Michael Bradley Must Turn His World Cup Form Around Against Germany

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

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It has already been an incredible World Cup for the U.S. men's national team, who now have one foot in the next round as they head into their last group stage match against Germany.

Not everything has been great for the U.S., but they have been able to get the job done when needed.

Going into the tournament, it was imperative that the likes of Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey excel. Two of those stars have already become American heroes in Brazil, but one has still yet to truly show up.

During the two group games that have been played thus far, Bradley has been one of America's most underwhelming players. The all-important midfielder has not had the World Cup that fans were hoping to see from him, and that has to change now.

Bradley's ability to hold up play and create chances has made him one of the most important players for the U.S. and it showed during qualifying. A fan favorite, Bradley's influence can never be overstated, yet he has not been able to find his footing in Brazil.

Martin Mejia/Associated Press

In the Yanks' win over Ghana, Bradley recorded the worst player rating of any field player from WhoScored.com. He completed only 81 percent of his passes and did very little else throughout the match.

During that opening match, the 26-year-old was forced to play a much deeper role than normal and had definite defensive duties on the night.

Fans thought he would definitely show his best side against Portugal, yet it was just another questionable performance on Sunday.

He was able to get more involved in the U.S. attack, completing around 87 percent of his passes, but the final product was not there. Bradley missed a clear scoring chance and gave the ball away too many times, not to mention his mistake that led to Portugal tying the game in stoppage time.

The match against Germany is expected to be extremely difficult with the Germans also looking to cement themselves a spot in the Round of 16 after a disappointing draw against Ghana, and America needs Bradley back at his best.

Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

While just a draw would seal the top spot in the group for Germany, don't expect "Die Mannschaft" to take it easy on Jurgen Klinsmann's side.

America will be in for a fight with passage to the next round on the line. The U.S. cannot afford to have a poor showing, and they definitely can't deal with another bad game from Bradley.

In the wake of two less-than-stellar performances in Brazil, Bradley will need to break out of his shell against Germany.

The Germans are known for having a very strong and physical midfield, and Bradley is just the person America needs to hold up play and cause problems for their European rivals. The midfielder is needed more than ever, and now is the time to remind fans just how important he is to this team.

Form is temporary—it comes and goes. Every U.S. fan is aware of just how vital Bradley is to this team, and many would even claim he is the most important player. When the USMNT takes the field against Germany, it will be time for Bradley to prove it.

No more weak showings, giving the ball away and getting lost in the midfield; now is when Michael Bradley settles in and shows the world just how good of a player he can be for this U.S. team in Brazil.

* Note all player statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com

Will Bradley turn his form around against Germany? How far can the U.S. go if Bradley isn't playing his best? Leave your thoughts and comments below!