Over the weekend, the United States was eliminated by Ghana from the World Cup. It is always sad to lose, but when we look back on this experience later, I think most of us will appreciate how well the United States did. They won their group despite some suspect officiating. They scored a gift of a goal against England in the opener for a fortunate tie. They should have won the second game against Slovenia if not for a disallowed goal that eventually saw the referee’s dismissal from further World Cup action. Then they overcame another disallowed goal in beating Algeria to take the group over England. It showed a lot of heart. Finally, the United States was not able to beat Ghana on Saturday. The United States survived another early goal to tie it up and take it into extra time, but the journey ended there.
It was a great showing, but there were definitely some questionable decisions by coach Bob Bradley in the deciding match. The man who almost single-handedly gave up the early goal, Ricardo Clark, was a controversial choice as starter. Clark then compounded matters by getting a yellow card and was subsequently replaced at a very early 30 minute mark in the first half. That used up one of the United States three allowed substitutions with a whole lot of time left on the clock. Seeing as how the match went into extra time, it was even more. Now, I can’t blame the loss on the coach. At the same time, it left many wondering what the future of Bob Bradley should be with the next World Cup heading to Brazil in 2014.
I got an email from WFNY reader CBoyes1987.
What do you think of the coaching situation? I was talking with one of my co-workers yesterday and we agreed on one thing from yesterday–Bob Bradley should not be coaching the US at the next World Cup.
I like what Bradley has done for US Soccer. He has brought us from the middle of North America (albeit a small confederation) to competing with only 1 nation (Mexico) for the Gold Cup. On the world stage he led the team to victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup and also to an early lead against Brazil which could have led to the first major tournament win for the US. That is all great! The performance in the World Cup this year was impressive and I don’t fault Bradley for many of the errors but there is something left to be desired. Not from the coaching or from the heart of the players but from the stature these players hold themselves to. Right now, I am watching Argentina dismantle Mexico. Argentina plays with the stature of a world class team – Mexico does not. Even in defeat, Italy looked like a world class team these past two weeks. I don’t see Bob Bradley taking the USMNT to that stature. He is a great coach and I don’t think anything in the past two weeks deserves his firing but that is not the only question to be asked of him. The more important question, as stated by Alexi Lalas is: Can Bob Bradley take the US further than they went this World Cup?
It is an interesting point. It is kind of similar to the way the Cavaliers were feeling this off-season with Mike Brown. Mike Brown did a great job in developing the defense in Cleveland. He got along with his players until this year when he had well-known issues with Ilgauskas and then rumored problems toward the end of the playoff run. The prevailing thought by most was that Mike Brown had maxed out and wasn’t the guy to take the Cavaliers to the next level. We know Dan Gilbert, at least, thought that.
Similar questions prevail for the USMNT. Bob Bradley should be commended for the things he has done with the team. At the same time, it needs to be decided whether Bradley is the coach of the future as we look toward 2014. Based on my experiences with the Cavs / Izzo / and the currently vacant head coaching position, I just think the United States must have their replacement before they move on from Bradley. And even that is an “if.” I think there are arguments to be made to bring Bradley back.
We will see how it plays out. If Denny has anything to say about it, he would hire Jurgen Klinsmann on the spot after his rant about the state of US Soccer following the game versus Ghana.