The recent CONCACAF Gold Cup was a tough tournament to measure, and to swallow, for the U.S. Men, having qualified as far as the tournament final, only to lose a 2-0 lead to Mexico by allowing four unanswered goals.
The Stars and Stripes had lost to Mexico in the finals before, and by larger margins. But they had never lost a single game in the group stage before taking a 2-1 defeat from Panama on June 11th. And they had never failed to win their group.
For head coach Bob Bradley, a long list of other mediocre performances leading up to this Gold Cup, including a 4-0 defeat from FIFA top-ranked Spain, has not helped his case, as fans and bloggers have become increasingly vocal with one particular opinion: he needs to go.
And the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati has given indication that he may be currently in the process of determining whether or not Bradley will be forced to vacate his position as head of the USMNT, telling the New York Times on Tuesday, "We'll have something to say later this week."
But that was all he gave. One sentence.
Earlier this month, Gulati expressed that he maintained a strong level of respect and confidence in Bradley's ability to lead the U.S. Men in the future, but that was before a mediocre tournament performance that has left fans distraught and raised questions about Bradley's tactics and in-game decisions.
In the team's first group match against Canada, they came out two goals on top, but it was still widely regarded as a sub-par performance by the U.S. Those concerns were validated by very poor performances from the back line in the next 2-1 defeat to Panama that eliminated the United States from contending for first place in the group for the first time in their history.
After the loss to Mexico, in front over 90,000 fans in Pasadena (most of whom were vocally supportive of the impressive Mexican side), Gulati dodged reporters and left without answering any questions about Bradley. He has remained mostly silent on the issue, aside from the one sentence issued to the Times.
Bradley had this to say about his team's ultimate collapse to lose the strong lead against Mexico: "It’s a difficult way for us to end the tournament for sure. As a team we made a lot of progress and we were looking forward to this matchup."
Expect Gulati and the U.S. Soccer Federation to take their time analyzing and considering that progress as we await their final decision.
Bradley still has three years left in his contract.