Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: SoccerInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  Sports e-mail alerts  |  RSS

Bob Bradley addresses decision to start Ricardo Clark in World Cup round-of-16 match vs. Ghana

On the U.S. Soccer Federation's "Studio 90" program, Bob Bradley addressed a few questions from fans and explained his decision to start Ricardo Clark in defensive midfield for the World Cup round-of-16 loss to Ghana. Clark's giveaway led to the Black Stars' goal in the fifth minute and, according to Bradley, his early yellow card two minutes later ultimately led to his removal in the first half -- a valuable substitution burned early in the evening in Rustenburg.

"We felt that Ricardo would play an important role, especially early on with his ability to break up plays. He has been a real important player for us in recent years and we just felt, with Ghana's athleticism, that early in the game, Ricardo's ability to cover certain situations, to tackle, to break up plays, would come in handy."

The decision to include Clark instead of Maurice Edu didn't work as planned, and Clark departed in the 31st minute. Bradley's concern was centered around Clark possibly receiving another yellow and leaving the Americans with 10 men.

"Whenever you take a player out in the first half, as a coach, it's important to know that's a tough spot for a player. We all know that Ricardo was part of a play early in the game where he lost the ball. I know Ricardo; I knew how badly he felt, but the decision was really based upon the fact that he had a yellow card. When you play that role deep in the midfield and you are counted on in certain situations to cover and put out fires, we were very worried that the yellow card was going to get in the way of his ability to do the job."

As Clark approached the sideline, replaced by Edu, Bradley embraced him.

"I just wanted him to know that the decision was based on that, and as a team, we knew that we were going to get back into the game and I wanted him to know that we were all right there behind him."

Trailing 1-0, Bradley used another substitution at halftime, removing ineffective forward Robbie Findley and inserting effective midfielder Benny Feilhaber. That decision was not addressed in today's Q&A session.

By Steve Goff  |  September 10, 2010; 3:53 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Ghana , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Bob Bradley, World Cup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Poll: 2018 World Cup should be held in .....
Next: Saturday kickaround: Chivas USA defeats Revolution, D.C. United in Toronto, Freedom at home, Terps tie, Hoyas lose

Comments

Now, everyone please take this opportunity to overreact and tell us why they should have just gone out and hired a foreign coach, regardless of resume or ability, just to show that they did something, and that you cannot be permitted to make a judgment call that doesn't work out when you are the coach of the US Men's National Team.

Ready...go.

Posted by: very_clever_username | September 10, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

ugggh revisiting that match just pisses me off.

Posted by: cho_kettie | September 10, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Clearly a result of Payne and Kasper's hubris...

Posted by: JkR- | September 10, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Ok. Then I will start. Just based on that huge error in that Ghana game, Bradley should have been canned. Bradley stuck to his guns on a shaky player at best in Clark, and got burned. He deserved to pay the price for letting our best chance at a World Cup title slip away. A real winning program would have dumped the coach after that kind of amateurish display. I bet Jason Kreis or Preki could have gotten us to the second round as well...

Posted by: alan19 | September 10, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

A satisfying answer to the question would have gone further to address why he felt Clark was more capable of playing this role than Edu, who had been doing it rather competently in the previous games. If you're going to change horses midstream, you better have a really solid reason.

Posted by: empsg59 | September 10, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Alan. I'm with you. Bradley screwed up, but the fact that we gave him an extension rather than the axe speaks to the lack of class in our national organization. Frustrating.

Posted by: Matte | September 10, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

lol alan19.

Posted by: DadRyan | September 10, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Alan19, was Capello fired for playing James Milner (and having to remove him in the first half) on the left against USA in the first game? Or for playing an injured Gareth Barry?

Best chance at winning the World Cup title? Are you kidding? Well I guess it was our best chance considering years past but we were still no where near the top class of teams competing for the World Cup (Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Netherlands, Spain were all in another bracket) I might even argue that both Ghana and Uruguay were in another bracket.

If you want to think Bradley should be fired that is fine but lets not be delusional about how good of a team we really are, that is what Redskins fans are for.

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 10, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

grubbsbl, thanks for saying everything I planned to say.

Nobody disputes it was a bad personnel decision. Let's all move on.

Posted by: sdb11281usa | September 10, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Damn it, not only did I have to be reminded of the Clark fiasco, but Findley as well (who missed a PK last night). That's TWO big errors in that game.

Hey, notice how much playing time Rico is getting in Frankfurt, Bob? That tell you anything?

Posted by: grabowcp | September 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey, with Capello, at least his mistakes with Milner and Barry were committed in the first game of the tournament. The Ghana game was our fourth, when it was already obvious who was playing well and who wasn't.

And this "let's not delude ourselves" about how good we are line is just nonsense. No one is arguing we are Brazil, but damn it, we had better players on the bench than what we put out there (Edu for Clark, pretty much anyone -- Buddle or Gomez -- instead of Findley).

Posted by: grabowcp | September 10, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

A huge error by Bradley. You don't use players based on prior accomplishments, but rather on their current form. Bradley used Clark, because Clark played well in the Confederations cup. But from the start of the World Cup Clark was not in form. When coaches make this mistake it surprises me. It reminds me of the US women's coach in the Women's World Cup that suddenly switched goalkeepers, and decided to play Briana Scurry against Brazil because she had good success against them in the past. That is so stupid.

Posted by: goalscorer24 | September 10, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The real question is who is going to be the next coach of DC United? Carlos Quieroz was just let go by Portugal by the way...DC United needs to start figuring out who will be at the helm next year. We need some one with some competency who can come up with a plan to overhaul the roster and get us back into the playoffs. Ben Olsen is not ready to be the head man yet.

Posted by: alan19 | September 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

A huge error by Bradley. You don't use players based on prior accomplishments, but rather on their current form. Bradley used Clark, because Clark played well in the Confederations cup. But from the start of the World Cup Clark was not in form. When coaches make this mistake it surprises me. It reminds me of the US women's coach in the Women's World Cup that suddenly switched goalkeepers, and decided to play Briana Scurry against Brazil because she had good success against them in the past. That is so stupid.

Posted by: goalscorer24 | September 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Gareth Barry didn't play in the first game. I was referring to how slow and out of form he was in the England v Germany game. (The same round we lost in)

For the record I thought it was a bad decision to start Clark. Findley didn't matter because none of our strikers besides Altidore contributed anything. Though, I am not sure if the decision warrants firing Bradley. You have to look at his collective work and that record is pretty good.

A lot of you guys act as if Ghana is a terrible team and that Bradley alone is the cause of the loss.

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 10, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Findley didn't matter because none of our strikers besides Altidore contributed anything.
Posted by: grubbsbl | September 10, 2010 4:58 PM
____________________________

Thank you. Why is it that so many people think that Gomez or Buddle would have played any better than Findley?

Posted by: salecanard | September 10, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

My favoriate anti-Bob missive was in the NYTimes, where somebody was lambasting him for allowing Charlie to break curfew and get in a car accident.

And, yes, Bob *did* explain why he chose Clark over Edu; he fealt that Clark's "athleticism" (Does that mean speed? Or does that mean that Clark was rested?) would be necessary in defensive mid against Ghana. I, too, think Bob was being goofy on that decision--but on the whole, he's been a good coach for the US.

Posted by: glfrazier | September 10, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I would have more respect for some folks on this blog if they came on and wrote, "I thought Bradely was wrong when he did this, but it turns out I was wrong..."

20-20 hindsight from an office chair, with no consequences for one's "decisions", is easy.

I'm glad Steve pointed out that Bradley greeted Clark as the midfielder walked off. Clark, who certainly did not intend to give the ball away, knew his mistake hurt the team and must have wanted to head straight to the showers. Bradley took some of the sting away by his action.

As Brad Delp said:

"Don't look back
A new day is breaking..."

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | September 10, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Since the topic of DC United's coach came up, I, for one, happen to like Benny-ball . . . in spite of what the FO thinks. It's a lot more creative and exciting then the predictable, defensive minded drivel we've been served the past few years.

What we seem to lack (besides health) is more than one player that is willing to (and capable of) taking on the defense. Unfortunately, that is an FO issue, not a coaching one, and I don't see us changing the FO in the near future.

Posted by: edmundburke247 | September 10, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Very glad Bradley will not be DC United's next coach.

Posted by: Dancy1 | September 10, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I would have been very happy to see Bradley as DC United's next coach.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | September 10, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Dancy1

I am quite certain that BB is very glad he is not DC United's next coach.

Posted by: Kosh2 | September 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I believe Ben Olsen will be the next United coach because really he is the only person who is not well positioned to say no to them.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 10, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Why not McBride for the next DCU coach (maybe keep Benny as assistant)?

We had a pretty good experience with the last player turned coach we took from Chicago and like Piotr he has that extensive Euro experience that every fan seems to demand in a coach these days.

Not to mention he played under Hodgson at Fulham for long enough that he should probably know how to coach an underfunded team with owners who don't know the first thing about the sport.

My vote goes for McBride/Olsen 2010


Posted by: Southeasterner | September 10, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

It's more than Ricardo Clark. Clark is a good example but Bradley clearly has a blind spot. All three group games were the same. We were weak early then Bradley brought on Edu and Feilhaber and the game turned around. Three games of that should have been enough to make him start the unit that did well each game. When a lineup isn't working why would you keep using it game after game? In a short tournament like the World Cup you have to adapt quickly.

I think it boils down to Bradley being loyal to a fault and steely to a fault.

Posted by: MikeFlorida | September 10, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

What Joe Doc said...

Posted by: DadRyan | September 10, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Since some of you brought up DC United -- Has anyone linked the article from the CIty Paper -- on DCU/soccer's political fall in DC?

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/39713/dc-united-shut-out-at-ballot-box-no-candidates-are

Posted by: fischy | September 11, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

as a comparison, I was screaming bloody murder at the television set when Arena took Captain America and stuck him on the right side of the field for the Mexico game. turned out to be genius and I -- the fan who doesn't see the practices and watch hundreds of hours of game film of both my own players and the opponents --was wrong.

so, while I wanted Edu and Gomez to start, I'm happy to think Bradley had good reason not to do so. those who equate Clark starting with our loss need to review both their logic and statistics classes at university and learn the difference between a necessary and sufficient conditions.

but I still don't want Findley anywhere near the USMNT. ;-)

Posted by: troy6 | September 11, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

"Why is it that so many people think that Gomez or Buddle would have played any better than Findley?"

Double digit club goals in Mexico, and leading MLS in scoring, vs. one club goal for Findley. Not a big stretch there.

OT: Howard playing out of his mind vs MU.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 11, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

If I heard this from Bradely then I would respect him and realize that he can learn from the past:

"In retrospect it was a bad decision to start Clark and Findley. Clark had not played much and was not in form prior to the World Cup. Findley did not have enough experience to handle the level of play in a quaterfinal. From here forth I will work on getting depth at all positions and not play favoritism because of previous knowledge of a player. I will step outside of my comfort zone and take risks."

Then I would appreciate him and embrace him, however he is too much of a conservative as a coach (please do not make this political) to change at all. It is a shame because I do not feel the national team can grow under his coaching and style.

Posted by: no_recess | September 11, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

As Brad Delp said:

"Don't look back
A new day is breaking..."

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | September 10, 2010 5:39 PM
__________________________________________

Brad Delp is a curious source of wisdom on how to live one's life, given how he ended up.

Posted by: universityandpark | September 11, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company