By Mark Vincent Lincir

The United States National Team continues to prove that it can’t beat anyone it isn’t expected to beat by tying Poland 2-2 Saturday night in Chicago. Coach Bob Bradley sent out another not-so-imaginative lineup that labored to keep the ball under pressure against a hardly intimidating Poland Squad.

Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu rounded out the scoring for the Americans who look to have their work cut out for them over the next four years if they are expected to be a legitimate contender in Brazil 2014.

Coach Bob Bradley continues to insist upon playing his son all ninety minutes at center midfielder and it continues to hurt the U.S. as his son, Michael touches the ball way to much on offense to effectively start any U.S. attack. Jermaine Jones showed well in his first appearance for the U.S. and a pairing of he and Maurice Edu would at center midfielders would best benefit the U.S. team but is a formation we are unlikely to see as long as Coach Bob’s son is in the equation.

The USA's Jermaine Jones (15) and Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski struggle for the ball during the second half of their international friendly soccer match in Chicago, October 9, 2010. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

In the back, Onyewu proved that he still is a liability when things start moving too quickly and cannot be counted on for the long term. Jay DeMerit, despite his age, fits in better and should be given more time at center back. Bolton’s Stuart Holden holds a lot of promise if he’s given more playing time, he is quick and confident on the ball, has good vision and is a relentless worker. But due to Michael Bradley’s seemingly permanent role on the field, once Landon Donovan returns it will be Holden or Benny Feilhaber who will take their spot back on the bench.

The United States needs more players like Benny and Stuart on the field, not less! How about sliding his son into the center back role instead of Maurice Edu? I think his son would make a much better center back than center midfielder. Then the U.S. could feature a five man midfield of Edu, Jones, Feilhaber, Holden and Donovan and leave Clint Dempsey up top alone. That’s right, no Jozy Altidore. He misses way more than he makes and hasn’t improved the way many people expected.

The supposed “New Cycle” has brought with it much of the same personnel we have already seen before. Bedoya is a player they are trying to force into the mix, but he hasn’t shown me much. Cherundolo and Boca at outside backs are serviceable but nowhere near exceptional. I liked watching Jones and he will be a bit on the old side by the next World Cup, but he’ll have to be counted on.

Now if we could just get rid of Michael Bradley at center midfielder and put Edu in there, things might improve. Otherwise, we are all dreaming about different results with basically all the same guys. That will not happen.

Against Columbia on Tuesday, look for Bob to do something inexplicable like putting Benny Feilhaber at outside back. But if you’re betting on one starter, make sure to your money on M. Bradley in the middle…it will happen and it will continue to hamper the U.S. teams’ progress.

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  1. I started out more pro-B. Bradley than I am today. So I can appreciate your frustration (to put it lightly) with BB. However, I think you’re unfairly/unjustly projecting that frustration on to his son. Michael isn’t on the team because his dad is the coach. He’s on the team, because he’s good. But I will agree that he’s not necessarily as offensely-minded as Feilhaber or Holden. While I don’t agree with you about Michael’s ability as a midfielder, I would actually like to see some more experimenting along the lines you described.

    Speaking of center backs.. let’s give Goodson some more looks. I’ve yet to see him perform as poorly as Gooch has been (little unfair to Gooch since he has had a serious injury but I wasn’t all THAT impressed with Gooch even before his injury).

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