The USMNT might finally get someone who can teach them to dive
Sunil Gulati, US Soccer president announces Bob Bradley has been relieved as head coach of the MNT.
“During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change.”
The announcement comes less than two weeks before the USA meet Mexico in a friendly in Philadelphia, their first meeting since that humiliating loss in the Gold Cup finals in June this year.
There were key moments when Bradley failed to noticeably raise the team. One of them was the World Cup quarterfinals against Ghana which saw the USA fightback only to lose in extra time to a defensive lapse. The USA’s performance in the World Cup was uneven characterized by slow hesitant starts and defensive frailties before coming into their own with strong counterattacking instincts and gaining a reputation for their stirring come from behind performances.
It was widely assumed that Bradley would be relieved of coaching duties after the World Cup and there were reports that Randy Lerner was keen on bringing him to Aston Villa as replacement for Martin O’ Neill. However Sunil Gulati was not able to convince Juergen Klinsmann to takeover which meant Bradley was allowed to continue unchallenged.
The Gold Cup final which the USA lost after being in a commanding position further damaged Bradley. Mexico came back and scored four unanswered goals as the USA retreated into bunker mode. Bradley was initially praised for his bold personnel changes bringing injecting youthful talent in Freddy Adu, Eric Lichaj, Juan Agudelo, and Alejandro Bedoya.
The turning point for many of his critics was Bradley’s fit of atavism sending in Jonathan Bornstein as left back after Steve Cherundolo’s injury forced him off the field and re-engineering Eric Lichaj into the unfamiliar right back position. The Mexicans through Andres Guardado, Gio Dos Santos, and Pablo Barrera capitalized on this re-jiggered line with Bornstein and Lichaj hopelessly exposed.
For most the overarching theme was not Bradley’s coaching but Mexico’s superiority and the relatively poor performances of some key US players. That is why this is a surprising development. The real reason is the anticipated announcement due Friday of a replacement with Juergen Klinsmann heavily favoured to succeed Bradley as US coach.