Bradley faces a win-or-chaos situation tonight in Nashville

How much of Torres and Adu will we see tonight?

I’ve spent plenty of time this week haranguing folks out there for amping up the expectations on the USA way too high based on the result in San Salvador.

Tonight’s match is different. As the NYT says, with a loss, the USA could easily find itself in fourth place and out of the automatic qualification positions. I think that would be the first time the US has sat outside the qualification spots since before the 1998 World Cup.

Of course, if the US was to lose at home to Trinidad, every question and doubt ever lobbed at Bob Bradley will suddenly appear a lot more valid. A loss to T&T at home would be an utter disaster because it would, with a single stroke, undermine almost all the good work Bradley and the USA have done during his tenure. It wouldn’t undermine it fatally, but it certainly would wound the competency balance that Bradley has built up amongst most fans in the country.

Before you start biting your nails too much, here are some good things to remember.

  • The USA has not lost at home to a CONCACAF opponent since the 2001 loss to Honduras at RFK, 51 matches ago.
  • Under Bradley the USA is:
    • 15-0-1 at the half when leading, which means we aren’t blowing leads
    • 1-2-1 when losing at the half, which means that more than 50% of the time, we’ve taken points despite being down at halftime. This shows both the strength of this team’s character and fitness.
  • We have not lost to a Caribbean team at home since 1969.
  • The US comfortably beat Trinidad in their only meaningful matchup from the third round of qualifying, 3-0, in Chicago.

In other words, it should go okay tonight. In terms of the team selection, I suspect we’ll see a fairly conventional lineup until the US takes a comfortable lead. I hope Pearce is sat in favor of almost anyone including Beasley or Bornstein. I would love for Torres to see 90 minutes but I doubt it will happen.

Prediction: 3-1, USA


6 thoughts on “Bradley faces a win-or-chaos situation tonight in Nashville

  1. jd:

    I’ll accept 2nd place behind Mexico or Costa Rica (but still be disappointed), but behind both of those teams is simply unacceptable. I mean, a lot of people are expecting (or at least hoping for) the U.S. to get seeded in the World Cup, which is fairly unlikely unless we blow out every opponent by about 6 goals, win the Confederations Cup, and beat everyone in the Gold Cup by 5 goals. And even then, it’s sort of unlikely because I think the seeding is based on the previous 36 months or something like that.

    So in answer to your original question: Yes.

  2. That seeding process really helped Mexico last world cup. It kept them out of the group of death that we got put into. We need to win qualifying and get a seed some how.

  3. i’m not a bradley fan. i hate his style of football, i wouldn’t have hired him, and i’d love to fire him but it’s seems ubsurd to fire him if he qualifies in third as there isn’t enough time to build a team.

    Capello has been in England more then a year with some of the best talent in the world and it’s still unclear if they are improved or just having a few good game against easy teams. As they aren’t exactly beating Argentina.

    It takes more then a month or 6 months to build a team and change a style of play. American players in large part need reprogramming, even the good ones. Maybe there’s a coach that can do it quick but if you play the percentages it’s not likely. the time to fire him was after Copa America where he had plenty of friendlies to not waste on Nate Jacqua and Brian Ching and other players that are only good against mediocre teams.

  4. quiz for you all: in what position did we qualify for Korea/Japan… (hint, Costa Rica and Mexico finished ahead of us)

    A loss tonight won’t cripple us, but we can forget about having games to spare in qualification if we do lose. Our next match is at Saprissa, a stadium where American clubs and national teams go to die. It will be expected that we end up with 4 or 5 points in 4 matches if we don’t get a full three points here tonight. That will require a scary climb back up the ladder in a Hex that is much stronger than four years ago.

    if we don’t win tonight, you all had better hope that Honduras doesn’t get a result tonight against Mexico.

  5. Galactico:

    Not to pick a fight or anything, but who would you start over Ching? He’s a good possession striker, and occasionally gets in behind the defense and is good in the air. I think a lot of people’s ideal situation would be Kenny Cooper and Jozy (especially after tonight!!), but Bradley obviously isn’t high on Coop and I think it would be a mistake to start two young forwards. Brian Ching has been around a while, so he knows the ropes and provides the leadership, as well as the service, to younger guys like Jozy. He’s sort of like McBride (I DIDN’T SAY AS GOOD!!! DON’T YELL AT ME!!!): he’s big, strong, good with headers, holds the ball well, draws fouls, and generally contributes positives to the offense. Granted, he’s not very flashy, and he doesn’t make big plays all the time, but he’s solid.

    So back to my original question: out of curiosity, who (besides Coop, Eddie Johnson, or Josh Wolff) would you start over Ching?

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