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USMNT Notes: Bradley leads in wake of absences; Klinsmann looking to help Green; and more


Photo by Soobum Im/USA Today Sports


With both Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey absent from the roster, the U.S. Men’s National Team needed Michael Bradley to embrace a leadership more even more demanding than that of normal.

Embrace it he did, as Bradley dominated the game on his way to a SBI USMNT Man of the Match performance while continuing to push a young but talented roster to victory.

For Bradley, Wednesday night presented a chance for the midfielder to leave a major footprint on the game from an attacking role, an opportunity Bradley embraced as the team’s captain and leader.

“Obviously, we all have our qualities and when certain guys are missing on some days, you look to the guys who step in to interpret the game and to play with their own personality and put their own stamp on the game,” Bradley said. “For me, it’s simple. Every time I step on the field, I try to do whatever is needed to help the team win. I try to read things. I try to look at the guys around me and see what I can do to help us win.

“I’m not afraid to take a big role. I’m not afraid to do what’s needed to help us try and win. It doesn’t mean that it always works, but I enjoy that. I relish that. I think tonight, when you look around the field, in tough conditions on a less-than-ideal field, I thought that the way that we handled the game was good. I think every guy who stepped on the field should be proud of that.”

His head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, was more than proud of Bradley’s performance, which saw him open up Mexico for the first goal before providing the direct assist on the second.

Wednesday’s action allowed Bradley to assert himself from higher up the pitch, a tactic Klinsmann believes make best use of Bradley’s vision and composure on the ball.

“It was by design because we played a diamond in midfield and having Michael in the position where he’s higher up, the goal with that is to give Michael the opportunity to find the forwards and feed them those balls that are often killer passes,” Klinsmann said. “He has the vision, he has the technique to play those balls and he also has the qualities to finish things off himself.”

Here are some more USMNT news and notes from Wednesday’s game:


Following his World Cup performance, the sky seemed to be the limit for Julian Green, but the events that have followed have brought the winger back down to earth.

Green has endured a tumultuous club season at Hamburg, one that has seen plenty of change and far less minutes on the field. Despite the difficulties, Klinsmann still holds Green in high regard and continues to vow to help the youngster find his footing.

“We are there to help them, to guide them, and also in moments that are difficult, like with Julian Green as we have seen in the last couple of days,” Klinsmann said. “It’s very difficult for the kid right now, but he deserves to come in. We talk to him, we have good meetings and we will help him. He flies back tomorrow to Hamburg to his fourth coach this season. The coach that took him was fired after two weeks. That’s what he’s going through right now, and he’s only 19-years-old.

“When we look at the players, no matter what age they are, we look at the possible path that’s ahead of them. We see the potential, we see the qualities, and then we see the areas that they need improvement on. We tell them those areas. We tell them you’ve got to work on this and got to work on that. All of them.”


Roughly a year removed form his last USMNT appearance, forward Juan Agudelo wasted little time in reestablishing himself as a potent goalscorer.

A second half substitute, Agudelo displayed a cool first touch and the ability to finish from range, giving the U.S. a 2-0 lead that would eventually hold on to be the final score. After nearly a year away from the game, Agudelo made his return this season with the New England Revolution, earning his way to a call-up that resulted in his return goal.

For Agudelo, whose first goal for the U.S. came nearly five years ago, Wednesday evening brought back memories of what it was like to contribute to his national team after a difficult year away from the game.

“It means a lot to me, and most of all it meant a lot during this game because it gave a lot less stress toward our defenders to maybe give up a goal to tie the game,” Agudelo said. “Now we had a little bit of cushion. It kind of brought me back to when I scored my first goal in South Africa.

“I was really thankful,” the forward added. “Honestly, it was the same feeling that I had when I scored my first goal. Crazy how it was the same celebration.”


For months, the USMNT’s backline has been an achilles heel due to late game collapse after late game collapse.

There was no such thing Thursday, as the defense held strong for 90 minutes, much to the pleasure of Klinsmann.

With the duo Omar Gonzalez and Ventura Alvarado as a dominant anchor at the center back position, fullbacks DeAndre Yedlin, Brek Shea and Greg Garza were given a chance to roam in a performance that Klinsmann felt was a high-quality display on both the attacking and defensive ends.

“I think they were outstanding. I think Omar and Ventura both played an outstanding game,” Klinsmann said. “I think DeAndre got better and better throughout the game. He had a couple of moments where the ball just bounced over near the sideline, so it kind of didn’t find the space to go yet. He found that space in the second half. We had the understanding before the game that Greg plays the first half and Brek Shea plays the second half and they were feisty. They were in there for the fight and I think Brek starts to enjoy more and more the role as a left back.”


  1. I’m OK with bringing in Green for camps, friendlies, etc. from a player-development standpoint. The real test of Jurgen will be the Gold Cup roster, when we have the full compliment of players to choose from. Based on playing time, form, and everything else JK has said, Green shouldn’t be part of that group.

  2. I think its more a statement on just how bad things are at Hamburg. Green doesn’t want to be there, Hamburg doesn’t want him and there’s a month left of the season. I would imagine he is getting little to no training at the club, why would they invest time on someone they have no future interest in. And he didn’t play so not sure what’s the big complaint. Morris should be a bigger complaint, the last time I checked the Pac-12 is not a major professional league and they haven’t had a competitive game since November.

    • There is no word yet, but I hope Green is training with the U-23s for next week’s friendly with Mexico. I honestly think that would be a positive experience for him.

      • That would be a great idea. The big problem that I see with that is that Bayern may step in and say no. I believe, per the loan agreement, that if Green does not make the bench for Hamburg matches, then Hamburg has to pay a penalty to Bayern each time that happens. Of course, Bayern might see the bigger picture and prefer that Green actually play in a competitive match.

  3. Interesting that it’s important to help Green by “bringing him in.” Jurgen “helped” Michael Bradley resolve his unsettled club situation at the beginning of his tenure by repeatedly calling in Jeff Larentowicz in his place. (And without scratching the oft-scraped wound of Landon’s having to earn his way back to the team.)

    It’s certainly interesting to see Jurgen’s “you need to be playing with the first team” rule be applied differently for the German-Americans than everyone else.

    I bet that’s fun for the players – to be judged by a vastly different set of criteria and held to a different standard than your peers.

    • Everyone forgets this. Bradley was one the the first player’s put through ringer by JK. It’s also funny, how much everyone forgets about Jones…dont write him off yet.

      • Yea- let’s not forget that Klinsmann had the balls to bench Bradley in favor of Beckerman who wasn’t given a sniff by previous Nats coaches.

    • Bradley was not 19 like Green when he had problems with his club. And he did not go through the circus of a club changing coaches 4 times in half a season.

      • It will be interesting to see how the next year develops for Green. Without question he has received preferential treatment from Klinsmann, but only time will tell if Klinsmann’s faith in Green’s skill set will eventually blossom. Hopefully his club situation will be improved for next year and will allow him to compete without the myriad of excuses.

      • There’s no guarantee that Green becomes the super power that folks want him to be or think the US deserves. JK is going by what he knows. It’s that same process that made him start a young college kid on Wednesday. Even if Morris does not score he learned a ton by just being in that game.

        I find it funny that the same crowd that made an argument to protect Jordan Morris’ confidence can advocate that we send a fist team Budesliga player to the U23s – oh yeah, that should do wonders for Green’s confidence.

        Sometimes in life you find yourself in a bad spot, a rough patch, and it helps to have some support as you work your way out. That’s all JK is trying to do here. Yes, it may seem preferential or imbalanced but JK knows all the criteria involved and sees more to this situation than we do – our weekly “did he start/did he score” criteria notwithstanding.

      • “advocate that we send a fist team Budesliga player”

        Maybe I’ve missed something, but there is little proof that Green is a a first team caliber Bundesliga player. Yes, he is on the roster, sort of. But up to this point Green has not displayed any sustained quality above the U23 level in the Bundesliga.

        A bit of patience to temper the unrealistic expectations would, I believe, prove beneficial to Green’s development.

      • Didn’t say he was a starter, so yeah, you’re right about the patience part. But folks at Bayern think that he’s close and what’s better yet is the kid is ready to stand up to the challenge and fight. How’s demoting him going to help?

        Again, I did not suggest that he’s a starter but he’s certainly higher than their actual U23s, if not then why send him away for get a better shot at first team ball? So if the club clearly rates him that highly, again, how does demoting him to the U23s help his confidence?

      • My point is that Green has not proven to be a 1st division Bundesliga caliber player, yet.

        Let me ask this. Has it helped his confidence fast-tracking his development to a team in the 1st division of the Bundesliga? Why are we not discussing whether or not he was ready for this level of play? What will happen to his confidence if he continues to fail to earn time on the pitch with either club or country?

      • Someone at Bayern, who know waaay more than either of us is convinced that he was good enough for first team ball, otherwise he’s on thier junior team. The kid has no chance of breaking into Bayern’s first team lineup. So someone from his loaned team was convinced he’s ready for first team ball. Why? Because they brought him in to play first team ball. Club situation changes and new guys are more interested in saving the club in a poorly ran situation – this has nothing to do with Green’s abilities.

        Between the Bayern decision makers, JK, and Hamburg (is it?) Green is viewed as better than U23. These people, who know this game, see more than us (a bunch of blog posters), and the kid is there it’s the club situation that had him in a jam. But for me that does not equal automatic demotion, as you seem to be advocating.

        Again not saying he’s a first team starter but in his development I think he’s viewed as ready for the next step – the right to fight for first team ball.

      • Glad that everyone rates him so high. That will only enhance the USMNT when/if he develops into an international caliber player. Only time will tell…

        Hope the next stop for Green will be at a level where he can compete and start to show some progression towards earning the spots he’s been given so far. Obviously the kid is a talent and if he develops will provide some competition for the other young attacking prospects in the USMNT system.

      • Why do you even bother? Folks will leave out as many variables in the equation so that they make it tailor fit their point of view. I guess that’s one way to do the math.

  4. I think one way for Klinsmann to help Green is to get him some games with the U-23s instead of calling him to every Senior camp.

    • i agree Green should have gone with the U-23s last go around, but i have no problem with him coming into this camp. as JK said right after the WC, these guys would be called in, outside of their youth camps, simply to check up on them. it may mean someone doesn’t get a shot, like Shipp, and i get the frustration there. but only 17 guys can take part in the friendly and, for the most part, the coaching staff knows who is going to play. so the other guys are simply there to train and get “scouted” by the US staff.

      • Or Jerked around thinking they have a chance to play. No room for Lee Nugyen in a 17 man rotation? What’s up with that?

      • easy answer. Bradley.

        JK wants Bradley at the top of the diamond and wants him to get as much prep time there as possible. that leaves Lee SOL. and with Mix already in the team, and a guy who can also play that position, JK clearly was not impressed enough with Lee to put him above Mix.

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