Tag Archives: Bob Bradley

Where Bradley went wrong and how Klinsmann can fix it

 By Kevin Koczwara

Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t getting the best of press in his home country of Germany right now thanks to Philipp Lahm’s autobiography “The Subtle Difference.” The Germany captain called his former national team and Bayern Munich manager tactically inept and calls out Klinsmann’s approach to training, which according to Lahm, consisted of only fitness training and no tactical scheming whatsoever. Klinsmann shrugged off the diggers from Lahm and continued on his merry way, which looks likes like a good idea because Lahm apparently doesn’t have anything positive to say about just about any of his past coaches.

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Klinsmann has tough task ahead of him as USMNT coach

 

By Tony Bruce

Can U.S. Men’s National head coach Jurgen Klinsmann be the savior for American soccer? That’s a loaded question, but as the first U.S. coach to have actually won a World Cup, he knows what it takes. From a coaching stand point, the question is how will he attack the task at hand.

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USMNT head to Gold Cup Quarterfinals

By Ryan Fleming

Sure, there is something that can be said that the United States Men’s National Team did indeed defeat Guadeloupe, 1-0; a team that isn’t even a member of FIFA (this competition is essentially their World Cup). You could also point to what it really means, not too much.

With the win the Yanks advance to the elimination round of the Gold Cup, taking on a Jamaica team that could very well provide an upset and the way Bob Bradley’s team is playing, I wouldn’t look past that possibility.

Tuesday night’s game started rather ominously, with Guadeloupe pressing early, providing for a rather heart-stopping moment when a ball from a corner kick found its way through the seemingly-sleeping defense all the way to Tim Howard. The ball was eventually cleared, but what could have been absolutely devastating for Bradley, who seems to be on the hot seat after every game, served, at least immediately, as a wake-up call.

US forward, Jozy Altidore, who surely didn’t spend a dime at the bar (indeed if he did go to one afterwards), put the Yanks up 1-0 with a rocket from outside the box — an area where the USMNT doesn’t strike from usually. As one of the most under-performing players in the last couple years, Altidore’s goal awoke deep, long forgotten memories of the promise he once had. What Bradley could use most is Altidore playing at his full potential — something that really, still even today, isn’t fully known.

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U.S. Men's National Team can't handle Spain

By Melissa Turtinen

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Spain played effortlessly. They moved the ball where they needed to and passes were perfect, and if they weren’t they recovered smoothly not giving the United States Men’s National Team a chance to gain control of the ball.

Spain defeated the USMNT, 4-0, on Saturday and with the chances they had it should have been more. Spain proved that they deserve to be called the best team in the world with their control and perfect ball placement throughout the match.

“Three times now we’ve had a chance to play them and every time, believe me, you walk away incredibly impressed with how good they are,” said Bob Bradley, USMNT manager. “How they’re able to move the ball so intelligently, so skillfully. Just as you’re trying to close them down, the ball is already off and somewhere else. There’s not that many teams in the world that can show you that.”

Spain started the match in complete control. They had chances right away carrying the ball down the sides as the US attempted to clog the middle.

“You try and not let them come right through the center because they are so adept at opening up these little windows and getting people running through and playing balls. Yet, as you try to close that part away they’ve got plan B,” said Bradley.

Spain had a Plan B and it was successful. Spain moved the ball through the USMNT defense with ease. If the middle was crowded they took the ball down the flanks and crossed it in – the clogged middle seemed empty as Spain continuously moved the ball towards the goal.

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USMNT v Spain thoughts

By Kevin Koczwara

First Half Thoughts

Spain won the World Cup in 2010 and Euros in 2008 because it’s one of those rare national teams that works as a unit and is loaded with über-skilled players. The side has a style of play, and all of the players understand how it works. It’s remarkable to see them work as a unit and build the attack from the back while never losing a defensive shape.

The attacking shape Spain has isn’t anything any other team outside of Brazil and the Netherlands — when its best player stop fighting with one another — can play. There is not form or answer. Players keep switching, moving into space, moving out and filling. It’s like a beautiful blob that keeps creating and always looks to go to goal.

For the U.S. Men’s National Team, it needs to tighten up at the back and get the midfield some help. Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones are out numbered and out-classed trying to mark and play against Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets — who’s barely had to do anything — and David Silva in the middle of the field. Santi Cazorla is swapping flanks and opening up space for either Sergio Ramos on the left side or Alvaro Arbeloa on the right to overlap and get in behind the defense.

Spain has also taken advantage of the funny bounce on the grass laid over the turf at Gillette. The ball sits up nicely for an attacker when the ball lands and dies on the sod. Because of this, Spain has sent over a few balls into space and to an attacker making a run because the ball won’t continue to roll or bounce all the way to Tim Howard in goal, instead the ball settles nicely on the foot of an attacker. The U.S.’s high line in the defense isn’t helping either. The high line is allowing space in behind and Tim Ream and Oguchi Onyewu don’t have the pace or the communication, or so it seems, to keep up with the through ball.

Second Half Thoughts

The United States just couldn’t cope in the midfield all game, but it did improve in the second half. Spain’s possession game wears a team out, and it just killed the U.S. Michael Bradley — who came on at half-time — Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Spector — moving into the midfield after starting at right back — couldn’t swarm the ball or force mistakes with pressure because they were worn out from chasing the game.

Bob Bradley finally felt the need to bring on Clint Dempsey and move Jonathan Spector out of defense and into the midfield in the second half. Things clicked a bit better for the USMNT at that point, but it all didn’t work.

Dempsey playing high in the center of the midfield with Michael Bradley, who also came on at half-time, and Spector behind him gave Dempsey the freedom to open things up and hold the ball for the U.S., something the team lacked in the first half with Agudelo and Altidore up top as neither is particularly adept at brining other players into the game or holding the ball.

Kljestan was also impacted by Dempsey’s arrival and the Fulham player’s ability to get on the ball. Kljestan was almost invisible in the first half (I had to check with reporters around me to make sure he was a second half substitute). Kljestan had some positive moments on the ball when he came back and found some space because Dempsey was able to grab hold of the ball and allow Kljestan time to move into space to receive a pass, which is encouraging for Bob Bradley going into Gold Cup games because Kljestan will give him a positive player who can pass the ball and move in the midfield coming off the bench when something new is needed.

Spector looked more comfortable in the midfield than he did on the right side of the defense. At West Ham, he showed more potential and ability in the midfield as a ball winner who found himself ghosting into the box at the right time. Too bad for him that the depth in the midfield is the one area  the U.S. actually has some. He needs to improve his game at right back, still, or get it back to the level of the Confederations Cup in 2009 — where he was a notable addition and stand-out — to find playing time during the Gold Cup.

Steve Cherundolo seems to be aging backwards and doesn’t look like he’s giving the spot up on the right side of the defense anytime soon, which is good for Bradley because he is short of options there. But the U.S. needs cover for the 32 year old, and if Spector doesn’t pick up his game he might see Eric Lichaj jumping ahead of him, as well as Timmy Chandler — who isn’t on the roster because of fatigue from his club season in Germany.

As for Lichaj, he looked uncomfortable on the left, but he hasn’t been playing there for long and he’s right footed, not an easy transition, especially against the best team in the world. There is still promise for him, though. As a right back, we might be able to see more of his ability to get forward and cross the ball.

The key for the game against Canada will be the U.S. ability to create, and its obvious that Clint Dempsey gives them the best chance at creating through the middle and holding play up. Bradley may look for him to be the catalyst in Detroit, Mich. against Canada in the opener if Landon Donovan has to miss the game because of the illness that kept him out of today’s match with Spain. When Dempsey was on the field, the parts all seemed to move and his skill on the ball allowed other players to find space and get into better spots to receive the ball. Which is something this team sorely needs right now.

Kevin Koczwara can be reached at Kevin.Koczwara@thesocerguysonline.com.

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Quick thoughts on U.S. and Argentina friendly

Messi working his magic in and around the box. The little man seems to glide across the field when watching him in person. (Courtesy Alison Ciarleglio of APC Studios)

By Kevin Koczwara

1.) Jozy Altidore needs a partner in crime — He’s not a hold-up striker. Altidore is a ball at his feet type of player who likes to pass and move  and take on defenders. His body looks like it should be a that of a bruising center forward, but he’s not, no matter how much people want him to be.

Altidore works best when he has someone playing directly alongside him, and last night was proof, again. When Juan Agudelo came on at halftime, Altidore transformed, starting to hold up play a bit, open up space for other players, and connect passes. The 4-5-1 may put the best players on the field for the U.S., but it doesn’t work for the type of forward Altidore is. He can’t hold up play or swing the ball wide and get in behind defenses with break-neck speed on the counter. He is a solid, ball at his feet type of player who knows how to open space for his partner.

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USMNT draws with Argentina thanks to Agudela's second half goal

By Kevin Koczwara

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Juan Agudela has made a name for himself on the international stage for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Quickly. The 18-year-old striker again proved he was more than worthy of earning a spot on the team by scoring his second goal in three games with the USMNT.

Agudela’s goal sealed a 1-1 draw with Argentina, who scored in the 42nd minute when Esteban Cambiasso slammed a rebound from six yards out into the net. Anything less than a win for Argentina looked unlikely for much of the game as it controlled the tempo, almost all of the possession, and had the majority of the chances on net.

Argentina toyed with the USMNT at times in the first half, dominating the possession, forcing the U.S. deeper and deeper into it’s own end. Stretching play from one side to the other. Argentina forced Bob Bradley’s five-man midfield deep into its own end for much of the opening 45 minutes.

Angel di Maria had a great chance to open the scoring in the 34th minute when he found some space in the box after the U.S. was unable to clear the ball. Di Maria weaved around a few defenders but found himself to close to the touchline and had to shoot with no angle. Tim Howard made the easy save.

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Yanks In Need of Revolution

U.S. striker Jozy Altridore has shown flashes of brilliance on the field when leading the Americans attack, but at other times his poor first touch has let him down. Courtesy Paul Blank

By Ryan Fleming

After watching the 0-0 yawnfest that was the United States Men’s National Team against Colombia and then a mediocre performance by the Yanks against Poland just a few days prior I was stricken with some revelations.

1. Are they really any good?

Did the Yanks overachieve in the World Cup? It has been known for sometime now that you cannot value a player based alone on his performance in the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. Sure, their 1-1 tie to England in both of the team’s opening games of the tournament was lucky, albeit maybe deserved. The Yanks came out on top of the group, ahead of the Three Lions, as well as Algeria and Slovenia an overall mediocre group even with the likes of England present.

Since being eliminated by Ghana in the second round, the USMNT lost to Brazil, 2-0, then came away without a win over mediocrity once again this past week.

The USA really hasn’t put forth an impressive performance since its 3-1 win over Australia just days before the World Cup. Sure, it managed some thrilling, late-game heroics over Algeria and Slovenia, but does that constitute an overall “good” showing?

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What the Soccer Guys are Reading — Sept. 13, 2010

It has been a great year for 23 year old Justin Braun. He has scored nine goals for Chivas USA and his manager thinks it is time for the youngster to get his international career underway. Courtesy chivasblog.com

The Guardian — Nelson Valdez hails a ‘dream come true’ as Hércules shock Barcelona — by Sid Lowe

The most improbable of wins, La Liga new comers Hércules defeats Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the Catalan’s home and a place that teams not wearing the Barca shirt lose. Barceloan just doesn’t lose at home. It doesn’t happen. Never mind to a team that was just promoted and by two goals. They don’t lose by two goals either, but it happened. And Nelson Valdez’s two goals are the reason, and he earned those two goals over his long journey from homeless child to international soccer player.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — August 31, 2010

Manchester City broke the transfer record fee in England when they signed Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid just two seasons ago. But the little playmaker has been a flop in the Premier League and had to be loaned out last summer to his boyhood club Santos for the season. Could he be on his way out of Manchester for good today?

The Washington Post – Bob Bradley to remain with U.S. National Team – Steven Goff

After leading the United States Men’s National Soccer Team to the Round of 16 in this summer’s World Cup, Bob Bradley has signed a four-year extension that will likely make him the leader of the USMNT for another World Cup. Bradley, who took over following Bruce Arena’s dreadful performance as manager in the 2006 World Cup, had been connected with the job atop England Premier League club Aston Villa, but he agreed to terms with U.S. Soccer on Saturday night. German national Jurgen Klinnsman, who has lived in California for years, was rumored as Bradley’s replacement.

The Guardian – van Persie likely out of a month – David Hynter

Arsenal fans worried that Saturday’s match at Blackburn was going to be more of the same – a loss or a draw instead of what should have been an easy three points. While the Gunners defeated Blackburn, 2-1, Arsenal fans did see a familiar sight, as van Persie left with an ankle injury. It is likely the Dutch international will miss at least one month due to the injury, which rules him out of European Championship qualifiers for the Netherlands and Champions League matches with Arsenal.

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