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Bob Bradley reflects on World Cup, U.S. future

It was a melancholy Sunday morning at Irene Farm, the U.S. team's home for the past month and the U.S. media's temporary work quarters. We'll miss the cows, chickens, roosters, sausage rolls, exotic pate, super-fresh milk, picnicking families, patio cafe, abundant sunshine, long winter shadows and soft breezes carrying the scent of, well, a farm.

The American players have begun going their separate ways. Some are flying out today, most on Monday. Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle will return to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Robbie Findley to Real Salt Lake and Jonathan Bornstein to Chivas USA. How soon they will return to MLS play is unclear, but next weekend seems plausible.

The European- and Mexican-based players will enjoy vacation before rejoining their clubs for preseason training. The next time the American lads get together: Aug. 10 vs. Brazil at the new Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey. Although it's an international fixture date, the impending Euro seasons will impact squad selection.

Said USA Coach Bob Bradley: "When one game ends, you start thinking about the next one. You start thinking about that game, is it a fixture date, how does it fall into the calendar of different clubs. So a lot of those thoughts have already been running through my head."

Which brings us to the big question: Will Bradley continue as national team coach?

For more on his status and Bradley's thoughts upon the Americans' elimination.....

Bradley's contract expires Dec. 31. Have talks commenced with USSF President Sunil Gulati about his future?

"At this moment, there have been no conversations. There is always a process with any situation where both sides probably need time, and we go from there. I have always enjoyed new challenges, but I also, from Day 1, have said and considered it a tremendous honor to coach the national team. ... It's too soon after the final whistle. I'm sure in the future there will be more discussions."

Gulati is in Cape Town for non-U.S. meetings today and is tentatively planning to meet with reporters in Johannesburg on Monday to assess the national team and Bradley's status.

Would he consider pursuing a European job?

"I have always enjoyed new challenges. I encourage, whether it's players or my children or kids [who he coached] in college, I believe that is what life is all about. I have enjoyed the opportunities along the way, the different challenges, and so as I move forward, there will always be an open mind in that regard."

On the need to develop goal-scoring forwards: "It's especially important up front because goals decide matches. That is still the greatest challenge in the game -- to have someone who can consistently score goals. It's an area where we do need to improve. ... Jozy is an example: a young striker who has come through our system, tremendous potential, part of the residency program, moves on in MLS, goes on to Europe. He has covered a lot of steps so far. But that doesn't necessarily mean when we get to a World Cup, it's going to fall right into place. You can see that with the best strikers in the world when they come to World Cups."

On being eliminated in the round of 16: "There's a lot that they can feel very good about and, yet at the same time, there is a pretty empty feeling right now because coming out of the first round, we felt there was a real chance to do something bigger. We responded well in each of the first three games, that we were improving game by game, and the opportunity to take that further was there."

On Oguchi Onyewu, who started the first two matches but sat the next two: "Gooch has worked incredibly hard to be ready for the World Cup. He is a man of great character. When you watch, sometimes tough decisions are made simply based upon the fact of, at this level, even when you have worked hard, if you haven't had games, where is the player? You balance that with the opponent and the needs in that game, and balance that with your other choices. It would be impossible for Gooch to be at 100 percent given the time that he was out and the fact that there's not been that many games since he got back. Nonetheless, he showed that, even when he is less than 100 percent, he is a player who can help our team. The last two games, playing Carlos [Bocanegra] together with Jay [DeMerit] and using Johnny Bornstein on the left made sense."

By Steve Goff  |  June 27, 2010; 10:17 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: American soccer, World Cup  
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Next: Germany vs. England World Cup: Jorge Larrionda again in spotlight

Comments

On the whole, good job Bob, thanks for what you've done, I wish you the best, hopefully in Europe.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 27, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

There are multiple reports that Bornstein is headed to Atalante in the Mexican League and Chivas USA will receive a player in return -- a trade so to speak. Anyone know if that has materialized?

Posted by: jofij | June 27, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

no questions about WHY Clark instead Edu? No questions about WHY Findley? No questions about WHY NOT Buddle? Those are the biggest mistakes Bradley made. And especially the first two cost the team big time.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 27, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

no questions about WHY Clark instead Edu? No questions about WHY Findley? No questions about WHY NOT Buddle? Those are the biggest mistakes Bradley made. And especially the first two cost the team big time.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 27, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Fedssocr, that's exactly what i said when i saw the lineup. Why Clark? defensive mid? Edu helped control the midfield while Clark had no clue what he was doing.
Findley...terrible first touch and the finish on the short breakaway was very subpar. Hercules Gomez showed more nuance to shoot hard and accurately when he was in against Algeria.
Never liked B. Bradley but thought maybe he was coming around with his lineups the 2nd and 3rd game.
This final game's lineup just got me back to hating him and how the American coaches screw up on the big stage because they get scared and want to play defensive futbol.

Please....sent Bradley packing on Dec. 31st!!!

Posted by: Redskins2881 | June 27, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Sunil has to remember the last time we repeated coaches. And I think Bruce is still the best we've ever had, for what he was working with. Coaching soccer is not like being a CEO, every cycle new elements and tinkering have to happen. Bob can only tinker backwards.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 27, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I have to echo the starting line up comment. Most managers would not change a winning side. Why then did BB feel the need to change the side that had won the only game for the USA in the World Cup. It was obvious to all that the best midfield combo was M.Bradley and Edu. Can someone please find out why he made the change?

Posted by: rightdm00 | June 27, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

What powderpuff questions?

The mistakes on player selection where absolutely key to US failure and those fall squarely on Bradley

Those mistakes are compounded but the same mistakes were made repeatedly. How Findley made this team let alone started is totally beyond me. Also, why Clark when he was clearly ineffective and mistake prone is beyond me.

The other major issue relates to getting the team prepared for the beginning of each game.
Whatever preparation method was used did not work. And judging by the reluctance to try new things did not result in new approaches for preparation.

Finally, given the way the groups formed for the knockout competition this has to be considered a major failure by the US. I can't see another situation where 2 beatable team in Ghana and Uruguay are all that stand between the US and a place in Semi Final. I'm not saying this was easy, but it is definitely an easier road than say Mexico, which has Argentina, England and Germany in its path to the Semi Finals.

I am more convinced than ever we need a new coach to steer the US to the next level. In real teams despite a much more talented team than in 02, the US did not advance as far.

And that is the disappointing legacy of this team.

Posted by: dcufan531 | June 27, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

A "winning side"? They scored at 91 minutes. Findley was pretty good in the 1st half. Jozy, on the other hand, had his hands on his knees and stood around. On the other hand, he did a lot better in the second half. My problem was no with the personnel, as with formation. I think it was overly optimistic o think that we could match up with Ghana without matching their formation. That said, I think with hindsight it's easy to say that Edu was the better pick against Ghana just because he's stronger.

Posted by: fischy | June 27, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Clark shouldn't have gotten start or any time in WC but it is not obvious that Bradley/Edu was best midfield combo. Oddly, the US has played best with Feilhaber (and in Turkey game) Torres in central role in 2d half--but not in 1st.

My theory, may be FOS, is that Dempsey/Donovan/Bradley do not work effectively with controlling central mid in 1st half when they are fresh--they all get in each other's way, leave the flanks and critical spaces open, etc. Doesn't help that neither Feilhaber of Torres is defensive minded, but Bradley could play that role, and Dempsey/Donovan might try defending as well.

In 2d half, after getting a bit winded and the heads handed to them, they calm down and allow Feilhaber (and Torres v. Turkey) to be effective. Feilhaber was the best player on the field at times and probably the man for the central postion and yet doesn't start--I think because the other super mids (esp Donovan and Dempsey) don't mesh well with him. That I think was a real problem for team and coach.

Posted by: wadjfk | June 27, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

So, the last 4 years comes down to his pick of the starting 11 against Ghana?

Somehow, I think that Bradley will stay if he wants.

So, if not Bradley what does everyone else want? A $9 million dollar Fabio Capello? A hit man like Ericksson who took $2 million for three months for the Ivory Coast?

I'm guessing the Juergen chants will begin in 1 . . . 2 . .. 3 . .

Posted by: delantero | June 27, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

So, arguably the most successful 4 years of any US soccer coach comes down to his choice of starting 11 against Ghana?

Somehow, I think winning the qualifying group, the 2nd place Confed Cup finish, and winning the Cup group will mean Bradley can stay if he wants.

And if not Bradley, who? A $9 million Capello? A hit man like Ericksson who took $2 million for 3 months of the Ivory Coast?

Posted by: delantero | June 27, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

hmm, Wapo blog system rejected the first one for some reason, or so it told me

Posted by: delantero | June 27, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Fire Bob Bradley. Hire a winner with all that Euro cred, like Fabio Capello. Oops....

Posted by: fischy | June 27, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Bradley has done a good job with a team that has relatively few quality players, e.g., those who can play in one of the top Euro leagues. There was a question up front ever since Davies got hurt. Feilhaber is the only creative midfielder we have and he's only right if we play a 4-2-3-1. Our defense was always vulnerable but acquitted themselves well throughout (compare to what England did today). We now have to come up with a new generation of players.

Posted by: agoldhammer | June 27, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

FIFA helps the African team, that the reason why the the American does not pass to the second instance, no way, Ghana is the only one in the tournament FIFA should protect them.

Posted by: koolcaio | June 27, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Poor defense, we do not have defense, we have to work another 4 year to get strong and fast
people back.
Bob did very good work with these guys; we have to see and understand that world class coach lake italian or france with world class soccer player did nothing,they were the first to leave the tournament.
Thank you Bob Bradley this is not your fault, FIFA helps those guys.

Posted by: koolcaio | June 27, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Is Bradley the greatest coach ever? No. But he's a damn good coach and I think he can do alot with this team. So the US gets knocked out at the Round of 16. That's not such a bad time to go.

Now if we can just get 1 or 2 scorers...

Posted by: tundey | June 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Anyone just see Klinsmann on ESPN? He get's it. I'm happy to start it up...Klinsmann NOW.

Posted by: ddd001 | June 27, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Never been a Bob Bradley fan. He constantly puts the wrong people on the field. This Ghana is only the last of a long line of questionale lineups to start a game... Tactiically (lineups, formations) he has gone as far as he can. TIme to move on...

Posted by: job22 | June 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

There is no question that Klinsmann ought to be our next coach. Not only does he have a great understanding of international soccer, he also has a very sound understanding of the challenges facing US soccer having lived here for 12 years. Gulati needs to figure out a way to get the deal done....hopefully by the end of the year.

Posted by: FrancoNiell | June 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

For those who are chanting for Jurgen, let me tell you as a close follower of all things German football that Jurgen belongs in a TV studio and not on the sidelines of a football pitch. He was a great figurehead in 06 while Joachim did all of the real work with formations and such. "Hop Hop Maenner!" only works for so long, and with less talent in the American pool vs the German pool I think Jurgen would be a mistake. Look at Bayern this year w/ Van Gaal compared to last year w/ Klinsmann to kind of see what I am talking about.

Bob Bradley will probably stay on as coach of the US Nats, for better or for worse.

Posted by: rademaar | June 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Bradley had great subs in the algeria game to win. Edu should have gotten the start over clark yesterday (he was a spark). That change was made quickly. I don't mind Findly as he's not a world beater, but he'll make you work. 2nd half plenty of opp no one could score. Almost every shot was on the ground. Buddle in those same situations may have sealed the game in the second half. Gomez did very little against a tired def. Bad choice. He didn't seem fast or strong enough to compete against Ghana.

Great run - lets keep working on the younger players. We are making up ground, but have to work harder. We need to learn to finish! Too many lost opportunities.

Posted by: DenverKev | June 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Franco.

Posted by: Hoost | June 27, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Klinsmann is winning my heart with this World Cup Live analysis. There isn't a thing he has said that doesn't make me think he has MORE vision than us internet hacks, and I never got that from Bob.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 27, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

re: Bradley on Gooch

Many people, including me, said the same thing when the roster was announced. His statements don't reveal any new knowledge.

He made not one but two mistakes in starting Clark and Findley. Then he compounded that mistake by putting Edu in when Feilhaber should have been starting from the beginning. And a move like Goodson in for an offensive aerial threat in overtime would have been a smart move in my opinion.

Bob Bradley, I believe, took us the next step. We progressed. Thank you! Now it's time to take the next step again and he's not the one to lead us. He has added his piece to the puzzle and now we need the next manager to come in and finish it.

Klinsmann 2014

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | June 27, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that Bob's last game had to be a win to satisfy some of you.

Posted by: Reignking | June 27, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Without better forwards we were lucky to get so far. Did you not see what German put on the field today?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | June 27, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think Bob Bradley is a great coach -- *assistant* coach. He relates to the players well, makes great in-game moves ... but lacks that leadership and pregame planning/preparation to get things off on the right foot. Pity that we can't keep him as an assistant, I think that would be ideal.

Posted by: Hokienautic | June 27, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I saw Klinnsman on ESPN and I didn't see a guy who I thought wanted the job. Maybe I was reading more into his commentary than I should have, but I saw a coach who sees too many problems with the overall US program to ever want to take on the head coaching position. I saw his answers as being honest and well thought out and probably the reason we don't see many big name coaches wanting to come here. Although we've made huge strides since 1990, we still have a long ways to go as a soccer nation. It's going to take alot of work and alot of out of the box thinking to get it right. There's not alot of big name coaches willing to put their name on the line for a program that still doesn't have most of the kinks worked out.

As far as Bradley, I thought we did well. Real well. Did I agree with the Clark decision? No, when I saw the lineups posted I already had my doubts about Ricardo being the one we needed in there. But at the sametime, I thought some of this picks earlier in the tourney showed an extreme knowledge and understanding of his team. Who among us would have picked Bornstein for the Algeria game, but at the sametime how many thought we needed to keep the same defensive line up in the Ghana game as we did for the Algeria game? I've heard (second hand) that Bradleys thinking on Clark starting was trying to put a fresh body in the midfield after the short turn around between the Algeria and Ghana games. While hindsight is 20-20, his reasoning was sound.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | June 27, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

The US have improved from past years but the talent is still far from great and our coaching still is a joke. We need a bast improvement over Bradley and we need 2-3 mega stars to emerge.

Unless we get/make these changes, we will not take that next step

Posted by: Bious | June 27, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

It cracks me up that so many think that a different selection of American players would have done so much better...as if there are all these great players who were left at home (or on the bench).

Just look at the clubs on which most of our guys play compared with many teams in the WC (including Ghana).

Newsflash: With very few exceptions, the USA's best players are still not even close to being on par with the best in the world. We've improved greatly, but there is still a long way to go.

Our talent pool is still lacking. You can't get blood from a stone. Bradley did quite well given what he had to work with.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | June 28, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

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