Friday, December 12, 2008

Glut in central midfield

US national team coach Bob Bradley was a guest on Glenn Davis' radio show earlier this week and provides some of the highlights from the appearance.

One of the more interesting things that caught my attention was Bradley's thoughts on playing several central midfielders with similar qualities, such as Michael Bradley, Pablo Mastroeni and Ricardo Clark.

"I get annoyed with everybody that goes into that line of thinking,. We have two-way players. Players that make it hard when the other team has the ball. Players that do a good job of finding some of our more attacking players and I find it hard to understand why that becomes such a topic all the time."

While I have wondered the same thing as many others - Bradley and Clark paired together, for instance, doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense - it actually has worked well. The elder Bradley does have a point; when the other team has the ball, having ball-winners like Bradley and Clark in there helps clog up the middle.

As far as creativity goes, however, that is an area where having both those guys in there is lacking. I would rather have one of those players playing behind, say Landon Donovan or Freddy Adu in the midfield. That way you get more bit from the middle of the field. Still, I don't see that happening often. I think we'll see more Bradley-Clark or Bradley-Mastroeni pairings in central midfield in '09. It's not the worst thing, those guys have talent and experience, but I don't know that the US is going to generate as much offense as it could that way.

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