The United States announced their squad for the Brazil friendly on August 10, their first match since the 2010 World Cup. Here are four thoughts looking ahead toward that match.
Bob Bradley: His contract runs through December. He’s still U.S. head coach. This is turning into a stale relationship. U.S. Soccer is on the prowl for someone better. Bradley has had other potential suitors. Both are sticking around for convenience. The whole thing reeks of perfunctory sex. U.S. Soccer should commit to Bradley for another four years or jettison him. It is time to set the foundation for 2014. The spadework cannot begin with the coaching situation unresolved.
Jermaine Jones: After a season missed with a shin injury, the oft-cited German-American is ready. Bob Bradley has called up the 28-year-old for the Brazil friendly. Jones has an American father and lived stateside until his parents’ divorce. He played three times for the German national team, but only in “B” matches. Under new FIFA guidelines, he was eligible to switch. Jones is a destructive force in midfield, physical, energetic and passionate. He’s the player we hope Maurice Edu becomes. He has a reputation for being irritable, though American players seem to like him. Had Jones been healthy for South Africa, he would have walked straight into the U.S. Starting XI.
Strategic Absences: The hardest thing for a national team coach to do is cede control, but they must. Players develop at club level. Their consistent form there is more important longterm than their sporadic appearances for the national team. Jozy Altidore, Stuart Holden, Clint Dempsey and Oguchi Onyewu have precarious club positions. Bradley, wisely, let all four stay in Europe to fight for their place.
Strikers: Of the knockout participants in South Africa, the U.S. had the worst striking corps. Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle are not diamonds in the rough. They are bits of the rough that glimmered slightly before the World Cup. For all his flash, Charlie Davie is still trying to catch on with a moderate French team following a horrifying injury. The U.S. must to adjust to the modern game with a one-striker formation. Jozy Altidore needs to grow into his potential. [Photo via Getty]