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MLS Insider: Pair of Aces

Michael Bradley

photo by David Bernal/



  1. I take Edu or Cameron in defensive mid over Beckerman. Beckerman has not shown what either of them have at the International level. The things he does for RSL can be provided by others on the national team, mostly Bradley. I have always wanted to see Osvaldo Alonso get a shot with the USMNT and am disappointed US Soccer has done anything to get FIFA to allow him to switch.

    • Alonso’s situation has to do with his US citizenship, which he currently does not have. I hear he’s eligible to become a citizen in a year or two (maybe someone else more knowledgeable fill us in on this?) But unfortunately, by the next WC he’ll likely be past his prime.

  2. Why is it that we are still that biased as American Soccer fans? Even though we all see it on the field, “Beckerman must not be that good because he plays in MLS”. That is the stupidest rationale I have ever heard. MLS is becoming a very good league. Beckerman has been making good money here for a number of years. So we are going to knock him because he would rather make $300k here in the U.S. then become some journeyman in the outskirts or lower leagues of Europe like Jones, Altidore, Edu and so many other Americans have done over the years?

    The fact that Beckerman never took his opportunities to go to Europe should not be held against him. He simply saw the value in MLS and has taken full advantage. He has been one of those guys who built the domestic league into a very good product. It should not be held against him and I am glad we have a NT manager who realizes that.

  3. I’ve recently been of the opinion that we should have Beckerman, Bradley, and Jones all on the field in a triangle. If midfield, and specifically central midfield, is our strongest and deepest area of the field than why not fill it? Beckerman can stay back and help break things up right in front of our shaky central defenders, Jones can go box-to-box as needed like he prefers, and Bradley can play up high to pressure and create in the final third. Presumably the front three in that set up would be Altidore up top with Dempsey and then Donovan/Zusi on the wing.
    I think it’s a formation that’s worth considering. The concerns would be Dempsey’s ability to track back defensively from an advanced wing position, and Altidore’s ability to play effectively as basically the loan forward.

    • ———-Jozy———–
      433 could be a good lineup at some point in a game

      • This could work to slow the play of the game, but there’s no speed to work with here besides LD (who’s lost a step, or two- IMO). If we added some fast wing backs though? Maybe then this could be effective..

      • We tried 3 D Mids at the start of JK’s tenure, and it did not work. This is also lacking speed and width on the wings considering the competition we’ll be up against in the WC

  4. I admit Beckerman is underrated but I don’t want him starting in the world cup. Bradley/Jones for me with Cameron as an option. Beckerman is my 4th choice.

    I give him props for his dreads but if he was as talented as he was, he’d be playing in Europe

    though funny enough I recall that video when he was in the u-17. Been a long time for him and Gooch and Beasley and Donovan and him

    • “Bradley/Jones for me with Cameron as an option. Beckerman is my 4th choice.”
      …Jones is a liability. He doesn’t provide what Beckerman provides going forward. Sure, Jones has more bite but at what cost? Yellow cards? Red cards? I don’t think Jones is worth that liability.

      “I give him props for his dreads but if he was as talented as he was, he’d be playing in Europe”
      …It’s not that simple. He’s doing just fine here, thank you.

      • Exactly how mqny yellow/red cards did he have during the hex? Answer:1. That was due to a bad Zusi giveaway and was a professional foul. I am not saying he should start or not. My point is he is falsely accused of being a card problem. He gets a lot in friendlies(remembe Neymar), but shows restraint in the importnt games.

      • He’s shown more restraint only as of recently, and I do believe that’s Klinsmann’s training in effect. We want the dominant/imposing figure that Jones can be, but with less card collecting going on. If this is the player we get during World Cup, then I don’t mind him starting over Beckerman (especially when we play Germany), but if the latter- start the Dreadman.

  5. I really like both of them, and I understand they play different roles… but I certainly don’t think there is an equivalence between the two. Bradley is a different class of player, and that’s not intended as a knock on Beckerman. Beckerman is integral to his MLS team and possibly one of the more important MLS players in league history. But Bradley? Bradley’s the best American player right now, period, and is going to be in the conversation for “best American all time” soon enough, if he isn’t already.

    • I know what you are saying. Half of me wants Jones experience in the midfield. But I think we get a better Bradley when Beckerman is on the field.

    • I don’t trust Jones. I completely trust Beckerman. My only issue has been his speed, or lack of it. Interestingly, his speed seems to have picked up at the international level. Not sure if he is really faster, or he has upped his ability to read the game and just looks faster. In the end, Bradley has a greater impact on the game when he can trust the DMF to cover for him. He has never trusted Jones. He seems to trust Beckerman. We will not do well in the WC because we are very talented. We will do well if the chemistry allows us to fully employ what talent we do have.

    • I am with Scott, I completely trust Beckerman but not Jones at all. I think Jones has a little bit more potential, i.e. athleticism. However, for the rare great pass or run that Jones makes, he gets caught on possession or out of position many, many more times.

      I will take Beckerman every day of the week to pair with Bradley. The USMNT is much, much better with that lineup. It may not be sexy, but the DM position is not supposed to be. He is a very, very solid destroyer with good positioning and even better possession and passing from the back. Bradley can fully commit to getting into the box with Beckerman behind him. In fact, for me the only other option there is actually Edu, not Jones. Beckerman is still the best though.

    • Beckerman is just not that good. He constantly gives the ball away in the midfield which costs us, and he is out of position too often on defense.

      Case in Point: He didnt pick up the pick and roll on Mexico’s first goal. Sure it was Omar Gonzalez responsibility to call the switch, but a better defensive midfielder picks that up anyway instead of just standing there. On Mexico’s second goal, he was again out of position and could have intervened, maybe it wasn’t his express responsibility, but he was the closest with the ability to close down on the first shot.

      Good MLS player, liability on the international scene.

  6. Should be the starting central midfield pairing in Brazil. They work well together and not only do they play different roles, but also play different roles that the team needs.

    • Agreed. It’s a 50-50 between Jones and Beckerman for me now. I think that the Bradley/Beckerman pairing fits better than Bradley/Jones (IMO as of recently), because they play to each other’s strengths really well. Jones is a stud, but the bouncer/hitman- almost guaranteed a yellow card per game playing style of his could end up hurting us more than helping.. Either way, I’m really pumped for this World Cup… LETS GO YOU YANKS!!!


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