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SBI Question of the Day: Where should Bradley play with USMNT?

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports

For years, Michael Bradley’s best position has been up for debate and, following the U.S. Men’s National Team’s loss to Mexico, it appears that the player himself and his national team coach disagree on how best to deploy the veteran midfielder.

A recent story on Goal USA describes the apparent disagreement between Bradley and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann over the midfielder’s best position. Bradley says he sees himself as a No. 6, a defensive midfielder, in a role similar to that he plays with Toronto FC. Bradley has no issued playing a more attacking role, but the USMNT captain says he feels a deeper position complements his strengths more than one higher up the field.

Klinsmann disagrees, stating that he believes Bradley is a “difference-maker” and should be pushed higher up the field. Against top level opponents, Klinsmann wants his best pieces in the attacking end and, in his mind, keeping Bradley active in the final third is vital.

Despite his role as USMNT captain, some fans feel that Bradley should be relegated to the bench. However, despite his struggles, Bradley remains one of the USMNT’s most important players and leaders heading through the Hexagonal.

With that said, what do you think? What position do you see as Bradley’s best? ┬áHave your say in Tuesday’s SBI Question of the Day and state your reasoning in the comment section below.

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  1. bradley’s best position is very obvious: box-to-box mid. but as others have pointed out, this gets a little complicated considering that the role depends on having dedicated tacklers and creators elsewhere in the team, and we don’t really have that at the moment.

    one point i’ll throw out there: i only caught the second half of the mexico game, and i thought bradley was one of the best on the field. really the only knock against him was when he didn’t pass to a wide-open bobby wood. meaning, people may be overly swayed by how awful he (and pretty much everyone bar pulisic) was in that initial formation.

    my solution? *shrug* hope that kitchen or birnbaum improve to the point that we can either make kitchen the dedicated 6 or allow birnbaum to push cameron up to the 6. then we can wreak havoc with the 4-3-3:


    (who would’ve thought we’d miss beckerman this much?)

    • He was able to actually contribute in the second half, but he also continued to misplay pass, make weird decisions, etc. Very un-Bradley of him (if that is still relevant). His mistakes were finally being offset by good plays in the second half.

  2. Bradley is the consummate professional, has experience playing all over the world, and is intelligent enough to play adequately in a couple different positions. It’s interesting to hear him say he prefers the #6, and he does have the vision and skill to do ok there, but to me he lacks the positional instincts and anticipation to break up counterattacks the way someone like Beckerman did. Beckerman is not the athlete Bradley is, but ol’ dreads was a master at slowing/containing a fast break, and that seems like a crucial trait for a #6.

    Bradley is best as a box-to-box midfielder I think, but the problem is (and has been) we already have one of those by the name of Jermaine Jones. And Jones is just a little bit better for me. Jones has that intangible knack for coming up big in big games. I completely understand the desire to play both of them, because they are 2 of our 5 best players, but it just has never really clicked.

    It also needs to be said that Bradley’s form has not been very good for the USMNT for several years now, and I don’t know why. I have a hard time believing the move to MLS could affect a pro like him the way other people suggest. I wonder if there are injury issues or maybe just time catching up to him, but something has him just a little bit off, and that little bit shows when we play an opponent like Mexico.

  3. So you are saying we suck whenever he is on the field? We just suck less when he is #6? Both win percentages are unacceptable in CONCACAF.

  4. None of these people saying he should be on the bench are offering an alternative to who should start in his place. News flash, he is still our best option at holding mid.

    • Dax McCarty, Sacha Kjestan, Sam Cronin, Fatai Alashe, Osvaldo Alonso (if possible), Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales, Danny Williams. Please take your pick.

  5. I’ve read these comments from JK before and I’ve started to wonder if what he really means is, “Michael, I don’t trust your defense enough to play you as a pure 6 but I want you on the field somewhere”… Or something like that. The General has a lot of years on those legs & was never fast to begin with.
    Remember a few years ago everyone was saying the same thing about Deuce…he went back to Fulham for a bit…and even though he didn’t make an impact there, by the time he was back playing for us he’d gotten some of that spark and sharpness back. MB probably needs to do the same thing

  6. I like Bradley. I am just disappointed that he does not win his duels. I saw this at Roma, I saw this at the Brazilian WC and again on Friday night. Kid has got to sack up!

    • The problem really lies in the fact that MB’s actual best position is as and 8 in a 433. Few teams have the strong trio of mids needed for that. When beckerman was the 6 we had two 8’s with mb and jj. Niether jj or mb are perfect 6s but mb can play there amongst lower teams. The other side of this is if we play 433 with kljestan 10 mb 8 and a kitchen/Williams/stanko/Acosta/etc then we can’t have two central strikers. So the best alternatives are playing wood or altidore on the wings or leaving one of them off.

      Basically the hard part of most national teams is fitting together pieces that have different ideal formations needed. U want two strikers well u most likely will have only 2 CMs….. Thus u have to make mb stay up too much or sit back too much. U want mb as a free roaming 8? Then get ready for minimal shots per game since our technical ability negates the proper 433 movement needed.

      Pulisic, Gyau, kieswetter, Williams, stanko, are a few of the pieces that could eventually help solve this issue

      For example:
      Gyau Jozy kieswetter
      ——Bradley —-
      ————-stanko —–
      FJ Brooks CCV yedlin

      That’s a lineup where players are at their natural position(folks, I’m sorry… FJ is a fullback/wingback–he doesn’t take people on he plays smart positioning and can play good crosses and cut inside—-aka fullback/wingback…)

  7. He needs to go back to Europe but I doubt he will…. he took the dump truck full of money and ran with it…. unfortunately his abilities have taken a nose dive since returning to MLS.

  8. The mexico game shows he is not physical enough to be a defensive midfielder
    He was tried out at CAM and he didn’t do too hot.
    He is a good box-to-box midfielder but the USMNT needs a defensive midfielder to be part of the defense and an Attacking midfield to be with the attack.
    Until the defense and attack can hold their own so we are not always on the ropes defending, then we can make use of a No.6. But till then I don’t know where Bradley is really effective (as he hasn’t been playing good of late)


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