A Sparkling Debut

Was Bob Bradley watching GOL TV this morning? How about Peter Nowak? If they did happen to stumble upon Villerreal’s La Liga match with Deportiva, they would have been shocked by what they saw. The same player Bradley has not called into the national team since February came on at halftime and immediately made his presence felt. Altidore replaced Guille Franco, the Mexican international (who was of course born in Argentina and thus why Hugo Sanchez would not call him into the national team, but he has been recalled by Sven Goran Eriksson) transformed the match.

Maybe Bradley and Nowak don’t like the indivudual confidence and flair both Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore demonstrate on the pitch. This is something new for American footballers who have since the days of Tab Ramos and Hugo Perez been less technical and more hard working types. But what was obvious today is that the confidence and flair Altidore possess allowed him to fit right into a team that finished 2nd in arguably the world’s toughest league last season. At the same time players consistently selected above Altidore for the US sqaud struggle to find the pitch. Eddie Johnson did not play for his second division side, Cardiff City this weekend, nor did Michael Bradley who is playing for a Bundesliga side that was just promoted.

Unlike Bruce Arena who selected in form players regardless of where they played and generally did not pick those not featuring regularly on their side, Bob Bradley has his own ideas as to player selection. We can only hope he was watching GOL TV this morning and realizes that only one American is playing for a top four side in a major European league: Jozy Altidore.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the World Soccer Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the books 'Blue With Envy' about Manchester City FC, and 'Soccerwarz' about the MLS, USL and NASL infighting.
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