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One World Cup stat regarding Michael Bradley to blow some US minds

Jun 26, 2014, 4:18 PM EST

Philipp Lahm ,Michael Bradley AP

Michael Bradley has been a bit of a whipping boy the past week, an unexpected development for a midfielder considered to be among, if not the most complete player on the United States roster.

It started with some sloppy touches in the opener, continued with a poor trap and failure to take a card on Portugal’s equalizer and kept going through the final group game against Germany.

Is it fair? Is it simply more backlash from the Toronto FC transfer?

Well, what if I told you that Bradley is topping a positive statistical ranking of every single player at World Cup going into the afternoon games? And that among the Top Five players on that list are German defender Philipp Lahm and Australian bulldog Mile Jedinak?

 From Opta’s Devin Pleuler:

What does it mean? Well, the cynic would say it means that Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t sub Bradley and that he was constantly chasing after the other team and errors (After all, there are two eliminated players on the list as well).

But perhaps it just means that we’ve become accustomed to watching Bradley be far-and-away the States’ best player, and that his subpar performances are vexing us more than usual. What would you rate Michael Bradley after three matches?

  1. 4thquartermagic - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    How can that stat be “surprising” when you can clearly see he looks tired out there?

  2. Professor Fate - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    ” Well, the cynic would say it means that Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t sub Bradley and that he was constantly chasing after the other team and errors.”

    You say cynic, I say realist.

    At this point the US should be breathing a sigh of relief to get out of group. If the level of their current play continues they’ll be out soon enough. I suppose it does say something positive about the elevated level of expectations for this team in that I’m disappointed in their performance so far even though they made the knockout round.

  3. handsomerob86 - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    So he runs alot, Huh, not suprising. If only we had a midfielder sub who could help the ol’ winded Bradley out. Maybe someone who was a clutch performer in previous world cups and is still good…

    • 4thquartermagic - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      Nah he’s too old. He would just look tired out there.

      Oh wait…..

    • larryang - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      Maurice Edu?

      Though with this new style of play, I’m surprised Dax McCarty wasn’t given a look.

  4. Scott Rudy - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Many people could run that far in 4.5 hours ;). Michael just needs to have some better first touches if the US wants to create opportunities. We all know he’s better than that.

  5. mfmaxpower - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    No one is doubting Bradley’s effort and I think most who follow the USMNT regularly are aware that Bradley’s workrate is second to none.

    The problem is that you need your stars to shine when it matters most, and while Dempsey, Jones, and Howard have all made the most of their opportunities to make big, game changing plays, Bradley has done the complete opposite.

    I’m a huge Michael Bradley fan and I still think he’s one of our most important players, but I can’t recall him having a worse run of matches in a US shirt than he’s had at the WC.

  6. tridecagon - Jun 26, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    That’s 23 miles over the course of 3 games. Is the dude running himself into the ground? Is that the Bradley we need?

  7. braxtonrob - Jun 26, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    I’m not sure that’s truly a “positive” stat.

    At times he looks very unsure of what to do with the ball.
    I think he’s making things much harder on himself than necessary. Stop making ‘clever’ and other high risk long passes, and make the OBVIOUS open space pass, get your teammates involved.

    Instead of trying so hard to be so unpredictable to your opponent, be predictable for your TEAMMATES.

    THAT is his problem right now. It’s mental more than physical.

  8. fagiolip - Jun 26, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    He’s running more because he loses the ball and then has to chase to make up for the inability to hold the ball…a vicious cycle. Bradley looks tired, is playing tired. Somehow the the conditions are not favorable for his type of metabolism…he hasn’t looked good yet.

  9. jdfsquared - Jun 26, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Watching Bradley, I can see he’s still got that vision working. He’s lofting balls and springing midfield runners, including a brilliant ball to Jermaine Jones over the top today. If one or two of his passes fall, we’re calling him the General again and singing his praises. Plus, his style with this team has been predicated on having Jozy as a big option up top.

    I agree he could show a bit more composure up the middle. But like a striker, all he needs is for one of his arrows to hit its target and he’ll be back. I have faith.

    Let’s hope that happens early on Tuesday.

  10. uk2ndbestinthestate - Jun 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I agree 100% mfxpower

  11. edlivan - Jun 26, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    “Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”

    ― John Wooden

  12. talgrath - Jun 26, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    I think Diskerud should come in as a sub if Bradley is still looking tired/mistake prone at the next game, Diskerud has shown up big when the USMNT needs him and he’s a very good forward midfielder (albeit, much poorer on defense than Bradley).

  13. zeke2517 - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    So… how in the hell do they determine this with any sort of accuracy?

  14. ibelievethatwewillbacon - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Bradley’s confidence isn’t there because Jozy Altidore is hurt. MB knows how much JKs system relies on Altidore to keep possession and create opportunities to score against quality opponents.

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