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FIFA World Cup 2010: Bob Bradley Is a Tactical Genius

Jabber HeadSenior Analyst IJune 24, 2010

It was the 90th minute. The ball was at Jozy Altidore's feet. Soon, it bounced off Altidore's foot, grazed the grass, and found Clint Dempsey making a great run from the midfield. Dempsey struck it at the keeper's chest, the ball was now at the foot of Landon Donovan, and found back of the net only seconds later.

This is how the U.S. pulled off the dramatic 1-0 victory over Algeria to advance into the round of 16. Not only did they advance, but they won the group for the first time since the original World Cup in 1930. This may be a storybook ending, but it wasn't scripted. The U.S. could dedicate their success to Coach Bob Bradley.

Bradley, the father of midfielder Michael, had never played with the same lineup this World Cup.

In the first game versus England, Bradley started Ricardo Clark in the midfield. Clark, a great defender, helped the U.S. allow only one goal against the powerful English squad. During the same game, starting forwards Jozy Altidore and Robbie Findley were subbed out for midfielder Stuart Holden and striker Edson Buddle. This helped the U.S. hang on to the 1-1 tie and gain a point in their opening match.

Next was Slovenia. Bradley decided to put the young Jose Francisco Torres in for Ricardo Clark; however, this was probably the only bad decision Bradley made so far. Torres is a master at free-kicks, but his lane was a gateway for lots of opportunities and Bradley decided to make some changes at the half.

In a 2-0 deficit, Findley and Torres were subbed out for strong offensive midfielders Maurice Edu and Benny Feilhaber. The move payed off.

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Golden_State_of_Mind is a Jabberhead and an SJ contributing author

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