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Schmetzer: Bradley one of most accomplished American soccer players ever

SEATTLE — When Brian Schmetzer looks at Toronto FC’s lineup ahead of Sunday’s MLS Cup final showdown, he sees a team with plenty of dangerous players, but he also sees them boast a captain he couldn’t have more respect for.

Michael Bradley has become a polarizing figure in American soccer circles, beloved in Toronto by TFC fans for his role in turning the Canadian club into a title-winner, but often booed at away stadiums across the country by some U.S. Men’s National Team fans who consider him a negative influence on the USMNT despite his impressive accomplishments as a national team player.

Schmetzer doesn’t buy into the negative view of Bradley, and instead sees a player who has become one of the sports standard-bearers in the United States.

“I see in Michael Bradley one of the most accomplished American soccer players ever,” Schmetzer told SBI. “Look, (Landon) Donovan and (Clint) Dempsey are going to get all the accolades, some of the goalkeepers, Cobi (Jones). We’ve had a lot of good players, but if you look at the national team and the profile of the national team, whose raised that? Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley.”

Bradley’s uncompromising attitude hasn’t made him a very sympathetic figure, and his prominent role as captain of the U.S. team that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup has led to plenty of scorn from some USMNT fans. While that may be,  it is tough to deny his credentials, both on the club level, and with the United States. He played in two World Cups, made 151 national team appearances, and enjoyed some of his best national team moments against arch-rival Mexico. On the club level, he enjoyed success in top European leagues before returning to MLS and leading TFC to what is now three MLS Cup finals in four years.

Bradley’s influence on the American game definitely doesn’t go unnoticed by TFC’s opponent in Sunday’s MLS Cup final. Sounders and USMNT midfielder Cristian Roldan sang Bradley’s praises this week, pointing out that he had Bradley’s USMNT jersey when he was growing up.

“That’s someone I really look up to,” Roldan said of Bradley. “The way he carries himself. I’ve seen it first hand the past two years now. He’s the ultimate professional. A true leader, a true captain, so anytime I face him I want him to feel that I’m good enough to be on the same field as him.”

Jordan Morris first experienced playing alongside Bradley when he made his USMNT debut as a college player in 2014.

“Right when I came in as a young college kid, obviously I’m nervous, and him and Jozy were both great helping me to understand the ropes,” Morris told SBI. “They were guys I looked up to, and I grew up watching them play.”

There is a chance that some in the sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Field may boo Bradley when his name is announced, partly because of his role as TFC captain, but also because of the animosity some USMNT fans feel towards him. As far as Schmetzer is concerned, Bradley’s national team career, and influence as an American player, are worthy of cheers and not jeers.

“Michael’s done everything, in my opinion, that’s required of him,” Schmetzer told SBI. “Yeah, he gets some grief because the national team program is not really good right now, right? Or some people think it’s not in a good place? That’s not all Michael’s fault. It’s everybody’s fault.”


  1. In the first half alone he had 3 passes that went to the other team. So his signature side field pass to the corner was way off. He offered nothing to counter Seattle, and just like Tata Martino, Candada,and other teams, they know Bradley’s connections will get him 90 minutes always and they wait to about the 60th minute mark to then start destroying the space that the traffic cone( Bradley) becomes. JUST RETIRE FROM USMNT like a Good Man and let others finally get their chance. Like your father did for you.

  2. Bradley had a great career and played fantastic today, but he passed his prime and needs to be a role player now, not the star.

  3. Even if the Nats win the game in T&T, it was 3 and 0 in Russia. This has little to do with Bradley, and more to do with a weak and depleted player pool. Bradley is still called up because we do not have an adequate replacement for him in the pool (Wil Trapp?…No thanks). Once he hangs his cleats, look for him to move into coaching. He reads and understands a the game very well.

  4. I think the real beef US fans have with Bradley is that he continued to play well past his prime. WC 2014 should have been his swan song. The failure to qualify for Russia was on the whole team and coaches, not just Bradley. But the fact he has continued to be called up, at the expense of promising young players’ playing time, is like re-opening the wound every international window. Fans are begging GB to let the youngsters get the experience, even if that means losing games in 2019. But GB keeps calling up Bradley, which reminds us of Couva and the 2017 debacle.

  5. another USMNT player screwed by JK, who insisted on playing him (like others) out of position. At least he got the callup by JK…….

    • At the time there were people who asked who we had who could play the position as well as Bradley and the answer was no one. Fabian Johnson was out of position at LB and was one of the best players at that position in the WC and we still haven’t found a creditable replacement for that position. With a national team, unlike a club team, you can’t go out and buy a new player for a position of weakness. You have to find a way to make use with what you have. There are a lot of players who play a different position from their national team than what they play with a club team.

      • apology accepted 🙂 and my point remains solid and intact; JK misused him like many others, and MB was a good man and went along…and for that the apologists accuse him of whatever instead of the source, which was JK the genius. LOL

    • Remember Gary Fabian played RB, Beasley played LB.
      I always thought that JK decided to play MB as a 10 because it was the only way he be get Beckerman Jones AND MB on the field at the same time. I think that he thought that since we’re in the group of death he needed the extra defensive help that Beckerman had, and he wasn’t gonna bench Jermaine Jones.. I always kinda thought that was the reason.
      But when he kept playing him there after the world cup was over I scratched my head..
      Ah the good ole days of SBI, when we were at least worthy of disagreeing over a team that at least MADE the world cup:)

  6. Bradley will do down as one of the greatest American players of all time. He has the stats to justify his inclusion just like Reyna, Donovan, Dempsey, McBride, etc….
    And just like the others his time has ended. Where he differs is that he doesn’t see it that way. He still believes that he should be the the cornerstone of the foundation that the USMNT is built upon….and that is part of the reason why they have been so poor recently.

    If Bradley had any self awareness he would have retired from the USMNT after the T&T game that ended the 2018 cycle. But since he doesn’t & didn’t he will end up degrading the contributions he made to the US when he actually was our best player.

  7. He has had a fantastic career as US players go. Was a very tough, smart player in his prime. Roma doesn’t play slouches- Italian football values the small things many fans miss. He was very solid, consistent, made the safe play and made up for what he lacked in physical tools/speed with his greatest attribute- toughness and unwavering effort all game long. He covered a ton of ground and from time to time would jump in and make a nice run offensively or place in a beautiful through ball. Unfortunately, age has deteriorated these attributes (like 3-4 years ago) he has lost a or… a few steps in speed and can no longer cover the same ground. He often lets players he should cover in transition cruise right by or gives up penalties/free kicks in dangerous positions on the field. I don’t know the locker room dynamic, but likely, there is value in leadership. No way he should have been inked into the lineup at this point in his career and its really getting to be about time he not be inked on the Nat roster. at all. Long long over due we start grooming, giving game day time to players who will be here in a few years. Straight up, Bradley still has his moments, but by any measure, he is on his last legs. No shame in that- he’s merely aged out. For all the grief Bradley gets from fans- myself included- the biggest shame is the glaring hole in the generation that followed his- that no one stepped up to grab his spot. Blame overly a lack of managerial stones/conservative selections when it wasn’t called for. and a lack of talent and ambition from players that could have made it easy for a manager to make the choice to make a change. Good news is Adams has done that, is a now an absolute no brainer. No faith in Berhalter to see it, but Morales is with todays roster. With more help coming. Finally.

  8. Bahahahahahahaha THis must be a joke. Captain Backpass will be chasing the play all day today. The wheels are long gone and he’s living on his name now. Watch Bradley put the defense in trouble today as he’s no where to be found. I think this is a good time to retire

  9. Moving away from AS Roma to…wait for it…Toronto FC…very much remains a top contender for the worst professional move in the history of sports and overall, history of mankind…
    Who wouldn’t want to play against Columbus Crew and Colorado Rapids, Rapids, I tell you, week in and week out, as opposed to, being challenged for a starting position in a top European side, playing in the Champions League and against of Juventus and Napoli…
    Bradley is a joke…

    • I get your point. Some would argue the move to Toronto was great for him financially and set him up for the remainder of his life and as a result, was a good move.

      I’m one of those people who thinks US players should cut their teeth in Europe, but let’s be honest, MB did that. From MLS, to Holland at 19, then on to the Bundesliga, followed by what was a small loan in the EPL then on to the Italian League with Chevio- where he had to fight for respect and EARNED it-then on to a big move to Roma. That’s not a weak career. A very ambitious one actually.

      The move to Toronto was a surprise at the time, but in the long run for him personally, especially financially was great.

      He proved himself in Europe. And he wasn’t a joke. Players age. They lose a step or two. I’m not defending his recent USMNT performances, but the guy has had a hell of a career.

      • @Courey great post. Somehow in the analysis of MB’s career with the Nats, the genius JK needs to recognized for screwing MB at the height of his career, taking him out of the 6 role and pushing him upfield to play with his back to goal instead of what he’d always done and had accomplished at the stops you mentioned, which was the 6 facing the field. You don’t just become the man who can play the 8 because a coach put you there…and it was simply another mistake by JK. Stupid, it backfired, and somehow MB got blamed by the JK apologist conoscienti, lol.

    • When Bradley went from Roma to Toronto his salary went from a little over $1 million to $6.5 million and it’s been at that level for 5 years. You would have to be an idiot to turn down that kind of raise, IMO.

  10. He should nicely retired from the USMNT, instead he has to take away minutes from youth and then pretend his daddy dident give him everything when he was also a USA youth.

  11. Yes, it his his fault. Because he is a slow-ass liability and he continues to pretend he is 20 years old and justified in the team still being built around because of his conneections even though, a lot of former US players consider him a selfish entitled, know it all who thinks it’s his team. MLS player/coaches interviews that are pre-rigged for praise, don’t mean shit.


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