By Mark Vincent Lincir
The best moment in my entire life was watching Landon Donovan score the game winning goal in stoppage time against Algeria during group play of the World Cup. My second greatest moment was watching Landon Donovan and Bob Bradley appear on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I especially loved Bob’s wardrobe of tennis shoes, jeans and collared shirt…where’s the Armani coach? Come on, you’ve got to represent!
In all seriousness, those were great moments, but they are in the past and we must move on. The biggest question for United States soccer fans is whether or not the United States Soccer Federation will bring back Bob Bradley or go another direction?
Put your money on choice A.
As much as many of us want to see Jurgen Klinsmann or another big-timer come in and take the United States to the next level (or at least put the right starting eleven on the pitch)…we will all be faced with four more years of Bob Bradley at the helm. And this is what will happen – the United States will coast through qualifying, get to Brazil and have a chance to advance if we get a favorable draw and pull out some wins in the waning moments.
Tell me that’s not progress!
There are two decisions the United States Soccer Federation can make right now. One is to stay with Bob and to protect a system we all know is flawed and to try and to expect a guy who has never been there as a player or coach to guide your team to the later rounds of the next World Cup. Or to go after a high profile winner with international experience and the confidence and ego to get the most out of all of his players.
Does Bob do that? I think everybody thinks he does, but aside from Landon’s three goals, what else did he do this tournament? Landon hid out most of the time and needs to be more of a force over ninety minutes. Everybody is comfortable with Bob and I think that might be the problem.
If the coach were somebody else, maybe Maurice Edu voices his displeasure of playing behind Michael Bradley to the media. Maybe Jay DeMerit calls out Michael Bradley in the press for not providing enough protection for the back four (if you think he does, let’s sit down together and I’ll show you on every goal against the United States how Bradley fails to do his job as a center mid). Maybe Freddy Adu (remember that guy, he’s still around) gets called into camp more than once every full moon. Maybe Benny Feilhaber gets the ball every time the U.S. mounts an attack so that they can keep the ball for more than five seconds at a time.
I’m not proposing that the U.S. camp mirror the French camp, but I do think that at a certain point a new coach must come in and be able to tell certain players…I need more. I don’t think that will ever happen with Bob, because I think he and a lot of other people think that they are getting the most they can out of their players. And if that is true, then the U.S. needs to go find other players. They are out there. The country has 300 million people in, go find them. But Jozy Altidore needs to get better. Landon needs to stop hiding out for eighty-nine minutes at a pop. Michael Bradley needs to stop passing to the other team all the time. Bocanegra needs to stop getting beat to the ball and somebody needs to go find a legitimate left back for this squad!
There’s a lot that needs to happen for the United States to have a successful run in 2014 and the current coach won’t be capable of getting more out of his players than he already has…and that simply isn’t good enough anymore.
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