself.

  17. You people have to seriously be teenagers to think that the woman should consult a brother to make sure that a date is ok. Don’t worry, eventually you’ll have a girlfriend and understand how stupid these comments are.


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