MICHAEL ADUBATO - Thursday, June 24, 2010
Bob Bradley, who took over the US National Team after their disastrous 2006 World Cup, has proven to have the required leadership to lead a team through adversity.
"When you're in the game long enough, there are times when that (miss goal chances) happens and you say maybe it's just not our night," the New Jersey native said.
"But the real thing you do as a coach, you just keep trying to think about what's going on in the game; are we still creating chances, how many changes do we have left, what else can we do to keep giving ourselves a chance to get the goal. At the end it's just the efforts of the players that make the difference."
The former coach of a trio of MLS teams knows that he has a group of players that will never give up on the team or themselves no matter which way the ball rolls.
"In this last cycle guys have grown; they're taking leadership roles (and) as a team we've gotten stronger," he explained. "We've had experiences where we've been hardened. What we've also learned is that you can't always control a (referee's) call or a bounce (of the ball) but you can control what you're all about as a team, what you put into it and how committed you aer to giving everything in the game. I think that has become the special quality of this group."
After escaping the England game with a point and then having the game winning goal versus Slovenia stolen away due to refereeing incompetence, the team could perhaps be forgiven for cursing their bad luck but this is not the team that Bradley has solidified on and off the field.
Even after yet another goal being cancelled out by the linesman in the Algeria game, the Americans did not give up. The coach puts the positive attitude down to experience gained, especially last year in South Africa.
"The experience of the Confederation Cup was important for us," Bradley said of last summer's tournament. "Again we played very good teams and we had to fight through the group and ultimately we had a great victory against the team of Spain. But at the end of the day, we remember that we had a 2-0 lead at halftime against Brazil and we didn't come away as champions."
"There's a disappointment but with that disappointment comes the belief and hope that we're coming back in a year and we're going to try to take it a bit further," he concluded. "So it's those experiences that help us grow."
The US Men's National team and all their fans will hope they bring this same fighting spirit into Saturday's game against Ghana, as they look to advance to the quarterfinals.