July 28, 2011

CARLO ANCELOTTI IS TANNED, RESTED AND READY:

US Soccer fires men's national coach Bob Bradley (Chris Jenkins, 7/28/11, AP)

"I think any coach in this country, especially someone who has coached in America for a long time, would have an interest in coaching the national team,'' Schmid said in a teleconference. "I think that's going to be a yes answer from any American coach that you ask. But at the end of the day, is it the right thing? Is it the right time? Where are you coming from? Where are you at? All of that affects that ultimate decision. What I can tell you is I'm very happy where I'm at. I love the Sounders.''

The next competitive match for the U.S. will be the start of World Cup qualifying in June. The draw to determine possible opponents is set for Friday in Brazil.

Bradley's dismissal comes nearly a year after he was given a contract extension to continue coaching the team through 2014. But even as Bradley was given a new deal, there were concerns that the team had hit its ceiling.

Yes, the U.S. made it to the round of 16 in last year's World Cup - but it needed Donovan's last-minute heroics to make it out of what was seen as a relatively easy group beyond England, then was eliminated by Ghana in a game many thought was winnable.

Some American fans heavily criticized Bradley for his reliance on favorites such as his son Michael, a midfielder, and Jonathan Bornstein, a left back who took the brunt of the blame for the most recent collapse against Mexico.


Michael is one of the best US players, though used poorly. The team looked best with him playing in front of the two central defenders, which, along with Tim Howard, gave them the strength in front of goal to take risks forward. Once you set them up that way--likely with Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez filling the old Onyewu/Demerit role--you need the defenders on the outside to act as offensive weapons, carrying the ball forward up the wings, which means playing Eric Lichaj regularly and bringing Marvell Wynne in from the cold. (Others might include: Corey Ashe, Geoff Cameron, etc.--the team generally needs to utilize more MSL players because they actually start games, unlike many of the internationals.)

Bornstein is a horror and should be just one of several players thanked for their service and moved along. Unfortunately, that should include Donovan, Dempsey, Cherundolo, DeMerit, Onyewu, Goodson, Bocanegra and any other current mainstay who will be over 30 by the next Cup (with the possible exception of Howard).

Assume you're playing Altidore with either Davies or Agudelo and you've got room for three more midfielders from the group of Holden, Feilhaber, Adu, Edu, Bedoya, Jose Torres, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, etc.

It's also time to hire a truly top flight coach, one who will fix the defense and employ a consistent formation where players fill roles, rather than the big names bending the formation around them. Carlo Ancelotti fits the bill on all those counts.



Posted by at July 28, 2011 6:26 PM
  

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