Poll: Should Bob Bradley Stay or Go?

RUSTENBERG, June 27, 2010 Bob Bradley (C), head coach of the United States, talks with Jonathan Bornstein (L) of the United States during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 soccer match against Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, on June 26, 2010. Ghana won 2-1 and qualifies for the round of 8.

Whether Bob Bradley should stay in charge as coach of the US men’s national team is a difficult question. For some US soccer fans, it’s an easy answer (either yes or no). But I believe that the vast majority of US soccer fans are torn. Bradley, for all his faults, has done incredibly well. But is he the best for the position?

Share your opinions in the comments section below. And vote in the poll. It’ll be interesting to read your analysis, as always.

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About Christopher Harris

Publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris founded the site in 2005. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who was born and raised in Wales, has lived in Florida since 1984, and supported Swansea City since 1979. Last but not least, he got engaged during half-time of a MLS game.
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29 Responses to Poll: Should Bob Bradley Stay or Go?

  1. James says:


    We love you for finally turning the US into a finely tuned group of players, but your tactical understanding of the game and your ability to learn from mistakes leaves a lot to be desired. Starting Clark after two poor performances against England and Slovenia instead of Edu, who came in against Slovenia and Algeria to help the US to a tie and a win is just criminal. The same could be said about Findley, who added absolutely nothing to the squad. Instead of going with the players and the formation that had won you two games (counting Slovenia), you decided to revert back to mediocre players in a static formation. Ghana beat you. They played three in the midfield and you realized 30 minutes too later that Clark was a liability in that situation. You let us down. The US deserves a coach who can make the tough tactical calls instead of relying on loyalty to Clark and wishful thinking about Findley. For those reasons, I think it’s time for you to go. Thanks for all you’ve done for the US.


    • Mark says:

      I think James nailed it exactly. Bradley had 3 lineup decision to make against Ghana – one each in defense, midfield and forward
      in defense – he chose Bornstein over Onyewu, Goodson and Spector. A major gamble in most people’s book but it paid off
      in the midfield – he chose Clark over Edu or possible Torres. Clearly he got that wrong
      at forward – he chose Findley over Buddle or Gomez or switching tactics to either 4-5-1 or playing Dempsey at forward. Again he got that wrong. What all three choices have in common is that Bradley went with the fastest player for the position, not the best player for the position. That over reliance on speed shows a tactical deficit to me. It reminds me of his selection of Marvel Wynne for the qualifying game in Costa Rica. Wynne played like a very very fast headless chicken.

      Bradley had done OK, not bad, but not fantastic. I’d like to see this team move on and get some new tactics and player focus. Of course it depends on who they’d bring in. I’m not sure Klinsmann is the saviour some people want him to be. If anything I’d like to see Klinsmann replace Gulati.

  2. Mark Stokes says:

    Bob Bradley to leave? You got to be out of your mind. The man has done a phenomonal job. His team confounded everyone at the World Cup and with one or two better placed shots we’d be looking at a last eight – and I suggest last four – spot for the US. Bradley to leave? You must be joking.

    • Jared says:

      Sounds similar to Bruce Arena right after the World Cup in 02 and we all know how that turned out. Bradley did well with this team to get them where he did. He made some bad mistakes though too (not starting Edu and not going 4-5-1).

      I think that 8 years is just too long for a national team coach. The players just start to tune him out after a while. A new cycle needs a new coach.

      • AdamEdg says:

        I agree. National team coaches should be replaced after every World Cup cycle. If nothing else, it keeps everything fresh. Now, I am not advocating a radical change at this point because it seems like our team has evolved over the last cycle. The new coach should continue that evolution and learn from the mistakes we’ve made along the way.
        Like Cavan (below) said, we should aim for a coach that understands the American player and his differences from European players. The majority of our guys seem to be college educated and come from a vastly different background than the Euros who go straight into pro development at a young age. Everything from tactical management to team discussions have to be handled differently. Hiring a coach that recognizes that – like Arena & Bradley – can be the difference between advancing and flaming out.
        I am thankful to Bradley for what he accomplished on this cycle, just as I am thankful to Arena for 2002. But as Jared pointed out, we all saw what happened with Arena’s squad when his second cycel came around. And I get it. Relationships and loyalties develop. Coaches put players in against better judgement and experience for whatver reason. That is how we ended up with the mess in 2006 and why Clark and Findley were on the field this weekend.
        Again, I appreciate what Bradley accomplished. I appreciate the experimentation he undertook (including last year’s Gold Cup). But it is time for a new perspective and some fresh blood.

    • McBride says:

      “His team confounded everyone at the World Cup”

      I’m not sure what this means. We struggled to beat an inferior team (Algeria) and in 3 of 4 games seemed flat in the game’s first 20 minutes despite different lineups. That has to speak to his managing.

      Bottom line: The US was outplayed for 45 minutes in the biggest game of the tournament until Bradley corrected his lineup errors. I’m thoroughly convinced the US beats Ghana if Edu and Feilhaber (or Buddle) were in the first 11.

      When it mattered most, our manager was lacking. He did great things the last four years but it is time to move on.

    • Rick says:

      The U.S. led for three minutes total in four matches, of which three were against Slovenia, Algeria, and Ghana. That’s not a phenomenal job.

  3. Cavan says:

    I voted Bradley should go but not because of a lack of success. In all, he did a good job in the last four years and a solid job at this World Cup. The round of 16 loss was tough but the team had the stones to make it out of the first round on their own, rather than backing out like in ’94 and ’02.

    I also think that it’s probably time for a new perspective to come to the U.S. National Team. A new coach should be from MLS. Someone who knows the American player and who knows our team’s strengths and weaknesses. Maybe the obvious names like Sigi Schmid or Kinnear or Nicol or Nowak. I don’t think a foreigner would really get the subtleties that coaching a group of mostly college-educated adults involves. I also think a foreign coach would be arrogant and fail to recognize our team’s strengths as strenghts. I think a foreign coach would want to rip up all progress and put their vision on our team, kind of like what we saw with Cameroon and Ivory Coast.

    They would berate our team’s heart and never-say-die attitude rather than encourage it. While it’s possible they could instill a stronger defensive system, they could also screw up our team’s positive attacking style, which is an advantage for it.

    • SSReporters says:

      Our last 3 coaches have come from MLS. How’s that worked out?

    • Dan Phillips says:

      That’s why a choice like Klinsmann would be perfect. He know the American system, speaks English, lived in Calif. the last 12 years, and brings international experience and player development.

  4. jason says:

    A transition is needed. I think USA should go for Jurgen Klinsmann, Roberto Martinez, and/or David Moyes.

    • eplnfl says:

      Bradley’s body of work has on the whole been a positive. He fell one game short of making his replacement unlikely instead of more likely. That is a major achievement for a USMNT coach. Is it time to bring in a Klinsmann or Martinez. It may well be. Yet, the choice is not that Bradley is a good coach or not, he is a good coach but can he get America to the next step. Would a big name have convinced a Rossi to play for the US instead of Italy. That may have made the difference this year. I think that is the proposition on the table. Also, will the various foreign coaches spend time with the development squads and take in the U-17 games to help those teams and players develop. Bradley did those things would a Klinnsmann do anything but manage the Senior team?

  5. Charles says:

    I voted undecided, although I think that the talent was there and the opportunity was there to win more. I don’t put all that blame on him however, the players have a responsibility to play well too.

  6. Nick says:

    I think even Bradley himself would admit that he made mistakes in the Ghana game with the line-up, which is what most fans, myself included believe. Nevertheless, the way the U.S. defended as a team was impressive in terms of how players would rotate when a man was beaten or an overlapping run was made. Bradley also showed his willingness to take risks every now both tactically and from a personnel stand-point with player selection. That was the major difference in this World Cup compared to 2006 where, in my view, our team was way too complacent. Of course there’s also the fact that everyone loves to talk about and that’s the spirit and belief of our team. I’m also one of those guys who greatly favors the US National Team being coached by an American as well. My only fear goes back to my earlier point of the complacency that existed after 2002. I felt Bruce might have let the close personal relationships that he had with the players, and they had with one another, get in the way of expanding the player pool between the cups. As long as Bob doesn’t follow that path, I’d like him on for the next cycle.

    • james says:

      The way the US defended as a team was actually abysmal, with most of the goals coming from horrible lapses in concentration and text book mistakes.

      • Nick says:

        Abysmal? Obviously the goals came from defensive mistakes but I’m talking about the entire tournament. How many times would you see Feilhaber switch with the a full back or some come up from the mid-field while the striker would switch back? There were not any serious instances of counterattacking and outside a few times in the England, Howard didn’t get troubled. Problems came more from the personnel decisions (i.e. Clark and Torres) than the team defending as a group.

        • James says:

          We conceded 5 goals in 4 games. That’s hardly an example of great defensive work. The fact that the goals were let in because of huge defensive errors is a testament to how poor the defending was. The goals we did concede were not really worked for, they were due to lackluster defending and a distinct lack of pace in the back. I think the US looked tough at moments in the back, but we gave away too many soft goals. I don’t care how well Benny was switching with Bornstein if we cannot get our basic defensive duties correct.

  7. Dan says:

    JURGEN KLINSMANN FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He would be an AMAZING manager!

    We had a terrible defense, how did Bob Bradley over look Omar Gonzalez, probably the best defender in MLS and he is a kid! He would’ve been a solid backup at least.

  8. Robert says:

    Like all coaches they have their favorites. This love for sticking with players even though their form has dipped is something that doesn’t succeed in international soccer. Rico Clark was a disgrace for the times he appeared. his failure to mark steven gerrad and the horrible give away that cost us a goal against ghana. Going with findley in the knock out stages of these tournament was another glimpse into bradleys tactics. Buddle was coming off a great MLS start and Altidore was coming off a horrible season in the EPL but for whatever reason ALtidore played every single match. Yes, he caused problems but that’s not what strikers are paid to do. They are paid to score and paid to be in the right position to receive the ball.

    • Cavan says:

      I think calling Clark a “disgrace” is a bit harsh. I think “unsuccessful” or perhaps “overmatched” would be good words. The French team was a bit of a disgrace. Very different.

  9. BA14 says:

    Bradley should leave. He is undecided whether he wants to return or not. 4 years as the head coach of a national team is a long time. His contract ends in December, the perfect time for him to get back into MLS.

  10. Short Sighted Gloryhunters says:

    Look, I hated the Clark and Findley lineup decisions as much as anybody, but BB has had the most prolonged success out of any USA national team manager. Gold Cup 2007, Confed Cup 2009, and this WC. Overall he has been great. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You don’t judge his entire career based on one lucky ass overtime win by Ghana.

    • Mark says:

      Fair enough, but neither do you judge it on a Robert Green error and a 92′ winner against Algeria

      • Short Sighted Gloryhunters says:

        Uh we had way more bad luck than good luck this tournament.

        The Robert Green error was more than made up for by the two perfectly good goals we scored that were disallowed – Edu against Slovenia and Dempsey against Algeria.

        The 92 winner was pure skill and due to BB, not luck at all… Algeria was tired, our boys still had energy. That’s all b/c BB’s pre-WC camp was a “cross country team” according to the players.

  11. LateNite504 says:

    I think Bob did a pretty good job. He made some mistakes, but got a lot of things right. In the end, I think 4 more years is too long to keep him around.

    But I still think we are better off with an American coach, or maybe someone with EPL cred. We need to play to our strengths (and speeds) and don’t need a coach trying to make us play like Brazil or Spain – yet. While it ain’t flashy, I think the Galaxy’s organized defense leading to transition offense approach would fit our players. Is it beyond goofy to look at Arena again?

    • AdamEdg says:

      Yes it is. Arena is out of the question.
      Look I love my country, but I will have a hard time supporting my national side if they hire Arena back after one cycle – or ever. He did great things in 2002, but his 2006 performance should stick in our minds as the reason why he should not be brought back in as head coach. He had two shots at World Cups. His time is passed. It would be a step or two backward.

      • Dave C says:

        AdamEdg – as an Englishman living in the US, I’m not sure I understand the hate for Bruce Arena based on the 2006 World Cup. You had probably the toughest group, on paper you were the weakest team in the group, and you would have really needed a miracle to have progressed from the group stages. In the end, the US performed pretty much as expected, so I don’t see why Arena is pilloried for NOT being able to pull off a miracle upset. Sure, if you had been thrashed in each game perhaps you’d have a point, but from what I remember, you were pretty competetive.

  12. Julio G says:

    What US Soccer needs to focus on is the talent growth amongst our young players. This years team was the most accumulated talent ever provided to the US coach but there are areas where our boys lack quality and, more importantly, consistency. Gooch, albeit was still injured from his patella, was sub par at best when he played and the lack of a second true striker impeded progression. The coach can only implement the plan and unlike other more calculating US based sports like Basketball or Football, the individual skill of the players is what creates opportunities, other then set plays. The US is still a young federation that can excel in the near future, as long as we, the fans and supporters, stay diligent by supporting youth leagues and the MLS. Rome wasn’t built in a day, BB was a great general and if he choses to stay or go will not be the determining factor to the future success of US Soccer. That responsibility, as in Rome when it was a Republic, lies on the shoulders of its citizens. Keep the faith and, as always, DONT TREAD ON ME.

  13. Alex says:

    I believe that bob Bradley deserves stay till 2014 he has done a very good job outside and inside the field with the whole USA soccer team everybody saw it during the World Cup and he will be a good candidate for the next world cup in Brazil.

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