5 Predictions [2.24.10, vs. El Salvador]

After last month’s embarrassingly bad attempt at 5 Predictions, I’ve decided to try to save some face and give it another go.

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US take on El Salvador tonight

Just a reminder for those of you sick of curling and figure skating, the US take on El Salvador tonight at 7 p.m. ET in Tampa, Florida.  Tune in to ESPN Classic to support your national team.  (Side note: It appears our U-17 men are also playing today.  They’re going up against Mexico at 4:15, also in Tampa, Florida.)  Hopefully our team will show a little better this time than they did against Honduras.  And hopefully we’ll see at least a few players step up and solidify their World Cup roster spots.  Expect a Bradley’s Babes later shorty after this game. 

Just in case you have a little time to burn before tonight’s friendly, here’s a little light reading from Soccer By Ives.  It’s an interesting piece full of Bob Bradley quotes.  Here are a couple highlights:

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Michael Bradley to serve 4-game suspension

Grant Wahl is reporting on his blog that FIFA have ruled that Michael Bradley is to serve a four-game suspension for his post-game confrontation of Jorge Larrionda.  Despite the seemingly harsh penalty, it turns out that it doesn’t mean much.  Bradley will be allowed to serve his suspension during the Gold Cup–a competition for which he wasn’t even called up.  This means Bradley will be available for our trip to the Azteca.

Say what you will about the red card (I would agree that it was a horrible, horrible decision), but we here at P2010 have a very hard time feeling sorry for this kid.  He has some serious problems with aggression.  Not only does he seemingly average a yellow card every other game (I honestly don’t remember the last cup competition in which he didn’t have to serve a one-game suspension),  but he seems to be carrying that aggression off the field these days.  During hte Confederations Cup alone, he went on an angry rant about the American soccer media and picked a fight (albeit verbal) with a referee!  Someone needs to put this kid in anger management.  He’s certainly a great player with tons of potential.  I’m just worried he might throw it all away by murdering someone.

Roster Changes: Rolfe and Carroll in

US Soccer announced this morning that Bob Bradley has called in Chris Rolfe and Brian Carroll to replace two players who suffered injuries in their Sunday matches, Robbie Rogers (sore back) and Pablo Mastoeni (knee).  It’s a shame–I was looking forward to seeing Rogers play.  And I was about as excited to see Mastroeni play as I am to see Hejduk…

The US will be taking on Trinidad & Tobago at 8 PM ET Wednesday night.  You can see the game on ESPN or Galavision.

Strategy analysis: USA @ Barbados (6.22.08)

Happy to see Bob Bradley breaking out the fabled 4-6-0 formation against Barbados. And they said it couldn’t be done. Good thing we didn’t hire one of them foreign coaches. Their lack of understanding of the American player/system would never have allowed them to think this far outside the box and field no strikers…and don’t try to tell me that either Adu or Beasely are capable of playing up top.

One more thing–Now, I’m probably a bigger Ed Lewis fan than most people out there, but can we just end this charade right now? This man should not be starting any matches for us at this point, especially meaningless ones where we could be fielding…I dunno…somebody? anybody? Lee Nguyen? Help me out here. By most estimates, Lewis will be approximately 56 years old by the time the next world cup kicks off. If he were good, I would understand keeping him around. But he’s merely serviceable at this point. Can’t we get someone younger in there?

Manifesto

In 1998, Nike and the United States Soccer Federation created Project 2010, a blueprint to “ensure that the US Men’s National Team become a legitimate threat to win the World Cup by 2010.” While the project’s ambition was commendable, any self-respecting U.S. soccer fan knew this goal was a bit far fetched to say the least.

It’s now the beginning of the 2010 World Cup qualifying cycle and we here at Project 2010: The Blog can’t help but wonder what effect this nearly-forgotten blueprint has had on today’s United States Men’s National Team.  The team is in transitions as one generation passes the baton to the next.  Will the young players, the generation that was to benefit from Project 2010, really offer a step forward for the program?

By looking at the U.S. player pool and the team’s trip through qualification, this blog intends to examine the successes and the shortcomings of the initiative…but mainly to prove that we can pick a better squad than Bob Bradley.