June 29, 2010

Bob Bradley's Future Uncertain as US Coach: United States Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati is noncommital about whether Coach Bob Bradley will be asked to coach the squad for the next four years. "It was all in front of us," Gulati said of the Ghana match. "I was sure we would win."

posted by rcade to soccer at 02:12 PM - 7 comments

If I were Gulati, I probably wouldn't fire Bradley or request his resignation. He took the US to where they should have been: the second round with a chance to advance. He made some mistakes along the way, but what coach doesn't.

That said, I definitely don't want him to be the coach for the next four years. The last time we tried that, it didn't work out so well (see 2006). The team needs some new ideas to continue moving forward..

posted by trox at 03:16 PM on June 29, 2010

If you need one in tune with the American mentality, Klinsmann might be a good fit. How about Guus Hiddink? To be fair, it takes more than just a coach. Unfortunately, the resources are limited regarding players with ball retention and finishing abilities.

posted by trueblueroo at 04:01 PM on June 29, 2010

The USSF has the advantage of being able to think in terms of four-year plans: while there's value to winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup next year, and a place in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Rio, it's a fairly gentle competitive schedule. European coaches have to start thinking about Euro 2012 qualification (which begins in September) and South American coaches have to prepare for the Copa America. There's also room for a smooth transition before World Cup qualifying begins again, allowing for an assessment of how best to integrate MLS talent with those playing abroad.

Hiddinck is off to Turkey, so he's not likely to be available until 2012, and by then he might not look like a good fit.

posted by etagloh at 08:17 PM on June 29, 2010

I keep thinking back to how stubbornly Bradley responded to questions about the team's pre-tournament training in the US.

He had them working out in a warm weather environment at sea level in preparation for matches at elevation in the Southern Hemispheric winter.

There are only three venues at sea level in the tournament. The US didn't play a match at any of them.

The rest of the parks are at least 1300 meters above sea level. The presumed elevation at which the effects of altitude really start to affect athletic performance is 1500 meters.

Which, ironically, is the exact elevation of the park at Rustenburg, where they played Ghana.

The effects of altitude are felt very quickly, and acclimation takes at least two weeks, and possibly several weeks in some cases.

A sports physiologist may be able to explain the team's slow starts in their matches in purely clinical terms - oxygen diffusion and saturation levels, etc.

Nowhere in the reportage I read did I see that Bradley took this critical factor into full account.

posted by beaverboard at 08:01 AM on June 30, 2010

Then again, Capello had the England team training at altitude and one of the commenters at the Guardian piped up with a comment about how training at altitude comes with costs, namely that there's a dip in performance after a couple of weeks after acclimation.

posted by yerfatma at 10:23 AM on June 30, 2010

I thought the US looked very fit and I heard commentators mention that as well. They didn\'t seem to me to be particularly winded. I\'d say the opposite is true that their ability to come back from getting behind was partially because they were fit.

posted by bperk at 12:03 PM on June 30, 2010

Everybody points to Klinsmann, and I'm not saying Bradley should stay, but I'm not convinced he would be able to improve on Bradley. With Germany in 2006 he:

a) had the home advantage b) had stellar, experienced players c) only finished 3rd after living in LA and 'commuting' to Germany for training camps, matches and occasional scouting

Bayern Munich released him in less than a season as boss.

What other coaching experience does Klinsmann have that shows his suitability?

posted by billsaysthis at 02:42 PM on June 30, 2010

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