MLS enough for qualifying mettle?
Contrary to popular belief, there's a very good reason for U.S. coach
The pace and intensity of MLS, sad to say, doesn't come close to what the Americans have faced in San Salvador and San José, Costa Rica, and certainly will be nothing like a visit to the Estadio Azteca in mid-August, whether or not the match is played day or night. One can assume the Americans will qualify for the 2010 World Cup regardless by winning its home games, but as a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Honduras showed, those aren't gimmees, either.
In its two road matches so far, the U.S. has extracted exactly one point, and needed an incredible two-goal rally in the final minutes to get out of El Salvador with that singleton, which is better than what Mexico accomplished last weekend. One of the heroes of that 2-2 game,
Might it be that
The glaring gap between MLS and the Hexagonal is demonstrated by
Take the much-maligned
On the other hand, is too much expected of
The time for experimentation is not in the Hexagonal, as proved by a rather bold decision by Bradley to play a three-man midfield in Costa Rica. That might have worked with more quickness in midfield and a better start than conceding two goals in the first 13 minutes, but on the other hand, losses in seven straight games in Costa Rica, on grass and artificial turf, indicate the decision to try something different probably wasn't going to make all that much difference.
Maybe Bradley really believes that the best time to give
Since he took over, Bradley has looked at more than 60 players and experimented quite a bit, in friendlies and the earlier CONCACAF World Cup qualifying rounds. What a player has done at other levels, for the U-20 and Olympic teams -- as well as MLS in some cases -- doesn't translate directly to the national team, especially during the Hexagonal, where players sweat blood for their country and those who can't step up are ruthlessly exposed, particularly on the road.