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Bradley poised for bounce-back performance against Portugal

Michael Bradley

Photo by John Todd/


SAO PAULO — It didn’t take long after the question was asked for Michael Bradley to admit that he wasn’t at his best against Ghana. Bradley acknowledged that his usual sharpness was missing on Monday, and that the U.S. Men’s National Team as a whole did not play its prettiest game of soccer.

Bradley also stated that the sign of a good World Cup team is that it gets better as the tournament progresses, and he is hoping that is the case for both himself and the U.S. starting with Sunday’s match against Portugal.

The Americans are set for a visit to Arena Amazonia in Manaus to take on Portugal in their second Group G match, and a better overall showing will likely be needed from the U.S. and its midfield ace than the one they put forth in the 2-1 victory over Ghana. Bradley is fully aware of that, and is counting on both he and the U.S. to deliver a performance that leads to better play and three more points.

“When you talk about the best teams, there’s an ability to win games in all different ways,” said Bradley. “The first game was a really big step in that regard for us, but we want to feel like now as the tournament is going on we are improving and growing because the teams that are around at the end are always the teams that are able to do that.

“You obviously can’t pick and choose, but still you never want to play your best game first. You want to feel like as the tournament’s moving on, as the tournament is progressing, the team and every guy is continuing to grow and get better and get stronger.”

Bradley was far from his strongest in Natal. He mishit passes that he normally makes with a sniper’s accuracy, struggled with some of his decision-making and also was dispossessed on a few occasions. Bradley was simply not up to his usual high standards.

That likely cannot be the case again on Sunday for the U.S., as it takes on a Portugal team in need of points after losing to Germany in its opener and that boasts talented veteran midfielders Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles.

Yes, Portugal is a bit handicapped due to a handful of injuries – there are still questions about Cristiano Ronaldo’s left knee – and Pepe’s suspension. But the Portguese have the type of skill that is capable of unlocking teams and lighting up the scoreboard.

“There’s two ways to look at it,” said Bradley of playing Portugal. “One is that they lost 4-0, they played 60 minutes down a guy, a few injuries. It’d be easy to look and say, ‘This is a good time to play them.’ But the other side says that in some ways it’s a desperate team that is playing for their lives because they need a result and we have to respect that, we have to understand how much they’re going to put into it.

“The main thing is still about us. We talked five minutes after the Ghana game ended about being excited and proud of the way we started off, but also realizing that one game doesn’t mean anything. If you’re not able to follow up the first game with another good result, then the first game goes right out the window and all of a sudden you’re going into game three needing a result and looking at the other game.”

Bradley and the U.S. might be able to avoid that all together if they can topple Portugal and if Germany defeats Ghana on Saturday. That would give the Americans and Germans six points apiece and punch their tickets to the Round of 16 even before the two nations square off in Recife on June 26.

With that much on the line, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will be hoping Bradley returns to his very best against the Portuguese. Bradley’s defensive effort was there against Ghana but his attacking game needs to improve, especially since he will have to carry more of the offensive load due to the absence of injured forward Jozy Altidore.

Bradley is up for the task. Now, it is up to him to execute it.

“Portugal is obviously a very different team than Ghana,” said Bradley. “They have a good mix of skillful, technical players but still guys who physically are strong, are fast, guys who jump well. Like I said before, it’s important to prepare the game in the best possible way. We feel like we have a good idea of who they are, how they play and what makes them tick, but at the end of the day, it’s still all about what happens when that whistle blows and there’s no way to predict that.

“Do we get another early goal? Do they get an early goal? These are the things that nobody has any idea. It’s just about the overall mentality that says no matter what happens, we prepare in the best possible way and we’re ready to over the course of 90 minutes do anything and respond to anything that happens and be ready to walk off the field with another positive result.”


Expecting Bradley to return to form on Sunday? Think Portugal is ripe for the picking or even more dangerous than usual coming off an embarrassing defeat?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Lots of people have suggested moving FJ to RM but here’s another idea: put Yedlin in at RM instead. He’s a very good wide player and I think he could be a better fit at RM than RB.

    • Dirk,

      If you are going to do that then you may as well put Chandler at RM. He is almost as fast and is more experienced having played there in the past. Or you can flip them, Fabian at RM and Chandler.or Yedlin at right back.

  2. Sure, a formation will be a good indicator of defensive and offensive play, but the bottom line is the fundamental game of soccer still needs to be played and played at a faster than normal league match speed. Trap, dribble, change direction, change speed, pass, support off the ball by getting into space, and close down space/pressure when we lose the ball. Play compact while keeping wingers as wide as possible (as the game flow allows). We will not be able to maintain possession or counter attack without playing a fundamental game. From within the fundamental game you can add game plan variations. Portugal will come after us for 90 + minutes just like Ghana. Portugal will not be reluctant with the ball. No excuses anymore. Carpe Diem

  3. But he did give a reason he played bad . He said you don’t want to have your good game first.

    Now he can get better

  4. I hope the coaches have an idea what’s wrong with Bradley. It looks like the team needs more work on their counterattacking, it’s been horrible since I’ve been watching from the send-off friendlies. Their defending on set pieces and crosses has been great though. Ghana had tons of chances and their one goal comes off a simple give and go.

    • We had no width against Ghana. The diamond 4-4-2, I thought, was wrong against Ghana and will be wrong against Portugal, maybe. SHOULD, MAYBE, JUST IF the US has some possession then we could go from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 Diamond, but neither formation matters if we do not play a fundamental game of soccer at a high speed of play.

    • Re watch the game. Bradley was available for passes all day. But there were few times when a forward was showing for him. That coupled with the 2 defensive mids made any forward pass difficult and unsettled him when he looked up and saw no one then had to look again slowing his play and leading to some terrible passes.

  5. For me, it has more to do with the position than the match. He looked just as uncomfortable against Nigeria, he just isn’t good at being that playmaker. He doesn’t have the individual skill, or even the first touch, to make that #10 role work against World Cup opposition. Dempsey is a more natural fit, and I’d like to see us return to the 4-2-3-1 with Bradley in the two. That’s my opinion.

      • I’d go Jones and Bradley, Bedoya and Zusi on the wings, Dempsey in the middle, AJ up front. Think it will increase possession, and up the passing game all around. Jones has been good the past couple games, let’s see if he can do it without Beckerman.

        This is what the roster was made for, going with the three DM’s every game is reducing the depth of the team dramatically..

      • The way Jones has performed in the last 3 games there is no way any coach would leave him out barring injury, the same is true of Beckerman, Johnson and Cameron. Others have performed more unevenly over that span so that if you told me that others, even Bradley would see little or no time, I might be surprised, but might be able to see some rationale in it.

  6. No surprise to me. Everyone who goes to TFC starts to have their from dip. It’s like their cursed or something.

  7. The indelible image in my mind of Bradley on Monday is one pass in particular, in the Ghana side of the pitch, that was so undercooked it looked like it was kicked by a U8 kid. So uncharacteristic of MB90. The pass didn’t even have enough on it to reach the intended player, who was only 10 yards away. It was obviously intercepted, then he had to sprint like a madman back to defend. Those kinds of mistakes, that lead to that kind of workload, take a lot out of anyone in such wilting heat & humidity.

    • There was another where he was alone and had Bedoya on the wing by himself and over shot him. I believe Bedoya even pulled something trying to reach it.
      Then at the end when Bradley could have killed time he tries to play in a ball to Johannsson who has no hope of doing anything with it while cover by 2 much bigger center backs.

      • Yes, I remember that ball to Bacon at the end. Uncharacteristically poor execution *and* uncharacteristically poor decision-making.

        On the other hand what does that say about us that we were able to still pull out the win? Grounds for optimism? Hopes that a “typical” MB90 raises us up higher?

  8. Considering the Portuguese back line is ravaged by injury and suspension, I hope that we come out somewhat aggressive and attack freely. Hopefully, we see the version of Bradley from the first half of the Mexico friendly. That Bradley was confident, creative, and dynamic; we need him!

    • “Considering the Portuguese back line is ravaged by injury and suspension” – I’m not very knowledgeable about Portugal — how much of a downgrade is their second-string? I’m willing to bet they’re still going to be pretty darn tough to break down.

      • losing Coentrao is huge. him and Ronaldo are lethal. as a Madrid fan, i see it every week and you could see it with Portugal too. he constantly overlaps Ronaldo and creates problems. and now they will likely be stuck playing a CB at LB.

        as for Pepe, it’s a significant loss but he is always a liability. Portugal does have decent enough options to slot in for him though, so we’ll see.

        the key will be stopping Miereles and Moutinho from feeding Ronaldo and Nani. my guess is their RB, Pereira, will look to connect with Nani a lot as well. those two are just as quick as Ronaldo/Coentrao.

      • Also, Pepe’s replacement is either Luis Neto or Ricardo Costa. Neto has 9 caps and plays for Zenit. He is decent, but could be taken advantage of. Costa is experienced by 33 – Johannsson could defintely use his pace on him.

      • Bryan, I think Moutinho is ALWAYS the key. If you look at the Sweden game where Ronaldo scored the hat trick, Moutinho sprang him on every occasion. Germany was able to bottle up Moutinho before Pepe’s red card, and you saw how starved Ronaldo was.

        Moutinho is the key to it all.

      • Who do you think is going to have the battle of the ages with Portugal’s Brian Wilson (Raul Meireles)?

    • +1 Please bro.. We’re getting our points of Poland and maybe S. Korea… don’t you know a golden generation when you see one? Figo was WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR!… Who we got… “Claudio Reyna?: bwahahahahaha,,… Please.

  9. The chances of Bradley playing better are stronger than the chances of him playing worse, so at least he has that going for him against Portugal.

    • I don’t think so. My guess, for all the Iron Man Bradley talk (which I normally like), is nerves exacerbated by conditions, plus Ghana pressuring him, plus the early goal and Jozy going down disrupting the game plan. And maybe he was just off. I don’t expect a Bradley v Mexico half, but I do expect him to be a lot better at keeping possession against Portugal.

      • Which half are you referring to? He didn’t look so good in that second half. Unless Klinsmann changes his formation, Bradley will perform the same. He is not a good attacking midfielder. His only strength is to play a long ball. When he plays too far forward, he cant do that. I’d rather see Bedoya or Diskerud playing attacking center mid.

      • He is referring to the first half, when it was a true diamond with Michael Bradley as the sole attacking mid, which is when he put in perhaps the most world-class single-handedly dominant performance of an american, or just about any nationality for that matter, that we have ever seen. In the second half, the formation was changed to give him a more defensive role, so your comment doesn’t make any sense at all.

    • He was completely let off from critique against Ghana.

      His passing was terrible; his position was mostly useless; and his defense was nowhere to be seen. This is the second game this has happened.

      It could be nerves, but, and I’ll be crucified for saying this, he doesn’t look like he cares as much as the old Bradley.

      Conspiracy: He hasn’t played like himself since Donovan was omitted. Donovan was a Sr. Bradley loyalist, I wonder if Bradley Jr. is still upset by the drop. While Bradley would never throw a game, he may be playing poorly because he no longer feels he fits 100% like he did. I can see Bradley as one of the guys really pissed about Chandler, Brooks, and Green getting an invite and that affecting him.

      • He looked like he cared like the old Bradley. Problem is, he played like the old Bradley. Pre 2012 Bradley.

      • Ridiculous. It doesn’t fit whatsoever with Bradley’s personality. He has always been the consummate professional and would not let petty things get in the way.

        And in no way was he immune from critique. Every media outlet hammered him.

      • yes. consummate professional, but human. Still does his work, tries hard but without the emotion and passion that drives one to greatness.

      • That’s why I said it’s not him doing it consciously.

        But players who don’t feel they belong or who have personal problems with coaches/teammates have huge drops in form all the time throughout a season.

        There’s no reason to believe that couldn’t be the case here. Bradley will always try 100%, and he did against Ghana, running around like a chicken without its head. But the problems he had during that game were the exact same ones he had last game and problems he hasn’t had since he was a kid. He’s not playing like the player we know and his drop was around the time Donovan was dropped – namely during the friendlies.

      • Sorry, but your comments are so speculative and lacking in any actual evidence, I have to respond.

        Whenever someone has to say: “There’s no reason to believe this couldn’t be the case…”. The burden of proof should be on the person coming up with the conspiracy.

        Bradley has played very well throughout Klinsmann’s tenure including just two weeks ago against Nigeria. Though you’re right, maybe he was only subconsciously playing well in that game to convince Klinsmann to rely on him in the World Cup, where he’d also subconsciously be planning to stop playing well.

      • since a kid? he went through this exact issue at Aston Villa. his play for bad for the US and everyone was saying the only reason he plays for the US is because of his dad. and that started the whole “MB90” tag.

      • JK has consistently listed Bradley as one of his core players. Bradley was the one who was present for most of the qualifying campaign, unlike LD.
        I don’t think the LD thing has anything to do with Bradley’s performance against Ghana.

      • How come reporters do not ask these kind of hard questions? Ives, Bennett, Twellmen, Carlise and many others just tip toe around the hard stuff. They ask questions I could ask and then write boring interview pieces (some of them are very good tho). I want really know whats going on, not what he said. Like this article. This provided absolutly nothing.

        Come on writers and interviewers, step it up! The only person willing to get into it is Lalas, too bad he is dumb.

      • Its kind of hard for US reporters to attack the coach too strong because its a tight nit community and reporters can lose access to interviews. National reporters in USA covering soccer are only an handful. Its not like Mexico where there’s like 250k reporters covering soccer on a daily basis. Players don’t want to go on record criticizing Klinnsmann therefore reporters can’t print that stuff without risk that it will come back to the player.

      • Yea I imagine thats it, but I wish there was one reporter who would be willing to take the risk. It would make these discussions more interesting at least.

      • You guys must not have seen the social media from any of the reporters you’re accusing of being soft…plenty of those guys, Wahl, McIntyre, Strauss, Lalas, TT, Carlisle, have blasted some of JKs decisions since he named the 23..

      • Yea, this is the same lamestream excuse NYT/CNNMSNBCFOX reporters use about covering politicians, CEOs and generals. “We have to kiss their behinds or we will not get any access to them”.
        Journalism is dead! We just have corporate shills and propaganda ministers now.

      • LOL- I have seen it all now. Seriously??? I don’t even know what to say. It all comes back to Donovan…

        You think Bradley is so bent out of shape that guys like Parkhurst and Goodson were omitted in favor of Brooks and Chandler that he is not playing hard? Chandler has much more upside than any omitted fullback, and Brooks already proved his worth.

        As for Green over Donovan, we can debate that until the end of days (and for the record, I wish Donovan was on the team over Green/Davis), but to suggest that a soccer lifer like Bradley, who respects the game like few other players, has unblemished marks for loyalty, hard work, and dedication, would play less than 100% on the biggest stage of the sport because he is upset that a guy who supported his dad got cut from the team is BEYOND absurd.

      • You do not know how certain things affect other people? Do we question that Bradley is not giving 100%? No. But what we do question is how he feels with the team. And if he doesn’t feel well with the team then it could be affecting his playing.

      • Neither of us knows how things effect certain people. So why would you throw such crap against the wall about Bradley? There is zero basis to support your claim other than Bradley had a bad game. On the flip side, he has an entire career of rising above things and being a consummate professional. Not sure why that would change now.

        He had a terrible game. I don’t think he got a free pass. He certainly didn’t from me. But I can’t understand why fans would attack one of our own (and such a key player) with such insinuation. I am okay with criticizing his play. But suggesting some ulterior motive is so petty.

      • My claim is supported by the fact that Bradley went out of his way to talk up the importance of Donovan in the 30 camp, just for his coach to not pick Donovan. And then the four games after that are below his normal standard, with one of them being an absolute stinker.

        We are just wondering and speculating about what could have caused this dip in form. In no way are we attacking him. I am not claiming he is throwing the game because Donovan is not on the team. bradley would never do something like that. I am just wondering if Donovan not being around is affecting him mentally.

      • exactly, you at least have some evidence. It may not be the reason at all. Still it isn’t “wrong” to bring it up. These people who think you are wrong for bringing it up, are just completely closed minded.

      • You are either wittingly or unwittingly disrespecting Bradley to think he needs a binky to play well on the world’s biggest stage. Whichever it is, you are unquestionably over-estimating Donovan’s impact on this team. This is 2014, not 2010, nor 2006.

      • Zero basis, would be saying something like Bradley prefers flying on Boeing aircraft over airbus.
        There is some basis. Bradley’s drop in form has coincided with Donovan’s cut. Bradley was very disappointed and even depressed in interviews immediately following Donovan’s cut. Howard looked that way too though. These guys are human, sometimes an emotional situation gets you out of your grove. I think it may have here.

      • Not at all. If you are implying that all people should react the same way, that just isn’t how humans work.

      • yeah. no duh. but sometimes a correlation and a causation are related. Like hmm every time you put your hand on the hot stove, your hand hurts. correlated and caused.

      • You guys are reading way too much into very small examples to try to prove this theory. Of course Bradley is going to be disappointed Donovan isn’t on the team. But why on earth do you cite that as now the direct reason he isn’t playing well, like he really can’t get over it? And how has Bradley even had a huge drop in form? He was great against Nigeria and bad against Ghana. He had a bad game. It happens.

        Alternate theories on things are welcomed. We’re not being close-minded by disagreeing with you.

        It’s just a theory that has so little to support it.

      • you’re so absurdly blind to any point of view but you’re own. Why can’t someone have an emotional human reaction. It may be a stretch to believe that is what affected Bradley, but there is some evidence that aligns with the idea. I’m not saying that is what happened, but you people that are so white and black on an emotional situation are the only absurd ones, because you think you are the only voice of reason. It was a theory and it has evidence and if you wanted to make an argument as to why you think Bradley’s form is off you have the right, but stop insulting people because you think you are better than them.

      • no, i comment on points i disagree with. making a claim that Bradley isn’t playing 100% because he is mad at the team selection is ridiculous.

        also, when you respond to me disagreeing with what i say, you are doing THE SAME THING.

        what evidence? show me something that proves Bradley does not want to play 100% because he is upset with the team selection. i’d love to see it.

        also, saying the question is BS is not insulting people. YOU just called me “absurdly blind” so who is insulting who?

      • It is not proof positive. Where did you get that? It is supporting evidence to a theory. The evidence was listed. The timing of Bradley’s down turn in form. The things Bradley said and his body language in interviews conducted after Donovan was cut. It is evidence. It isn’t proof, but nobody said that it was. Josh said it was a theory, not that he fully believed it to be true. The difference between us is that you believe someone asking questions is “BS”. I think a question can be valid until the evidence shows it not to be. The burden of proof isn’t on him. It was a theory. If you call it BS, then the burden of proof is on you. You’re the only one certain one way or the other.

      • Jesse – because you said, “but there is some evidence that aligns with the idea.”

        there is NO evidence to suggest that. only conjecture and thinking correlation = causation.

        “The timing of Bradley’s down turn in form. The things Bradley said and his body language in interviews conducted after Donovan was cut. It is evidence.”

        again, that is NOT evidence. that is YOU taking things and trying to say they are related. his body language?! seriously? by all accounts from the people who were actually there, this was not evident.

        “I think a question can be valid until the evidence shows it not to be.”

        oh, so guilty until proven innocent. GOT IT. you are questioning his professionalism and character yet I’m the a-hole for backing him.

        “The burden of proof isn’t on him. It was a theory.”

        who is “him”? Josh? if so, you are incorrect, it’s on him/you. yet you have provided nothing other than conjecture and weak correlations.

        “If you call it BS, then the burden of proof is on you. You’re the only one certain one way or the other.”

        ummm no, i’m not the one making accusations. that would be YOU and Josh D. heck, even Josh D primed his comment with, “Conspiracy.” i’m basing my opinion on Bradley’s comments…

      • wow bryan. I’m embarrassed you are a fan of my team. I should really leave it at that.

        Nobody said that Bradley is this way because of Donovan. Nobody said that. Do I need to repeat that again? He said it was a theory and there were several things that aligned with the theory.

        That is it. Nobody has to prove it is the case, he just said it as a theory. There is no burden of journalism, he isn’t sure, neither am I. He isn’t saying Bradley is bad as a person, player or American. Sure correlation isn’t proof, but it is supporting information aka evidence! I don’t know why you are trying to split hairs between those two things when you haven’t offered anything to the contrary.

        Since you are 100% confident, then you should explain how you’ve been talking to Bradley every day and he didn’t even like Donovan. Or whatever it is that backs up your theory.

        The truth is there is no proof either direction, it is all conjecture. Only you believe that you are 100% correct. So if you are then prove it.
        Nobody else has to, because we’ve all said “who knows”. I trust that he is trying his hardest and acting like a professional. Something is missing though. Hopefully he turns it around, but why are you so adamant that you know, when you are yet to offer anything to prove the opposite. All you do is attack my sentence, in which I explain how “I don’t know”. Chill out dude.

      • Jesse:

        “wow bryan. I’m embarrassed you are a fan of my team. I should really leave it at that.”

        you’re embarrassed that I’m backing up Bradley against some theory that he is not giving his all because he is angry with JK? how does that make sense?! YOU two are the ones questioning his commitment. not me. i should just leave it at that…but i won’t.

        “Nobody said that Bradley is this way because of Donovan. Nobody said that. Do I need to repeat that again? He said it was a theory and there were several things that aligned with the theory.”

        YOU did. here is the theory you are supporting, “He hasn’t played like himself since Donovan was omitted. Donovan was a Sr. Bradley loyalist, I wonder if Bradley Jr. is still upset by the drop.” that is the theory Josh D put forward. try to keep up. and again, several things did NOT line up with that theory! you are using a few poor performance as proof. that is literally the DEFINITION of conjecture.

        “There is no burden of journalism”

        correct, i didn’t say in my original comment there was. all i said was it was “BS” and you decided to question me questioning the theory. it was you who started talking about who the burden of proof falls on so i rolled with it. make up your mind.

        “He isn’t saying Bradley is bad as a person, player or American.”

        i didn’t say he was saying that but you’re going to sit here with a straight face and tell me the theory isn’t questioning Bradley’s character by saying Bradley wouldn’t give 100% effort? you seriously can’t see that?

        “Sure correlation isn’t proof, but it is supporting information aka evidence! ”

        HAHAHA you would be awful lawyer my dude…it’s not evidence.

        “I don’t know why you are trying to split hairs between those two things when you haven’t offered anything to the contrary.”

        i don’t have to. i am backing up Bradley and what BRADLEY said. you two are the one creating conspiracies. again, how do you not understand that?

        “Since you are 100% confident, then you should explain how you’ve been talking to Bradley every day and he didn’t even like Donovan. Or whatever it is that backs up your theory.”

        i’m 100% confident Josh’s conspiracy is not true because I can read Bradley’s quotes and it’s obvious he just hit a poor run of games. nothing in his quotes says he doesn’t want to give 100%. who said Bradley doesn’t like LD?! where did you even get that from? my “theory”?! the only thing i’ve maintained is that Bradley had an off game again and that you two chalking it up to him not wanting to give 100% effort because he is mad at JK is a ridiculous conclusion. again, this is NOT difficult to understand.

        “The truth is there is no proof either direction, it is all conjecture.”

        the only conjecture is yours and Josh’s. i’m basing my comments on what Bradley has said. which is that he had a bad game. that’s it and it’s from the SOURCE. not difficult to understand that. you two are the ones drawing conclusions from incomplete information…not me.

        “I trust that he is trying his hardest and acting like a professional.”

        yet you agree with the theory presented by Josh that says the EXACT opposite of that…

        “Hopefully he turns it around, but why are you so adamant that you know, when you are yet to offer anything to prove the opposite.”

        i’m adamant because i think it’s absolutely ridiculous for you and Josh to say Bradley is not giving his all because he is upset with the team selection by JK. the guy who has given his all and bleeds red, white, and blue. i find it offensive. why can’t someone just have a bad game without some conspiracy? you keep saying i have yet to prove the opposite. i’m literally siding with Bradley’s comments above which you can scroll up and read. he says he knows he had a bad game will be look to rebound. THAT is my proof as to why i think Bradley just had a few bad games as opposed to the theory that you and Josh are perpetuating. get it?

        i’m attacking your sentence because you are looking for a conspiracy when there isn’t one.

      • wow and wow. I don’t know what to say bryan. I continue to say it is a stretch. I opened with that comment. I still believe it is. I don’t actually think this is what happened to Bradley. I just subscribe to the belief that the theory although a stretch wasn’t for sure wrong. There was no need for you get all prissy and attack him. Which is why I responded to your attack. There are some things that back it up.
        You got angry and started ripping him, for offering a theory. You are so focused on the difference between corroboration, evidence and proof you fail to see what happened. He offered a hands in the air guess at what could be going on and you flipped out.
        You should really see someone about those anger and control issues. Cause nobody else here has a clue what is hampering Bradley from being his best. Psychology can play a role in how you perform on the field. It isn’t BS to suggest that. When we then search for what might be wrong in his head, we throw out random theories. Josh did, you got angry, and now here we are.

      • Jesse – i’m ripping his theory, not him. BIG difference. i understand you said it was a stretch. which is why i moved right on past that comment and straight to your claim of evidence.

        anger? not a chance. frustration and shock at continued conspiracies about our team from our own fans? absolutely. it’s BS.

      • Do you think that if someone has an emotional let down that they are less for it? That seems to be what you continue to say. The only thing for sure is it makes them human. If Bradley felt less invested at the moment LD was cut because he thought it hurt the team, then good for him. Him having an emotional let down actually shows how much he cares. I believe even if that was the case he would have moved past it by now, but losing a bit of your edge during training, being distracted with it all, well it just isn’t that crazy of a theory.

      • Thanks for chiming in sportsnutty. We’ll let you know if your undeniable sense of what is wrong and right is needed again.

      • Don’t think thats the case. Bradley played excellent against Nigeria and Turkey. That was well after Donovan was omitted.

      • that just isn’t true. Bradley had a couple good moments in either of those games. He generally had a down performance. In both games he had numerous turnovers that could have very easily led to goals.

      • FULLY disagree. Bradley was very good against Nigeria and just shy of his expected play against Turkey.

      • outside of 2 passes in the Nigeria game he was worse than in the Ghana game. I understand those 2 passes were important, but the rest of the game was significantly worse than how he played against Ghana.

      • Not even close. You realize that mikey is the bald (white) guy who doesn’t play in the goal, right?

      • I have always supported Chandler and Brooks on the World Cup team, even back in March when Brooks was crucified.

        If you read my post, you’d realize I never said anything about Bradley’s commitment nor his effort. I explicitly said both were there. Care is probably the word you’re hung up on. Care in the way I meant it was lackadaisical.

        It’s absurd you wouldn’t read someone’s comment fully before answering him.

      • come on, lets stop with these ridiculous conspiracies. Bradley loves playing for the US and is a professional. he has had two bad games. it happens.

      • But it doesn’t really happen for Bradley. Not in a USA shirt. Plus don’t you think he would have been his most driven against this opponent. This is the team that knocked him out of a world cup and his dad out of a world cup twice! I can’t imagine something more motivational than that! But he did not look that motivated out there. Arguably the weakest midfield we play too.

        Could all be coincidence, could not be. Just speculating.

      • it doesn’t happen to Bradley? that’s your reasoning/proof? is he a robot? EVERYONE has bad stretches….

        that does not mean he is not driven or that he is mad at the team. he literally JUST said in the quotes above he had a bad game. IT HAPPENS. also, Ghana’s midfield is their strongest assest.

        can’t wait to hear Ives’ rant on this “Bradley is upset with LD not being on the team so he is not giving 100%” idea.

      • also, it DID happen in a USA shirt when everyone was claiming he was only on the team, starting, and playing 90 because his dad was the coach. this idea started because he was playing badly with the US and couldn’t find a minute at Aston Villa.

      • Studied and worked in politics for a long time. This is how conspiracies work: preconceived notion –> not confirmed –> fails to account for initially erroneous assumption –> still sees the gap between expectation and outcome –> invents “reason” that accounts for all of it in one shot while also satisfying emotional baggage from all of the above.

        Google “Zizek Jaws Ideology” for a similar explanation as it relates to fascism.

      • lol exactly. i’m literally amazed i’m having to argue above why i think it’s ridiculous to say Bradley is sacrificing his play because he is supposedly upset with JK and the selection of our team. and i get called the j3rk and i’m the embarrassing fan…

      • Bradly wasn’t great the last time the US played GHA either, but he was better than Ricardo Clark.

      • Guys, I hate to break it to you all but this Bradley-Donovan theory is ALL WRONG, BECAUSE…I’ve heard from some sources (in my head) that it was actually Tim Ream’s omission from the 30-man list that has caused Bradley to purposely stop playing well. From my sources (again, in my own head), Tim and Bradley love playing cards and watching TV together in hotels in other countries but now they can’t do that and they’re both MAD. Really mad. So sorry all you Donovan theorists. Bradley actually doesn’t even like Donovan all that much. He finds him funny at times but a little boring. He likes Tim Ream MUCH more and will never get over this loss.

        Again, this is all from sources within my own head.

      • Personally, I find it insulting to the 23 players in Brazil to continually bring up Donovan as if he has that much influence over this team. LD only played in 5 out of 16 of the qualifiers. This team learned to play and win without him. It’s time to let it go.

      • Josh D,

        Was Donovan on the field when Bradley had that monster game vs. Mexico?

        I remember Mexico coming back and Mikey not playing as well once LD came on in the second half.

      • how is that relevant? This wasn’t a conversation about Donovan being on the field, at that point Donovan was still part of the team working their way into World Cup form.

        The US fan base is divided. Isn’t just possible that some of the US players had similar thoughts as their fans? They can be professionals say all the right things and put in all the effort, but that extra drive of passion and emotion can make a difference. Josh was just laying out a theory. It may be wrong, it may be right. We will never no.

      • Jesse,

        If Mikey’s slump is due to LD’s exclusion then it stands to reason having LD next to him on the field would boost his play.

        Instead his play went the second half of the Mexico friendly when LD came on.

      • his play went down before Landon got on the field. It started to decline with the whistle that began the second half.

      • Amazing, you and Bryan think Josh is not just making a “stretch” as I called it, but it was “absurd” “ludicrous” or “bs”. Yet this is the logic you hit back with? Sad really.

      • do you make sense in your own head?
        I didn’t even bother to directly respond to your comment, because it was that bad. Now your new response is what exactly?
        I don’t know what is going on with you guys today. Just not on top of your game. You should take some time away from the keyboard.

      • whatever. I’m done defending a position I don’t actually agree with. Except to say you calling it ludicrous shows you are closed minded. Probably someone who said there is no chance, no way Costa Rica would beat Uruguay and Italy.

        Guess what, things happen against the odds.

      • Actually not even true. I said Costa Rica had a every good chance to defeat Uruguay due to Uruguay’s inconsistency through out qualifying and in friendlies. And Italy has had a history of starting off slowly in the group stage, so it wasn’t a huge surprise.

      • It was an example where some people said “ludicrous” or “100% no chance”, those types of statements are obtuse.

      • If he said the world is flat, sure that would be 100% wrong. To say a human may or may not have an emotional reaction is opinion unless you are the person in question. So unless you are michael bradley, you are just assuming too.

        Put the lollipop back in your pants, no one is getting in your van.

      • “To say a human may or may not have an emotional reaction is opinion unless you are the person in question.”

        No one is saying people can’t have emotional reactions. I’m saying the result of those reactions is stupid. Objectively. Have your emotional reactions all you want, but extrapolating some MB hate for Klinsmann based on some fan’s own desires to see LD play, is well… what was that you were saying about not being Michael Bradley?

        And no. Not I’m into kids. You are naive, and stupid is a turnoff. Now, if you were a voluptuous South Asian woman we could talk this out in a more intimate setting.

      • dude, you logged on to the wrong website. Go find your filth elsewhere, not much of a Quaker.

        Nobody is hating on MB. That is you projecting on people. Everyone here is very positive that he is the most important player on this team. You and bryan are the ones saying Bradley is somehow diminished if he was affected in anyway.

      • No one is saying that this stupid Donovan-Bradley isn’t remotely possible, it’s just that none of the supposed evidence brought forth is even remotely credible. Analyzing his supposed body language in interviews? Come on.

      • actually Andy, that is exactly what they are saying. You just agreed with me and restated exactly what I’ve been saying. Watch out you are about to be slammed.

      • Could be some truth to Josh D’s theory. It would seem logical that MB and the other veterans are not happy with Klinsmann calling up Chandler and Julian Green. After the Ghana game Chandler went up to Dempsey with a goofy smile on his face and said something to Dempsey and Dempsey looked at him like he was cockroach and Chandler quit smiling and moved on. Did anyone else see that? But there is another factor that could be having an impact on MB’s play and that is the more success the USMNT has, such as beating Ghana, the better it makes Klinsmann look and the worse it makes his father look. That might be difficult for MB, especially since he is smart enough to know that Klinsmann’s skills as a coach are hugely overrated and that he sort of an arrogant egotistical j*rk who speaks with forked tongue.

      • Conspiracy theory comes full circle here with reference to a deceptive “evil other” who speaks with a “forked tongue.”

      • django,

        There are any number of possible reasons why Mikey had a bad game.

        And there are any number of possible explanations for that encounter between Chandler and Dempsey.For example, maybe Deuce, with a broken nose, was not up for celebrating.

        In Mikey’s case if Donovan’s exclusion is the reason then it’s Mikey’s fault for letting that get to him and playing poorly.

        He’s not a kid or a teenager. He is a multi million dollar pro athlete and is expected to be more professional. There are 22 other guys who are looking to Mikey and he is letting them down if he is pouting about his friend not being there.

        The reasons for Mikey’s slump are irrelevant;either he fixes it or the US goes home prematurely.

      • i just re-watched it because i was legitimately curious because i didn’t notice that. start at 2:27:36 of the ESPN feed available on WatchESPN or ESPN3.

        Chandler comes up, congratulates Dempsey, Dempsey laughs and says something to Chandler who then literally laughs his face off. don’t believe me, here’s a photo:

        “Dempsey looked at him like he was cockroach and Chandler quit smiling and moved on. Did anyone else see that?”

        prime example of seeing something when there is nothing to see.

      • I really don’t think Bradley would jeopardize his own success/legacy as a player to make his father’s past coaching tenure look better. Pretty, pretty unlikely. He’s had a ton of memorable great games with Klinsmann as coach.

        Let’s all just hope Bradley plays better against Portugal than he did against Ghana. That really should be all people are talking about on this issue.

      • I don’t know what you have been reading, but Bradley has received the most negative reviews of all the Yanks.

        Your theory is a ridicules stretch.

        Lets all just hope he gets involved against Portugal.

      • Putting aside how dumb this commentary is…could it just possibly, I mean lets think outside the box here…he just had a bad game? I mean I understand they all have to be perfect every game but could that POSSIBLY be it…

      • Josh d.,

        “Donovan was a Sr. Bradley loyalist,”

        Looking back, I’m not so sure about that. The only senior player I remember being publicly supportive of BB after his firing was Clint.

        I remember LD being pretty non supportive of BB after his sacking:


      • Tell me: how did Bradley feel sending that sublime pass to Fabian Johnson against Turkey? Or that beautiful ball to Altidore against Nigeria?

        If you’d like the proper diagnosis, it’s that since Bradley’s performance is so crucial to US success, you’ve concocted ridiculous explanations in order to defend against the uncomfortable fact of variance in human performance.

        Either that, or Bradley is subconsciously upset John Brooks is on the team :/

    • Any comment he gives would immediately be tabbed as an excuse, and everyone would be all over that.

      He had a bad game. It’s incredible how people are all over him after one bad game.

      • +1. It’s over-the-top. But really who cares… Mike knows he can play better than that…. he probably can’t wait to get out there and prove it.

      • I can, that is one of the 4 I’m considering yes. He had some good moments but had more bad turnovers and bad passes in that game than against Ghana.

      • “He had some good moments”


        “more bad turnovers and bad passes in that game than against Ghana”

        Not even close to true. Confirmation bias with 10/20 hindsight…

      • I’ll tell you what. Go back and count the number of dangerous turnovers he made in each game. Report back to us. Did he even make any truly dangerous ones in the Ghana game? He made at least 3 against Nigeria and struggled equally against Turkey.

      • 3 bad passes = horrible game? Seriously? Dude, you’re drunk. And reaching. But hey, looks like you found your D.

      • what bias? Bradley is by far the most important and best player on the US. I’m a huge fan. Just tired of smucks coming on here and ripping a guy like josh for throwing out an unpopular opinion. He is entitled to not be insulted by all of you guys. Someone needs to tell you that you aren’t as smart as you think you are. Acting all holier than though does you no good. If you want to have that attitude you can be a Yankees or Patriots fan, no place for it here. And go suck on your own freaking lollipop. When you made that comment your proved you were one of those snobs.

      • 3 bad passes no. 3 passes that could have created goals for the opponent greatly diminishes the CV yes.

      • Jesse D.,

        “ Just tired of smucks coming on here and ripping a guy like josh for throwing out an unpopular opinion. He is entitled to not be insulted by all of you guys. “

        That is not true.

        Josh is being insulted not because his opinion is unpopular but because he is unable to credibly defend it.

        When you start reading Mikey’s mind from afar and then post something as inane as what Josh D . did then you had better be ready for what comes. If he has a great idea then it he should be ready to stand by it.
        As for “entitled to not be insulted”, in case you haven’t noticed SBI has a moderation policy mostly against presumed bad words or excessive numbers of attached links but otherwise, whoever is monitoring the posts does not edit concepts that are not clearly thought out, ideas that fail to rise above the level of kindergarten thinking, or diminished mental capacity
        The only protection you have is being able to sensibly defend your post.

        Besides Josh’s theory about Mikey ignores the fact that a lot of guys on this 23 are close with many of those who were cut by JK. Tim Howard and Boca are very close yet I missed Timmy’s loss of form when Boca cruelly got unceremoniously ash canned.

        Yeah, Mikey and Howard are different people but they are both on the same team and both have the same responsibility to themselves and their teammates.

        Pain from losing Boca or LD is personal.

        Performing on the field is business and right now both Mikey and Timmy had better be all about business or they have no business being in Brazil.

      • But GW. Just because you, Quaker, and bryan think you are right you don’t have to defend your position? That has been the common theme. You don’t have to defend your position. At least you (unlike bryan and quaker) have tried to make some logical arguments. I agree with you guys that this is more than likely not affecting Bradley. Still when people rip a guy as “ludicrous” and “bs” and say prove your theory but don’t think they need to have a reason for saying that to him, it is absent minded. Not fair to Josh to be called names when they have no proof to counter his wild eyed theory. It was just a crazy theory and it wasn’t an insult to Bradley at all.

      • Jesse, you are the only one making illogical arguments. You are the one attacking everyone. Notice how no one is buying the theory? Maybe there’s a reason.

      • Also, what Josh referred to as a conspiracy but which you consider a theory, does not meet the standard of a theory. The definition of a theory:

        “A true scientific theory is not ‘just a theory’. A theory, in scientific terms, is actually several hypotheses that have been extensively tested and have a large amount of data to back them up. A scientific theory has not been disproven even though many experiments have been done on it over long periods of time. A scientific theory is pretty much accepted as a fact in science. A theory can be used to predict what will happen in situations that it is related to.”

        But sure, you keep calling me illogical, controlling, and angry. Meanwhile you keep posting to everyone who disagrees with the hypothesis/conspiracy put forward that you disagree with even. Because that makes so much sense.

        I’m done here. Go USA and enjoy the games.

      • Jesse D.

        “But GW. Just because you, Quaker, and bryan think you are right you don’t have to defend your position?”

        Sure we do.

        One thing I notice is that you are defending Josh D not yourself.

        It seems to me he knows best what he really meant and it would make more sense to let him defend himself.

      • That is fine GW. The only thing I’ve asked is that rather than everyone saying ‘idiot’, ‘ludicrous’, ‘bs’ they actually respond with an argument. Telling Josh he is dumb wasn’t a valid response, doing so with no reasoning behind it lacked class. Which is why I stepped in. If you want him to defend his arguments, sure I’ll let him. I just want people to make an argument against it, or ignore the comment

      • while my other comment awaits moderation. bryan, no one said it was a “true scientific theory” it was just “shoulder shrug theory”.

      • I have to agree. He’s playing like he did in 2008/2009. .. . these are the worst performances he’s had in years, and the catch is: The last game was arguably the most important game he’s played in, if not one of the most important. It’s concerning for sure, and he’s going to have to turn it around for tomorrow or we’re not going through to the group stage.

    • No, I think Michael perfected his dad’s interview style. He answers every question with something you already know or sometimes says some thing so vague you can’t tell what he meant.

      Mostly he does not share much personal to the public and he chooses his words pretty carefully to avoid giving up much about his relationship with teammates (other that the talk about fighting for each other, etc.) I think, like his dad, he is fiercely protective of all those around him, even though he can be demanding of his teammates in personal interactions.

      • Dennis,

        Watch interviews of, just for the sake of argument, 50 athletes from all sports who are at the same veteran status as Mikey and I think you will find that the majority are about as informative as Mikey.

        Most of them will probably be more charming and engaging but in the end they won’t tell you anything either. Like Mikey they know the fans will turn on them in a millisecond so why give them anything?

        Bob Bradley did not invent the art of speaking in a civil manner to the media without actually saying anything.

  10. Bradley playing with a chip on his shoulder is the best present we could have going into the Portugal game.

  11. Would love to see a more possession oriented game from the US leading them to a win against Portugal. Is it possible? Well, after just watching how Costa Rica beat Italy using fitness, an amazing game plan, resistance to pressure and possession I can’t help but think it is. Truly amazing victory from the Ticos. Go USA!

    • We’ll play more possessive this game. You have to remember that for 80% of the team, that was their first World Cup game. There were bound to be jitters. Now they’ll have settled.

      I do anticipate a shaky start. Our players will be overly excited when it comes to stopping Ronaldo. They can’t stab or tackle; they must stay upright and between him and the goal.

      While Jones would handle that task the best, I will guess Beckerman will be tasked with man marking him when he’s in the middle.

      I’m scared that Beasley is far too weak to handle Ronaldo. He’ll bounce off him and get taken every time. I know Chandler would be a risk, but I’d happily try it.

      • 80% including or excluding Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley, Beasley and Howard? More like 50%.

        I don’t think you can blame our style of play on jitters. I have no reason to believe Portugal will be a much easier opponent to control the ball against. I hope you’re right, but I don’t see it.

      • I was including the subs as well. And the 80% was a figurative number 🙂

        I don’t think the opponent will be easier but I do feel the team will be more confident. Let’s just hope we won’t have so many injuries in the first half to disrupt whatever rhythm we create in the beginning.

      • All I know is 70 percent of them seemed to be under a witch doctor’s spell, so hopefully that’s behind them now.

      • this conversation was 80% entertaining…

        I want to see Beasley out there at LB and I agree Chandler has the physicality but I’m still not trusting his “fight to the end” spirit. At least when Beasley gets beat, he tries his hardest to recover…

      • He might hold up better in the Amazon heat as well. I’m divided as to which one is the better play. Luckily it isn’t my call.

      • same. while i do think much is made of Chandler and heat/humidity…i trust Beasley more in extreme conditions given his time at Puebla. warm, humid enough, and high altitude.

    • CR’s game plan against Italy is what I have been thinking the US should do against Portugal. Press their defense up high, put them under constant pressure. With Portugal, their defense will be suspect. In the CR Italy game we see that it also had the effect of negating the Italian attack by forcing long passes from the back, reducing the impact that Pirlo and Balotelli can have with a more measured build up.


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