BOCANEGRA VOUCHES FOR BRADLEY RETURN
If United States team captain Carlos Bocanegra had any say in whether or not Bob Bradley should stay on as national team head coach, the defender states that he would love to see Bradley return for another cycle.
Bocanegra credits Bradley with the team's run to the knockout stages of the World Cup and feels that it was his coach's planning prior to each match that played an integral part in their success on the field in South Africa.
"He did really well with us," Bocanegra told YA following Saturday's match. "I don't know what his plans are but he did great with this team especially getting the most out of each player. He had us organized and always prepared which is a tribute to him and his staff. So whether or not he stays here or wants to take another job or try his luck in Europe, I don't know what he's going to do but he did well to push this national team in the right direction."
Bocanegra was involved in the game-winning goal as his club teammate and Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan was able to fight through the American defense and send a shot past goalkeeper Tim Howard in the third minute of extra time to give the African team a quarterfinal date with Uruguay.
While the former Fulham man and company kept Gyan in check for a large part of the match, Bocanegra concedes that all it took was one instance where the speedy Ghanaian striker was able to slip through the US defense and fire home the game-deciding goal.
"I couldn't grab him since I already had a yellow card," he said of the play. "I don't know how close we were in the box to fouling him. He had inside track to the ball and he's quite pacy and once he gets by it's difficult for me to get on the other side of him."
In reflecting on the difference between the failed campaign in Germany four years ago compared with this recently concluded run, the native California points to the unity he and his teammates felt shared all throughout the tournament.
"I think the last time around, the tournament as a whole was not good." said Bocanegra of the US performance at the 2006 World Cup. "We had a great performance against Italy, but we were inconsistent. This time, we were consistent but unfortunately that meant going down a goal and pushing every game. But I'm proud of the guys. to be a part of this team and how everyone pushed and fought for each other where there was no one individual. Everyone put team first.We can leave holding our heads high knowing we left everything on the field."
The Rennes defender added that they were also acutely aware of the groundswell of support they were receiving by all the fans back home and how coming up short in reaching the quarterfinals has left the American squad both frustrated and exhausted.
"I know after the Algeria game, our emotions were high and America's emotions were high." he concluded. "For us, it's a little frustrating because we were right there to push on to the quarterfinals and as a group, we felt like [Ghana] is somebody we can beat, but it just didn't go for us today. We tried to push but I don't know if we had anything left since we'd been pushing the whole tournament."