It felt like deja vu. Like something I had seen two years earlier that made next to zero sense. How was it that a much different USMNT was still doing the same things. Better yet, how was it that one man, that shiny bald head in the middle of the field that is supposed to be the breath of this team, still managing to heap futility upon futility?
It bothered me so much, I texted Stateside author Griffin Wesche, just to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating. Surely Michael Bradley couldn’t be this rotten again, could he?
The response bore both good news and bad news. The good news was that I wasn’t hallucinating. The bad news was that I wasn’t hallucinating. Michael Bradley really was that bad.
Fox Sports put it interestingly, saying that the USMNT asked Michael Bradley to do everything and he couldn’t, but that puts a little too much blame on the USMNT. They didn’t ask him to do everything, he just couldn’t do anything. I do not think that Bradley is the USMNT’s greatest player and he proves that time and again. If Klinsmann really is asking Bradley to ‘do everything’ then not only is Bradley failing, but so too is Klinsmann.
There was one common theme surrounding Bradley’s play. That theme was complete ‘what the f***’ moments where he quite literally passed to no one. I started to keep track of how many times it happened but after five, I got tired, bored, and was on the brink of ripping my bomb pop USMNT jersey in two, so I just accepted that he was on pace to pass the ball to Peter Pan’s shadow about as many times as I’ve typed the letter ‘d’ in this article. I haven’t counted how many that is yet.
I didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant. I set about ready to made a calm, cool and collected point about how Klinsmann needs to find an alternative to Bradley (hence the title). Maybe Mix Diskerud. But the thought of seeing Bradley in his red, white and blue pass it to another Colombian made my blood pressure rise. I’ll bet if you turn on FS1 right now, he’s still hitting Colombian’s in stride.
It seems like every so often, Bradley will drop in a nice long pass and everyone ‘Ooos’ and ‘Ahhhs’ and forgets that he gave away five other passes before he got to that one. I can’t think of another reason why so many people still see Bradley as America’s best player. He isn’t. There is no debating this. I feel pretty confident in saying that Bradley did more harm than good. His corners were decent, especially when compared to Zusi’s when he came on, but little else worked.
There has to be someone else. Again, I know Mix isn’t having the greatest year at NYCFC, but at least he is something fresh, something new. Or maybe put Zusi in and just leave Jones as the back pivot. But please, Jurgen, no more Bradley. At least not in big games. Which are like, all of them.