Michael Bradley earned his 100th cap for the U.S. men's national team on Tuesday as the USA opened its 2015 Gold Cup campaign against Honduras.
Bradley is the 16th player to reach 100 caps in U.S. men's national team history. He is the fourth-youngest American male in history to hit the milestone behind Landon Donovan, all-time caps leader Cobi Jones and Marcelo Balboa.
“I think it’s a very, very special moment for every player that makes it to 100 caps for his country,” USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann said on Monday, according to MLSSoccer.com. “It means a lot to the player, and you want to kind of take it all in.”
Bradley, who will captain the U.S. during the Gold Cup, debuted for the United States on May 26, 2006, in a World Cup send-off series match against Venezuela. Only 18, he came on as a substitute for Ben Olsen late in the match. But even before he first suited up for the U.S., Bradley had his eyes set on soccer greatness: As SI's Brian Straus recounted in his profile of the midfielder last year, Bradley declined waffle fries at Chick-fil-A when he was 8 years old because "that's not what soccer players eat."
Now 27, Bradley has played in two World Cups and remains a critical component of the team as the 2018 World Cup cycle begins. Entering Tuesday, Bradley has scored 13 career goals in 8,337 minutes played for the United States.
A few of Bradley's highlights from his U.S. men's national team career are below.
2010 World Cup equalizer against Slovenia
Down 2-0 at halftime against Slovenia, the United States' hopes at the 2010 World Cup appeared to be in jeopardy. But the U.S. turned the group stage match around in the second half. Landon Donovan scored in the 48th minute, and Michael Bradley equalized for the United States in the 82nd minute to give the Yanks a much-needed point.
A golazo against Scotland
In a 2012 friendly against Scotland, Bradley reminded us that he's not just a setup man. He's quite capable of hitting the back of the net, as his spectacular half volley demonstrated.
2014 World Cup capped by assist to Julian Green
Bradley's play at the 2014 World Cup was a source of debate during the tournament, but he set up one of the team's most memorable moments of the World Cup. With the U.S. down 2-0 in extra time against Belgium in the round of 16, Bradley lofted a pass to 18-year-old Julian Green as he made a run in the box. Green volleyed Bradley's pass past Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to cut the deficit in half, setting up a frantic final few minutes of extra time as the U.S. tried to equalize. Belgium ultimately held off the U.S. rally, winning the game 2-1.
Even if Michael Bradley wasn't trying to score directly from a corner, his Olimpico against Panama earlier this year was nothing short of awesome.
50-yard solo run against Netherlands
Last month, the U.S. earned shocking friendly victories away against the Netherlands and Germany. The U.S. rallied from a 3-1 second-half deficit against the Netherlands, with the United States obtaining its decisive fourth goal in the 90th minute. Bradley made a 50-yard solo run through several Dutch defenders leading up to Bobby Wood's winning goal.
On Tuesday night prior to the match, retired USMNT legend and former teammate Landon Donovan congratulated Bradley on Facebook.
- Stanley Kay