USA shuts the Bradley chapter

Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley
Bob Bradley
The USA have fired Bob Bradley as their manager.

The New Jersey-born coach was relieved of his duties today after five years at the helm.

Last month's loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final proved his undoing, as the US had led 2-0 in that game before capitulating embarrassingly 4-2 and the defeat also meant they missed out on the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. In the group stage the USA had also lost a game to Panama, 67th in the FIFA World Rankings.

America's unexpected last-eight finish at the 2002 World Cup has set a perhaps unrealistic benchmark for future US elevens and compared to that unforgettable campaign in Korea, the national team has stagnated since.

Having taken over from Bruce Arena following the 2006 World Cup finals, Bradley led the US into the 2010 competition in South Africa, where his team beat Algeria with a dramatic last-gasp strike and drew with England and Slovenia to win the group, before they lost 2-1 to Ghana in the second round.

Under Bradley the US also won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007, which allowed his team its finest hour at the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa. There the Americans beat European Champions Spain 2-0 in the semi-final and led Brazil by the same score in the final, before going down 3-2 to a Kaka-inspired second half comeback.

Last summer Bradley was linked with Aston Villa and Fulham. He previously coached Chicago Fire, Chivas USA and the Metrostars in Major League Soccer. The 53 year-old leaves the US ranked 30th in the world, one place higher than when he took over in 2006. Their highest position under Bradley was 12th in August 2009 following the Confederations Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann, who has run a soccer consultancy in California for some years now and was offered the job back in 2006, appears to be the favourite once more, although 38 year-old Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis is an outside bet.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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