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USMNT Notes: Bradley talks Italian scandal, Altidore gains confidence & more

MBradley (Reuters Pictures)


LANDOVER, Md. — Michael Bradley has had two of his best, most influential games in any uniform for club or country in recent wins for the national team against Italy and Scotland. He was able to turn in those performances after growing as a player during a standout season in Serie A for Chievo Verona, taking the road less traveled for U.S. soccer players and heading to Italy.

His league and soccer in Italy as a whole face an uncertain future after a match-fixing scandal that has resulted in the arrest of 50 people and the investigation of others, including Juventus coach Antonio Conte and Italian national team players Domenico Criscito and Leonardo Bonucci.

"It's unfortunate," Bradley said following training on Tuesday. "I've been lucky enough to now have spent the year in Italy and to see first-hand what football means to the people in Italy, how much people love the game there. I think this is unfortuante. For me it doesn't change anything. It's a great country, great people, for me the league is still one of the best leagues in the world. Hopefully these things, everything can be taken care of, sorted out, what needs to be done can get done and we can all move past it."

Italian Premier Mario Monti has put forth the radical suggestion of suspending soccer as a whole in Italy for two or three years given that this is the second major scandal to rock the country in the last six years. A result such as that would put Bradley's rapid ascension in Italy to an abrupt halt.

Here are a couple of more items to emanate from FedEx Field:


After Jozy Altidore has had a few weeks off after his club refused to release him for the start of U.S. training camp, whether he is in the starting lineup is one of the few uncertainties heading into Wednesday night's match against Brazil. His inclusion in the starting lineup during the past season at AZ Alkmaar was, aside for one stretch in the middle of the season, a given, and it paid big divdends for his productivity.

Altidore scored 19 goals in all competitions, his 15 goals were seventh-most in the Eredivisie and he garnered the confidence that has helped his game grow by leaps and bounds after a few discouraging club years overseas in which regular minutes were a rare commodity. 

"I've just always felt that I can show better," Altidore said. "I just got a chance to play. I got a chance to play consistently. I didn't just get one game, I got a few games in a row, and when you do that you start to get confident." 

Altidore's hope is that confidence translates into more goals on the international stage as well. He scored from the penalty spot against Slovenia in November for his only tally during the Jurgen Klinsmann era, his 13th goal in a national team jersey.


Brazil coach Mano Menezes isn't hiding anything a day before his team squares off against the U.S. national team, confirming his starting lineup for Wednesday's match. Neymar and goalkeeper Rafael Cabral, who both joined the club late after playing in the Copa Libertadores for Santos, will replace Lucas Moura and Jefferson from the lineup that played over the weekend in a 3-1 win over Denmark.

Brazil will line up as follows:

—–Neymar—–Leandro Damiao—–Hulk—–



–Marcelo—–Juan—–Thiago Silva—–Danilo–

——————Rafael Cabral——————–


  1. 1. He scored in Spain and against Spain.

    2. He was young in both leagues, which are considered the 2 best in the world. In La Liga he was given very limited time. Everyone knows he helped Hull a lot, but that team was poor. Just imagine McBride playing for Manchester United compared to him playing for Derby County in the EPL.

    3. Comparing him to Dempsey- as you said- is unfair. Dempsey and Donovan are two unique players in our history, and exceptional players world wide, better then 80% of the players who play the game.

  2. Bradley isn’t really a box to box cm, he plays that for the usmnt because he can and we don’t have someone better in the pool (Holden would compete for it if healthy). What bradley is great at is as defensive midfielder who can hold possession and start the attack foward.

  3. He is good scorer but not world class. He can score in the Dutch league and against average internationl opponents. He couldn’t score in the EPL or in Spain. He is definately a step down from Dempsey. But then again so are most players.

  4. HAHAHA the picture on the USMNT blog in front of the White House is cracking me up. Wondo, Corona, Jones, Herc, Castillo and Edu’s faces are awesome.

  5. Although they finished mid-table Chievo finished near the bottom for attack. That’s not a place to be if you want to be a box to box CM.

  6. I have a prop bet for you: which will happen first — news about another FIFA corruption case, or news about another Italian match-fixing scandal?

  7. Maybe you think its not a big deal but:

    “Klinsmann expressed his dissatisfaction with AZ for not releasing Altidore before Monday, saying that it made him “very angry and it put Jozy in a very difficulty position”but there is nothing he could do about it. Now Altidore has to play catch up because the rest of the team has been training for almost two weeks now.”

    I don’t hear JK say he angry very often.

  8. I know that his club situation has helped him tremendously, but Bradley Junior has always struck me as the kind of player who simply finds the way forward to improve. I got nothing but tremendous respect for this player and hope his trajectory continues.

  9. I’m conflicted when it comes to General Bradley. On the one hand he’s doing so well at Chievo I’d hate to see him move to another club and get shelved. On the other hand Chievo plays the least exciting football on the planet and as a fan it’s hard to watch.

    Don’t know how to feel.

  10. Have you not been watching? He’s got 13 goals for the US which is tied for 10th most goals in the history of the country.

    What do you need him to do?

  11. I agree pd but for me it begs the question of how many other teams were involved that didn’t get caught. Extreme paranoia (perhaps) but being a fan of Napoli, who just in the last couple of years has finally regained relevence, Palermo and Catania with their Sicilian (and by extension “family”) connections, one has to wonder.

  12. Awright! I’ll concede to the irrelevency and inaneness of bringing Rossi into ANY conversation but hindsight being 20/20, if this had happened 4 years ago and he chose to play for the USA…Oops! It did happen before. Feel free to slap me around thru the interwebz as you see fit! I deserve it and apologize!….As for Bradley, I’m not worried about him finding adequate high level employment.

  13. Referring to the relevant part of your post, this match fixing thing sucks, especially for Juventus who just spent the past, what 8 years working their way back from the last one… Really sucks.

  14. Who happens to have gotten Altidore to the most productive lever he’s ever been at thusfar in his career, so he can’t be all bad…

  15. Whatever is in store for the Serie A, I don’t think Michael Bradley has to worry about suitors for his services at a high level. It is a shame how scandalous Italian football has become over the years. I wonder what Giuseppi Rossi is thinking about now?

  16. Klinsmann,”(Altidore) was not released by his club, AZ Alkmaar, before (Monday), which made me very angry and it put Jozy in a very difficulty position because he had a couple of weeks off and he was not allowed to train with us,” said Klinsmann. “The guys that came in on the 15th of May they trained sometimes three sessions a day, and he’s behind them, he’s behind them. It makes it very difficult for him now to catch up.”

  17. I’m pretty sure it’s because of the subtle but very real dislike the Dutch and Germans have for each other.

  18. While Jozy was vacationing on a Caribbean island his teammates were getting in shape to play WC qualifiers. It is a big deal, and Klinsmann was not happy with AZ. I’ve never heard of anyone not being released because of PR tour other than Beckham, and Jozy is not David or Goliath.
    I hope he can turn it up quickly.

  19. Or it could be exactly what the poster above said. Not sure why we need to paint controversies that aren’t there.

  20. I think it was retalitory. Way back when JK had Jozy fly out to the US to play a game, and then they went back to Europe to play hte next game. The coach from Altidore’s team was pissed at JK for doing that.

  21. The entire club went to some Dutch Caribbean island… it’s not a big deal, really. He missed one friendly out of five. I think it’s a good thing, it gave Boyd and Gomez an opportunity and we got to see that they are both capable at that level. Since Jozy isn’t quite ready yet they should get another test tomorrow.

  22. A 4-2-1-3 from Menezes? That’s a non-traditional, but very offensively powered lineup he is trotting out. I do like that it is announced already though. It give Jurgy and company a day to strategize before kick-off


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