First, before getting into my final thoughts on the Panama game, I need to give a huge shout out to the American Outlaws Tampa Crew for putting together one hell of an event. Everything from the pregame at MacDinton’s Irish pub, the exceptional tailgate, and the transportation to and from was spot on. With the awful play on the field, the game ball goes to you.
Now that we have all had at least 48 hours to reflect on the loss, can we all just finally calm the Rossi down? Yes it was a bad, even terrible loss, but the sky is not falling. The earth has continued to revolve around the sun, and the USMNT still has a chance to win their group. Yes, it will take a Canadian win over Panama and total US domination against Guadaloupe. The point here is quite simple; we came out and played like dog shit against a squad that had a very solid game plan to attack our weaknesses and executed perfectly. Countless writers better than I have broken down what took place on Saturday, and I encourage you to check them out and form your own opinion. Here at, “the most influential blog of our time”, senior writer Raf and Editor-in-Chief NWB have had some debate over how much coach Bradley is responsible for the teams defeat Saturday. Neil holds the players responsible with USMNT veterans shouldering most of the blame. On the other hand, Raf feels like Bradley’s player selection and tactical strategy has left the USMNT with little room for improvement. Throughout the blog-o-sphere writers and fans alike have been calling for Bradley’s head. Many have stated the following ultimatum: If Bob Bradley’s USMNT does not end up winning the Gold Cup, the manager needs to go. Before we all start losing our minds, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you why ultimatums like this one are completely ridiculous, especially within the current USMNT climate.
First of all, we (as in UMSNT fans) need to stop acting like we were going to steamroll out way through the tournament in the first place. For those of you that have not noticed, Mexico is playing some of the best soccer they have in years. In the last week they have ripped out 3 wins and outscored opponents 14-1. Even if the USMNT was on form, there would still be no guarantee that we win the final, even if we managed to get there. To be clear, I am not conceding the Gold Cup to Mexico, but any non-delusional soccer fan has to admit that Mexico is not a team we want to be playing the way we look right now.
Let’s say in some fantasy land that Gulati actually considers giving Bradley the ax if the USMNT does not win the Gold Cup. In my opinion, that simply won’t happen because there is not a long list of candidates out there to replace him, but if it did, quickly going over the popular options will help prove my point.
Thomas Rongen: The former U-20 coach does have some positives. He has been involved in US soccer since 2001 and is very familiar with members of the current squad as well as the talent moving up the ranks in the player pool. At the same time, I don’t see how anyone could give him a chance to manage to senior team after failing to qualify for the under 20 World Cup just months ago. If failing to accomplish your goals got you promoted, no one would be unemployed.
Jürgen Klinsmann: UMSNT fans have been drooling over this guy for two World Cup cycles now. They wanted him after 2006 when Arena flamed out after a second term at the helm. They still want him. They blame everyone from Sunil Gulati to Tim Howard’s brilliant outlet pass for not having him. After 2010, he was again the popular choice as fans did not want to see a repeat of the Arena years. Before Gulati offered Bradley a chance to coach the team for a second cycle, there were, we’re led to believe, some serious discussions with Klinsmann about taking the job. Eventually, Bradley was rehired because Klinsmann wanted what Gulati characterized as “too much control” of day to day operations including youth development and access to MLS players anytime during the year. If Klinsmann wanted this much control a year ago, just imagine what Gulati would have to give up a year later. I can’t imagine Klinsmann not asking for even more control the second time around if Gulati actually showed up with an offer—rarely can you get “your man” at the same price when you blink the first time and come back with your hat in your hand. Essentially, if they could not come to an agreement a year ago, it won’t suddenly happen now, so long as Gulati is in charge. And there’s no reason to think he won’t be. Oh- and for good measure—Bob Bradley, like Klinsmann, has won a World Cup group. Only difference as coaches (not players) is Klinsmann did a bang-up job at Bayern Munich…oh wait.
Claudio Reyna: Honestly, I never even considered him for the gig until one of the AO Tampa guys mentioned his name during Saturday’s pre-game banter. He is without doubt one of the greatest players ever to wear the Red, White and Blue, and his appointment as the US Soccer Technical Director was a genius move (one the Gulati bashers don’t want to talk about, because heaven forbid they have to admit the great things he has done, but I digress..). While this may be a good option in the future, is the senior team really a place for someone to work out the kinks who has had no coaching experience?
Not satisfied with the possible replacements? Neither am I. That is exactly why Gulati will not let Bradley go no matter how things turn out with the rest of the Gold Cup. If you feel I left any reasonable replacement off the list, please comment below. Hopefully we can finally get our act together Tuesday, or I am going to be a miserable SOB at the office Wednesday morning.
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