26 March 2007


After watching the US demolition (honest, that’s no exaggeration and I’m as surprised as you should be) of both Mexico and Ecuador, it’s absolutely criminal that interim head coach Bob Bradley still has the interim tag.

In the last two games, the US men’s national team has looked more a “team” than at any other occasion I've watched them since the 2002 World Cup. Even with new players being bedded in and some regulars having sat out due to injuries or other matters, they look a far better unit than at any time during the 2006 World Cup.

I understand that both games were home matches, both games were “friendlies,” and that the real tests will come in the Copa America and Gold Cup, but it needs to be said. Bob Bradley is making all the right decisions, and has the team performing at a very good level. Not to mention the rebirth of Landon Donovan under Bradley, although we’ll withhold judgment on that until more competitive matches.

It seems the only reason Bradley still has the interim label is because of US chief Sunil Gulati’s obsession with a big name coach. First it was Jurgen Klinsmann; now, it’s ostensibly Carlos Quieroz or Gerard Houllier (run, run away screaming). Not only are these men pipe dreams, I fail to understand why Gulati has such a hard-on in courting them. Is it because they’ll give the US a bigger name and more PR possibilities? Is that really what matters here?

My main prerequisite in hiring a national team manager following Arena was familiarity with MLS, because for the time being, the national team will be reliant on players from that league. Bradley has impeccable credentials in that regard. Yes, the majority of the first team’s starting 11 is based in Europe, and I’m of the belief that if the US wants to have greater success internationally, more players should think of going abroad (I’m looking at you, Landon). But we’re not there yet. Bradley has the MLS qualifications, but just as importantly, he’s now proven he can manage the national team against their biggest rivals and a strong CONMEBOL outfit. That should have been the only reason why he had the interim tag in the first place, because he’s never held a top level international position. Now, he’s proven the jump to international stage isn’t so much of a leap.

I fail to see the hold up. The longer this goes on, the more this gossip will ratchet up. Please, stop this nonsense now. Klinsmann’s not coming, Quieroz’s not coming, Houllier’s not coming (for the love of God, I hope). Bradley has quickly proven himself to be the best candidate, end of.

The USSF did something right in hiring Bradley. Please don’t screw it up.

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