I went to lunch yesterday and, by the time I had finished with my blackened fish sandwich, the domestic soccer world was standing on its head.
I have a strong suspicion that we’ll know who the new U.S. coach is by midday. So, I’ll save the bulk of any comments / commentary until then. But I suppose I should be on the record about Bob Bradley. Or, more precisely, I’ll just just reiterate my long-standing position on the just-dismissed U.S. coach.
I always thought Bradley was a solid manager who drew results sufficiently from player pool that, in world soccer standards, is only marginally talented.
I never felt strongly one way or the other that he absolutely needed to be retained, or that he positively needed to be fired. I thought Sunil Gulati might have made this move a year ago – national team managers rarely last two complete World Cup cycles, after all – but I presume that U.S. Soccer’s president didn’t have an appropriate candidate in the pipeline. As a result, Gulati defaulted to the status quo.
I did say, and have long said, that the choice to grab someone like Jurgen Klinsmann probably shouldn’t be passed up. So, if Klinsmann was available and willing to work within U.S. Soccer’s parameters, then it was worth the shot. Klinsmann is uniquely positioned, someone with abundant world knowledge, but also someone with a good handle on why things work and don’t work here. As a bonus, he’s a charismatic figure, which counts for something. I always said that identifying and securing the ideal candidate was more important that making a change for change sakes.
So, we’ll see later this afternoon – or shortly after that, if the announcement doesn’t arrive today – whether it’s Klinsmann or a wild card. Either way, the Aug. 10 match against Mexico just got a whole lot more interesting.