What Michael Bradley's Move to Toronto FC Will Mean for USMNT at World Cup

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

Jun 11, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; United States midfielder Michael Bradley (4) against Panama in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier at CenturyLink Field. The United States defeated Panama 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bradley's sudden transfer from AS Roma in Serie A to Toronto FC of Major League Soccer surprised everyone in the American footballing landscape. 

Bradley's move is one that mirrors Clint Dempsey's transfer to Seattle from Tottenham Hotspur during the summer, as the MLS team receiving the United States men's national team star splashed a pretty large sum of cash for the player.

Now that the reality of Bradley donning the red and white of TFC is upon us, it is time to look at what the move means for the United States when the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in June.

The instant reaction to the Bradley transfer is that the 26-year-old is moving to one of the bottom feeders of the league, which is a correct statement if you only look at the 2013 Eastern Conference standings. 

The Reds lacked talent at close to every position in manager Ryan Nelsen's first season and they had to rebuild with new talent.

Rebuild is exactly what Toronto did, as they acquired the services of MLS veteran Dwayne De Rosario, who on his best day is one of the best playmakers in the entire league. 

Although he is 35, De Rosario will have an immediate impact on the Toronto attack that will officially feature Tottenham Hotspur forward Jermain Defoe in a few days' time. 

With the duo of De Rosario and Defoe, as well as new signing Gilberto, playing in front of him in the Toronto attack, Bradley will have plenty of quality to feed from his defensive midfield position. 

Having playmakers around him is a very good thing for Bradley, who is more of a distributor in the midfield than a consistent scorer. If was asked, though, he would probably attempt that role as well given his work ethic and pride in his game. 

When he takes to the pitch for the Yanks this summer, Bradley will also have plenty of playmakers in front of him, with the likes of Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore and Dempsey leading the American front line.

While we can sit here and debate how the abilities of Bradley's teammates at the club and international level stack up against one another, it is easier to be happy to see that he will actually be playing with other world-class talents on a consistent basis. 

Consistency is another thing Bradley is searching for as he prepares for the quest to South America that has the Americans pitted up against Ghana, Portugal and Germany in group play. 

This season at Roma, Bradley started just five matches and appeared as a substitute on six occasions. That is simply not enough game time for the midfielder to be in the best form of his life heading into Brazil. 

When he arrives in Ontario, the 26-year-old will be the first name on Nelsen's team sheet for every single match as long as he is fit. 

One other thing that the move back to MLS creates for Bradley is the pressure to succeed. He is being brought into Toronto alongside the likes of De Rosario and Defoe to rescue the Reds from their less than spectacular history and pack BMO Fieldone of the best venues in the leagueonce again. 

Bradley should thrive under the pressure of being the main man north of the border, which will prepare him for the same role in Brazil.

As we have seen with our own eyes over the last 12 months, Bradley is the best American player and means more to the team when he is on the pitch than Dempsey or Donovan. 

By becoming the man in Toronto and having a few playmakers at his disposal, Bradley will be able to prepare for the World Cup just fine, but it will take some time for a certain part of the American fanbase to realize that this move was the correct one for American success in Brazil.


Follow me on Twitter @JTansey90.