EDGAR ZUNIGA - Sunday, June 26, 2011
Bob Bradley must go.

He is done.

If Sunil Gulati has a pair, he will sack up and do what must be done before US Soccer is damned to another World Cup cycle with Bob at the helm.

When the Federation was unable to come to terms with anyone to take over for Bob after World Cup 2010, it seemed that they settled for Bob because he is a sure thing to get the US into Brazil 2014.

Mark my words: it will not be easy.

Well, it's never easy when you have to go play in claustrophobic Central American stadiums and the gaping maw of Azteca Stadium. However, under Bob's second term, the US has plateaued and may even be experiencing a dip in performance.

Bob has taken this team as far his sterile, unimaginative, robotic system can.

Look back at all of Team USA's successes under his command and you will notice a pattern of the US winning important games based on grit and determination - a hallmark of US Soccer.

The goal by Giovani dos Santos that sealed the game at 4-2 was a thing of beauty, as he deftly eluded frantic US defenders to finally curl that shot over Tim Howard. You will NEVER see a player under Bob's tutelage do something like that because he abhors that style of play.

The only player that comes close to doing anything similar to that now is Freddy Adu...and where has he been all this time? If Adu was not playing his butt off in the beginning of the game with his individual play, the US would have never scored those first two goals.

Bob must go.

He has become a detriment to the growth of US Soccer and visibly lacks the tactical knowledge to get the US to the next level of evolution.

Take for example what the Mexican team has done. They had become nonchalant against other CONCACAF foes, including the US. They were the giants in the region and had reached a point where they were resting on their laurels.

Then, the US experienced a sudden increase in skill and athleticism to go with that trademark grit and Mexico suddenly found themselves knocked to the dirt looking up at the Stars and Stripes.

It took them a while (God knows the Mexican Federation is a corrupt mess), but they finally stopped trying to match the US and instead focused on getting past them and to that next echelon by encouraging individuality and rewarding imagination - two things you will never see Bob do.

Watching a Bob-led training camp is pretty simple. He tells the players what he expects of them and then they go out and do...exactly what he tells them to do. They know that if they do not conform to his standards or - God forbid - step out of line by trying something different, they will not make the cut.

Think that a kid that gets called in to training camp will impress Bob with nimble ball-dribbling skills and sick moves? Nah...he wants guys that will fall in line with his lame tactics and style of play...that never change.

Why do you think the US got absolutely destroyed by Spain in that friendly before the Gold Cup?

Why do you think Team USA had such a hard time in this tournament? Why will they continue to have a hard time in World Cup qualifying with Bob at the controls? It is because the other teams already know what to expect from him and the team.

As long as Bob remains in control, things will just get harder for the US.

And, you can only win so many games just on grit and determination alone.

Interestingly enough, believe it or not, there are people out there that still support Bob. Be it blind devotion to the National Team coach (no matter what), or they just have a thing for a robotic fella who stands by and blinks as his team gets reamed, they think Bob is the bee's knees.

Allow me to give you a verbal slap. SLAP. Snap out of it. Bob is not the answer. He is not the future.

You would think that after all this time he would have figured out something to do with the eternally porous backline that is the USA's Achille's heel. But, all we see is more of the same, and other teams know to exploit that.

Look at what happened in the Gold Cup final when Steve Cherundolo went down. Bob could have moved some guys around, maybe moved Carlos Bocanegra out to the left, and brought in Oguchi Onyewu or Tim Ream to the middle. No. He brings in Jonathan Bornstein, who lost his starting spot with Tigres UANL in the Mexican Primera Division and amassed an astounding 274 minutes of play this past Apertura 2011 season.

You think it was a coincidence that Mexico went on a tear after Bob subbed in Johnny B.?

Hey, just saying.

Somewhere, out there in this vast nation of ours, the future superstars of the US National Team are waiting to be discovered. They are flamboyant. They have tons of skill. They have the confidence to take on two or three defenders when needed.

However, you will not find them playing on some fancy club team or high-profile high school team. They are sons of Mexican and Central and South American parents and can be found playing in parks, parking lots and street corners.

But, the way the current system is set up under Gulati and Bob, the only US jersey these kids will ever put on will be the one they buy in a store. In fact, don't be surprised if they end up playing elsewhere.

As it is now, with Mexico absolutely destroying the US (in what has been a mostly dismal Gold Cup), CONCACAF teams can all smell the blood in the water and will come out with more confidence, knowing they can beat a wounded Team USA.

You think that losses like this don't have lingering psychological effects? After being up 2-0 in their second international final and losing miserably, this one will hurt for a long time. For US supporters, especially the newer generation that had grown up with the US handling Mexico on American soil, it will feel rather uncomfortable to deal with the verbal abuse from Mexican fans (and you will hear it).

For Team USA, it is a fall from what was already a shaky pedestal.

But, try as he may, Bob doesn't have what it takes to get the job done.

Sorry, but getting to the World Cup isn't even a guarantee anymore.

Bob is at the end of his rope and it's time to cut him loose.
Andrew I
Sunday June 26, 2011 8:05 am
I think you summarized the feelings of many American Fans there Edgar.
For the longest time, I was for Bob Bradley and was hoping he could move the team forward but after watching today's match, I lost all hope and am sad and reluctant to say that 'Bob must go.' I see your point and everyone else's too. While he did a good job, I've noticed that since the 2010 WC, the MNT has been on a steady decline. I think the US would do good with either Klinsmann or a Brazilian coach. I'm 46 now and hoping to see the US win a World Cup before my 'permanent retirement,' or the end of the world, whichever comes first.
Sunday June 26, 2011 7:48 am
It is really sad when all us arm chair soccer coaches can see what the head of the U.S. mens' NT could not. Why was Bornstein even on the roster? What happened to Tim Chandler? Where was he? Where was Edson Buddle or Herculez Gomez for some additional options up top? Selecting like 15 midfields and only Jozy (who we agree in our house does not have the natural quickness to be a world class striker) as the only nature striker for this tournament was the first indication that we were in trouble.

Solution: I feel it has been standing in front off us for about 6 years. Have Jurgen Klingsman take the helm. Have him transform America into the quick paced passing still and allow creativity when the space and location on the field merits it. Another solution is do not put in a player where the opposition knows how to us and abuse. If a team knows a particular player is weak they will continue attacking that player. Kids learn that in practice at the U-8, path of least resistance to the goal.
Sunday June 26, 2011 7:37 am
Right on with your assessment. He does need to go and we do need to play with more creativity and flair as we will never compete on an international level unless we do. There are plenty of players out there that can play this way, but we can't blame it all on Bob. There are college coaches all over this country that cannot coach the creative player. These players are made to play in a direct style of play or they will not get on the field. Their creativity is stifled by single minded coaches that can only play one way, the Bob way. It's like a disease there is no cure for. Just go to any college game or even watch MLS, USL or PDL games and you won't see a true number 10 out there anywhere. We do have them as I have seen them in my travels, but until we hire a coach that can find them and put them on the field we are destined for the same mediocre style we have always had. Look at Spain and Barcelona, players not big in size but creativity all over the field.
Sunday June 26, 2011 6:55 am
I completely agree with this article. Bob can't take them to the next level. You either move up or you get worse. Staying in the same spot just allows others to pass you. I don't necessarily believe Klinsmann is the answer. We need a well respected coach. I wish Cryuff still coached. He would help establish a winning style to the US team. His style revitalized Barcelona over 30 years ago. It was the same style that helped Spain be world champs.
Mike Klein
Sunday June 26, 2011 5:50 am
Solutions? Any top-division European coach who can speak English would be an improvement over thee rigid and inept Bradley. We don't need Guus Hiddink...we just need some guts and creativity.
Sunday June 26, 2011 4:13 am
If the US wants to prove anything in Gold Cups they should play a Gold Cup outside of their home... its time that Canada gets their tournament!
Coach Francisco
Sunday June 26, 2011 2:55 am
I despaired for Mexico when it was down 2-nil. But I despaired even more when the final whistle went 4-2 in favor of Mexico. I am of Mexican birth but have lived for over 60 years in the US, having worked dilingently in youth, scholastic, collegiate, amateur, and professional soccer and with WC USA 1994. I have held hope that the US would someday, but today for a fleeting moment I thought that the US would finally get to that point, only to see end up up on the losing end. This article is spot on. Mr. Bradley and his crew must be let go as he is more of a detriment to the growth of our sport in this country, and sadly, Mr. Gulati, whom I've known for some time now, must also be let go - or just be encouraged to resign - as he can't be fired as he was "elected" to office and his term of office has at least two years to run. It is a sad state of affairs, and todays Mr. Gulati's sad-faced demonstration on the award podium said it all. So, Sunil, do the right thing, tho I need not say what that is. I think you know only too well.
Sunday June 26, 2011 2:15 am
Agree agree he has no vision he sees soccer and he needs to see futbol
The us players have skill but bobs lack of visison prevents them from expressing them self. The Mexican coach enhances the talent of his players so they can contribute to the team...as a team Mexico is a few steps ahead of USA
Sunday June 26, 2011 2:14 am
These "Bob's gotta go!" posts that offer no solution (essentially "I don't know who would do a better job but the guy we have has to be fired") need to be fleshed out. Pure emotion. Wait a day. Sleep on it.
Mark M
Sunday June 26, 2011 2:11 am
I personally have wanted Bob gone since the disgraceful team he sent to the Copa America tournament. While I always want the US to win, I was upset when the USMNT did well at the Confederations Cup. I knew we would continue to be hampered by Mr. Bradley. Please post any news of him being fired IMMEDIATELY. Thanks.
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