Know When To Fold 'Em

Bob Bradley’s out, and tomorrow, in all likelihood, we learn the replacement1.

I’m not a Bradley hater or apologist. I think he’s a fine coach, even if he’s tactically limited/cautious, too attached to “trusted” players”2, and lacks the appropriate personality for the grandest stage3. He’ll probably pop up somewhere in MLS next year and have a fine career to follow, maybe even fine enough that he gets a second chance at the adult table someday.

The refrain I’ve always fallen back on in the face of the Bob Out! brigade is “who else have you got?” True, Bradley always seemed a stopgap, a safe choice though hardly an ideal one. But that made it all the more frustrating when you started to look at options for his replacement.

I guess the bottom line for me is that Bradley would have qualified the US for Brazil 2014 in unspectacular style and then presided over the inevitable meek bow-out. By rolling the dice you take the risk of complete implosion in the qualifiers for a chance at doing something special at the big dance.

Worth the risk? Probably. Depends on the cards you’re holding. Your pardon if I’m not convinced that Gulati, et al have a winning hand.

  1. All the smart birdies are atwitter over Klinsmann. That smells like disaster to me. Just a hunch. ↩

  2. Even if I’m not entirely confident a replacement will work wonders, if it means we never see the likes of Bornstein and Kljestan again, I’ll be a happy fan. ↩

  3. I’ll grant you the poor starting lineup choices as well, but please don’t rely too heavily on the nepotism card. Michael Bradley is one of the best we’ve got in central midfield, though I’ll grant you that his form after riding pine for Villa should have put him on the US bench for a spell.  ↩


  1. I'm used to better pessimism from you. Will you be shocked if that prat Sunil Gulati's Friday act is tripping the guillotine on Pia Sundhage?

    And yeah, my complaint about Skeletor does not involve Skeletor Junior.

  2. Let's just say I'm waiting to feel the full weight of Sunil Gulati's "wisdom" before finding a convenient bridge.

  3. I liked Bradley but one did get a sense that things were a tad askew at the Gold Cup. While Bradley did a lot to deepen the player pool and was patient and protective of his players - which allowed some to flourish and several to play and not flourish (e.g. Bornstein, Kleijstan); I think it's time for a change.

    Tactically, I'm not sure what a new manager can bring if we don't yet have the players to pull off the type of creative attacking everyone wishes for. Honestly, we might have been better off with a Roy Hodgson type rather than JK because he excels at drilling into people's heads the type of "stay solid defensively" and counter-attacking football most national team players have come to be familiar with, but maybe we can pull of a 4-3-3......when we grow some fullbacks, find a killer forward with a deft touch and figure out which of our myriad of destroy and hold defensive mids can emerge "into posess and create" types.

    We have some elements like Dempsey and Holden who could continue to mature and some prospects (Chandler); but in order for our game to evolve we need more evolved players as well as managers.

    Maybe that's why Klinsman wants more power over player development. I don't know what he can do; but it's clear that something more is needed as I see fewer interesting prospects coming up than four years ago and fewer American players in Europe with national team potential. A lot of guys are either riding pine or coming home prematurely and we're not hearing about any new names coming up except in MLS through the academy system or the draft.

    Lot's for a new guy to take on.