With the MLS All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror and the regular season roughly 60% done, USA 10 Kit has decided to take a look at who we think stand the best chance of lifting the Phillip Anschutz trophy in November. Bear in mind that, with over half the league qualifying for the playoffs and the past four finals involving eight different sides, one may be better off pulling a name out of a hat than actually thoughtfully dissecting contenders.
Nevertheless, the ever-intrepid 10 Kit writers offer their picks for who looks like the odds-on bet to claim the 2011 honors.
I’m throwing my weight behind Seattle. Despite their recent whipping by a scary Manchester United side, Seattle is unbeaten in their last nine league matches and has started to really fire on all cylinders. They have proven resilient (see recent wins over Portland and Colorado), have a goalie that can be trusted (talk to New York about how important this is), and when Freddy Montero is on, they can be downright dominant. History has shown that in the MLS postseason, all it takes is an in-form team and perhaps a little luck. With 10 teams making the postseason, I’m by no means advocating for monetary wagers, but and in form Seattle side with the CenturyLink Field faithful behind them, I like their chances.
Read on to see the rest of the picks…
The cries from the US fan base to hire Jürgen Klinsmann look to finally be heard with Bob Bradley losing his job as manager. Bradley developed a love-hate relationship with the fans, who felt like he was second fiddle to the German. The timing of Bradley firing seems strange, and the former manager looked like he finally got in touch with his creative side during the Gold Cup.
The former USMNT manager changed the US formation to a 4-2-3-1, which played to the US’ strength in the midfield. It looked like Bradley had something with the new formation that allowed creative players like Freddy Adu to have more freedom.
Then there was Bradley’s overall record of 43-25-12 making Bradley the second most winning coach in USMNT history. According to a tweet by Peter Hirdt, the USMNT has four more wins under Bradley and Bruce Arena combined (114 wins) than all the coaches from 1916-1998. This just shows how much soccer has grown the past 15 years.
Alas, Bradley’s time is up and there were some memorable moments and some other Bob and everyone else would like to forget. (more…)
ANTHONY MANNINO- With the high point there obviously has to be some low points, and Bradley had his fair share of moments he would like to forget.
Three most disappointing moments:
Always wearing sweats Not switching to a 4-2-3-1 sooner
Just think, Robbie Finley would not have seen the field in the World Cup if Bradley formation was a 4-2-3-1.
Mr. Sweats always struggled to get technically gifted players in the right positions in his 4-4-2 system. Players like Freddy Adu, Francisco Torres, and even Stuart Holden struggled to find playing time, because of Bradley’s decision to start two defensive midfielders.
It looked like Bradley had finally found a more creative system towards the end of the Gold Cup with the 4-2-3-1. Players like Clint Dempsey, Alejandro Bedoya, and Freddy Adu finally had the freedom to be successful. And old Mr. Sweats still got to play his two defensive mids. Also, playing one striker eliminated the depth problems the US has at that position. It seemed like Bradley had acreative system for the future, but we will now have to wait and see what Jürgen Klinsmann decides to do.
Mr. Bradley might just be wishing that he had implemented this formation sooner. (more…)
Juergen Klinsmann’s career highlights as a coach — reviving a stale German system and pool, reigniting national pride in a country which shied away from patriotism post World War II, systematizing a national playing identity through the youth levels of the German national team and Bundesliga — suggest that his hiring as the U.S. national team boss came for reasons that stretch beyond coaching acumen. As Alexi Lalas said on SportsCenter, the U.S. needed a “rock star.”
Still, since he’ll initially be diving into the same shallow player pool as Bob Bradley had to, it bears looking at what kind of tactical system Klinsmann might opt for with the U.S. team.
The first order of business is to determine a national style of play. With Germany, he took time before beginning to draw up an identity with assistant Joachim Loew:
We eventually decided to go down an attack-minded route, passing the ball on the ground from the back to the front line as quickly as possible using dynamic football.
UPDATE: Thanks to all who participated. The winners have been named on Twitter!
That’s right, we at 10Kit have sold out on your behalf. So along with the USA10Kit official imported beer, Modelo Especial, and one of our favorite US national team stars, we’re going to give 1oKit readers the chance to win one of three autographed Clint Dempsey jerseys. (more…)
The coverage from Bob Bradley’s surprise firing continues. Many say it was the right move, while others look ahead to a U.S. Soccer future without Bob Bradley, and the little downside that comes with replacing him.
But now it’s on to naming his successor. U.S. Soccer is scheduled to make an announcement today, but everyone has already thrown in their predictions. Klinsmann is the favorite, while other candidates including Marcello Lippi, Marcelo Bielsa and Jason Kreis.
Jackson Goncalves scored in the 70th minute to give FC Dallas a 1-0 win over Alianza FC of El Salvador in the play-in round of the CONCACAF Champions League. Dallas will host the second leg of the tie on Aug. 3.
Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has undergone ankle surgery, and will likely miss the next ten weeks, throwing Arsene Wenger’s midfield situation for the start of the season into turmoil. (more…)
Bob Bradley is out as coach of the United States men’s national team. The move comes this afternoon, two weeks ahead of a friendly against Mexico and a few weeks after the Gold Cup final. Curious timing, it seems, unless Sunil Gulati and the USSF have a candidate all lined up, Brent notes. There’s ‘further announcement’ set for tomorrow.
Plenty of International club play going on today. Stoke opened their Europa League campaign with a 1-0 victory against Hadjuk Split at the Britannia Stadium. Fulham didn’t do quite as well against Croat opposition as their English counterparts, but were able to keep a clean sheet in a 0-0 away draw against RNK Split. All the scores from today’s matchday can be found over at the UEFA site.
BRENT LATHAM – I’m going to miss Bob Bradley, and not only because there are so many great pictures to choose from every time we do a post about him.
I’m also hoping this story blows over quickly, though, because I don’t like seeing Americans use the work “sacked.” Seriously, in the U.S., we fire people.
I think there’s a good chance that by tomorrow, people won’t be taking about Bradley’s firing but rather someone else’s hiring. Andres Cantor says it’s Lippi. A lot of people think it’s Klinsman. And Brian Ching is just happy.
So who replaces Bradley? Hard to say for sure. But I’d bet they’ve got someone lined up and signed to be announced Friday. (more…)
A shocking move by Sunil Gulati and the United States Soccer Federation. Curious timing. Something tells me there’s more to this story. The USSF says there will be more information coming on Friday.
He finishes with a lifetime record of 43-25-12 record.
Who will succeed him? (They better have someone lined up.)
The release from US Soccer:
BOB BRADLEY’s TENURE AS HEAD COACH OF U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ENDS
CHICAGO (July 28, 2011) — U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced today that Bob Bradley has been relieved of his duties as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said Gulati. “During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
This announcement comes after a meeting at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., between Gulati, Bradley and U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn.
Bradley was named the head coach of the U.S. MNT in January of 2007 and during his five-year tenure compiled a 43-25-12 record. He led the team to a number of accomplishments, including winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, finishing second in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, winning their World Cup qualifying group and advancing to the Round of 16 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
U.S. Soccer will have a further announcement on Friday.
BRENT LATHAM -Luis Gil wasn’t always sure about his choice to join MLS instead of accepting a contract offer from Arsenal. In an interview last week, he told me that he had plenty of doubts over the last year, while seeing “virtually no game action” for Real Salt Lake, and that he wasn’t sure his career was on the right track.
I know it’s an unpopular view, but the reality is that Luis Gil’s future was up in the air for the last year. Players who aren’t playing much are subject to losing the love, and the upward trajectory. There are plenty of examples. Look no further than RSL, where Alex Nimo’s promising career was ruined by inactivity at just the age Gil is at now.
But Gil has gotten it all together in the blink of an eye. An injury crisis at RSL gave him the opening he needed, and he’s forced his way into Jason Kreis’ plans, as well as those of whoever coaches this cycle’s U-20 team.
In fact, it’s been Gil’s participation over the last year with the U.S. U-18 team that has really kept him in the loop. He’s having an impressive tournament at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, despite jet lag after playing for RSL Saturday night.
“It helps me become more of a leader and keeps me ahead of the game compared to academy or college players, knowing that I’m coming from a professional environment,” said Gil of his work at the U-18 level. “We’re just taking it one camp at a time with the U-18s. I know my role on the team. I think we’re getting better and better with every camp that goes on. Our goal is always to win the tournament, that’s the goal everyone should have.”