Bonneville Phoenix Network
 KTAR News
 Arizona Sports
Arizona Sports Now On 98.7 FM
Latest News

Weekdays at 6am on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports

Doug & Wolf

Michael Bradley and US Soccer: Good people choke, too

United States' Michael Bradley (4) reacts after his shot on an open goal was blocked by Portugal's Ricardo Costa (13) during the group G World Cup soccer match between the USA and Portugal at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Sunday, June 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Wonderful people can choke.

Great business people can do great things to put their company into a position to succeed only to be the reason the company fails.

No one should attack Michael Bradley's character as a man. He's given all that he can give to build US soccer. Among people that love the game, Bradley's talent and heart has helped to improve US soccer on the world stage. Michael Bradley is a wonderful person.

Michael Bradley choked.

The US soccer movement can't have it both ways. Either American soccer is the cute little engine that could and we give Michael Bradley a pat on the head while handing him a participation trophy or raised expectations were not met.

If you want the soccer specific stadiums, more MLS coverage on SportsCenter and for soccer to replace hockey in the "Big 4" -- or expand American psyche to include five major sports -- the players must be subject to judgement by the same standards of American excellence.

Imagine LeBron James with the ball at mid-court of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Heat are up by 2 with the shot clock turned off. All LeBron has to do is hold the ball over his head and Miami wins. Then Tony Parker strips the ball from James and scores the tying layup to set up overtime. What would the world say?

Michael Bradley was atrocious in Game 1 of the 2014 World Cup. Consistently, his touches ended with a Ghanian possession. In Game 2 he played better, but three times zero is the same as 18 times zero. His improvement from atrocious to below average wasn't good enough for someone from whom a lot is expected.

Missing the empty net goal was difficult enough to swallow. Sure, it happens. It's about the same analogy as Steve Nash with a blocked shot. It happens, but it never should. It's a play that a team leader must make.

Unfortunately, that wasn't Bradley's only disaster. His turnover at midfield at the end of the game was horrific. That ball has to be sent to the corner flag. It's as if Sidney Crosby had the puck in his own end with four seconds left with a one goal lead but he doesn't want to ice the puck. It is a decision you hope a junior varsity soccer player will make. By the time a player reaches varsity soccer, it's inexcusable for a midfielder to hold onto the ball in a double-team at that point in the game.

The die-hard, knowledgeable soccer fan struggles to come to grips with the fact Michael Bradley choked. He's a good guy. He's a guy that has helped to bring the U.S. to a respected place internationally. He also must play exponentially better if the U.S. is to advance.

If it wasn't for Michael Bradley, the USMNT may not be participating in World Cup. Due to Michael Bradley, the USMNT may not be advancing, either.

About the Author

School: Ohio University...Go Bobcats!

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: 1st Doug & Wolf Show: 1/2/07

Favorite sports memory: Goldschmidt's triple icing the 2011 NL West title because it was a daddy-daughter day at the ballpark and Bellbrook vs. Dunbar '89 when I hit my one varsity HR.

Favorite all-time athlete: as a kid, an adult, Grant Hill

Favorite sports movies: Field of Dreams

Best sports road trip: My Saturday...Braves vs. Reds Sunday Night...Cooperstown Monday through Thursday morning...Jennifer sings the Anthem Thursday night at Fenway... Sox/White Sox triple play and cycle in the same game for only the second time in baseball history...Saturday night Clemens strikes out 9 through 7 but the bullpen blows it and the crowd is furious.

Best game I've ever seen live: Suns/Spurs Game 5 2007 Western Semis (the game w/o Amare & Boris). Hated the outcome but loved the experience.


comments powered by Disqus
Latest News