An Open Letter to Bob Bradley
Well Bob, it's happened again.
We've failed to find a way to win in Mexico City and the U.S. faithful are once again questioning your coaching decisions.
The great victory against Spain and a solid performance against Brazil silenced the critics for awhile. But Mexico outscoring Team America by a six-goal margin over the last 180 minutes has pulled your critics out of hibernation.
Sunil Gulati says your job is safe until after the World Cup, but he's starting to hear the grumblings. Losing to Costa Rica is unacceptable. Getting blown out by Mexico is unacceptable. Struggling against Honduras at home is unacceptable.
Quite frankly, instead of assuring you of your continued employment, I wish Mr. Gulati would light a fire under your ass. I'd love to hear him say, "You've beaten Spain, now you have to come out and grab CONCACAF by its throat and become the undisputed dominant force."
The victory against Spain sealed it. People aren't going to question our talent and dedication anymore, they're going to question the coaching when things go bad.
You've got to start learning from your mistakes—and fast. Don't worry, I'm here to help you before you find yourself on the dole. I like the fact that the U.S. hasn't had a revolving door system of management, in stark contrast to our neighbors directly to the south. I'd like to keep some sense of continuity—at least until we can sign Guus Hiddink.
First of all, what are you doing keeping Jonathan Spector on the bench? Did his performances in the Confederations Cup seriously not merit giving him a start at right-back? He's been on top of his game and is a big boost to the U.S. whether getting forward in an attack or hanging back to keep Tim Howard free from danger.
Even if you aren't going to start him, you have to put him in when 75 percent of your back line picks up yellow cards. Their effectiveness dropped off, and Spector stayed in a warmup suit. What gives?
Speaking of talented players left to rot on the bench, I'd like to talk about Jozy Altidore. He and Charlie Davies were great together in the Confederations Cup, so I understand that it's only natural for you to want to break up that partnership in favor of Brian Ching.
You did eventually bring Altidore into the game...after it was too late for him to do anything. I think the only time I heard his name mentioned was when he came on for Charlie Davies. After that, he could've been standing behind the goal smoking a Cohiba for all the impact he had on the game. Give the man more than 15 minutes to make an impact!
Did the Confederations Cup teach you nothing about keeping a consistent lineup? You found a winning combination against Egypt, and played essentially the same group and tactics against Spain and Brazil. It's no coincidence that those three matches showcased some of the best football ever played by an American squad.
So why change it up for a crucial World Cup qualifier? It makes no sense! Surprises are wonderful at birthday parties, not when there's a trip to South Africa in the balance.
My next suggestion has nothing to do with your coaching, it's something I'd like to see you run by the management at the USSF. You should strongly consider buying one of these for everybody in the U.S. National Team pool. Every single player.
Once your players receive their altitude tents, make them sleep and work out in them.
Those tents won't just be beneficial for high-altitude matches like those at the Azteca, they should reap huge benefits for you in every other match as well. Your player pool already contains some of the fittest footballers in the world, so why not make that even more of an edge?
One of the biggest criticisms of U.S. teams is that they are unable to come from behind. Well, having this massive edge in fitness could erase that criticism. Fallen behind in a match? No worries, just pick the pace up and run your opponents to death.
But you've got to act quickly, Bob. Time is running out.
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