FOX Soccer Exclusive
MLSPR: Time to support Bradley
Bradley staying in charge of U.S.
The news that Bob Bradley’s contract as U..S national team coach has been extended to 2014 was greeted with a mixed response from American fans.
While I do agree that the U.S. Soccer Federation should have cast a wider net in search of a quality coach to move the national team forward, the fact is that the job is not an enticing one to many of the people mentioned as possible successors to Bradley.
Most of the top European coaches want to remain in club soccer, meaning the only foreign candidates are ones that are no longer seen as viable options to European clubs. That means that the U.S. Soccer Federation had to look at the best U.S. based options for the job, and when you look around MLS, it is hard to make a case for any of the coaches over Bob Bradley.
Dominic Kinnear is a name that has been linked with the job in the past, but he hasn’t done enough with Houston over the last few years to warrant the top job in U.S. soccer.
The team has moved forward under Bradley. A Confederations Cup final appearance followed by a relatively successful World Cup campaign in which the U.S. topped a group that included England is proof that Bradley has what it takes to coach at the top level of international soccer.
Whether you like it or not, Bob Bradley will lead the national team into the next World Cup and it is now up to us all as U.S. soccer fans to get behind him and the team as they move forward.
Galaxy fringe players need to step up
The Galaxy’s current run of poor form has coincided with a dip from their star duo of Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, but it would be wrong to lay the blame for L.A.'s woes at the feet of the two U.S. internationals.
After their exertions at the World Cup it was obvious that both Buddle and Donovan’s high level of play would drop at some stage and that is exactly what we are seeing now. The problem for Bruce Arena is their poor form has highlighted the lack of attacking quality in the rest of his squad with players like Jovan Kirovski, Mike Magee, Juninho and Chris Birchall not weighing in with enough goals when Buddle and Donovan fail to hit the target.
The return of David Beckham will give this team a huge boost and his added quality in midfield should help the team create more goal-scoring opportunities.
Landon Donovan has been at the heart of everything the Galaxy have done going forward this season but K.C. showed last week that L.A. is very beatable when you nullify his attacking threat.
Becks' return will be a huge help to Landon, as it should open up more space for him in the middle of the park and also allow him to get further forward and get on the score-sheet himself on a more regular basis.
Becks and Landon can only do so much as the Galaxy still need their fringe players to contribute more if they are to hold on to top spot in the Western Conference.
MLS: June 23-25
|Thursday, June 23|
|Saturday, June 25|
|San Jose||0-0||LA Galaxy||Recap|
|Real Salt Lake||3-1||Toronto||Recap|
|Sunday, June 26|
|MLS Scores | Table | Fixtures|
The Rapids need to build on win over Houston
The Rapids produced one of their best performances of the season as they dismantled the Houston Dynamo to move up to fifth place in the Western Conference and keep their playoff hopes on track.
The only problem for head coach Gary Smith and Colorado fans is that performances like this have been few and far between this season as the team has struggled to shed the inconsistencies that plagued them under Fernando Clavijo.
When Conor Casey and Omar Cummings play like they did in the win over Houston, the Rapids can compete with anyone in the league, but that hasn’t happened often enough and it is up to Gary Smith to find a way to get this pair to be more consistent for Colorado to be successful.
Casey has had some injury issues, but even when he has been in the team, his form has been up and down. The Rapids cannot compete unless he plays at a high level every game because they don’t have enough quality in their squad to cope when he is off form.
Gary Smith was brought in to move the Rapids forward and the only way to do that is to make sure this team makes it to the postseason. To do that Smith has to keep his star strikers on top form, but if the season so far is anything to go by, that is easier said than done.
Hartman proving he is not done just yet
When the Kansas City Wizards traded Kevin Hartman to FC Dallas in the offseason, many people believed we had seen the last of Hartman as a starter in MLS.
Dallas already had Dario Sala in their squad and the Argentinean started in their season opener against Houston, but since then Hartman has fought his way into the first team and played as well as he ever has in MLS.
Hartman had tremendous success in his time at the Galaxy and remained one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the league during his time at K.C., but his play this season will have given him just as much satisfaction as any of the awards and honors he has won throughout his career.
Going to Dallas and fighting for the number one spot after being an automatic starter for so long was going to be a difficult test but it is one that Hartman embraced and has come through with flying colors. Dallas has become one of the top sides in MLS and Hartman has played a huge part in that with a superb run of form.
Hartman was this week deservedly named MLS player of the month and the award is further proof that he is one of the best signings Schellas Hyndman has made since he arrived in Big D.
On to the MLS Power Rankings ...
1. Real Salt Lake: BMO Field is one of the most difficult places to play in MLS so Jason Kreis will see his side’s draw with Toronto as a point gained rather than two points dropped.
2. Columbus Crew: The Crew dropped two points at home to Dallas but are still sitting comfortably at the top of the east and look set to claim yet another conference crown.
3. FC Dallas: Dallas maintained its amazing unbeaten run and showed its championship credentials as it battled its way to a point in Columbus last weekend.
4. New York Red Bulls: Hans Bakke said that he doesn’t believe his team is good enough to win MLS Cup, but I have to disagree with him after watching his side pick up another impressive victory over San Jose.
5. Seattle Sounders: The Sounders proved that they kept a hold of the right Fredy as Montero scored twice to lead them to victory over their former DP Ljungberg and his new side Chicago.
6. Los Angeles Galaxy: The Galaxy has looked very ordinary over the last few weeks and Landon Donovan looks like his World Cup exertions are finally catching up with him.
7. Colorado Rapids: The Rapids were superb against Houston and are a match for anyone in the league when Omar Cummings and Conor Casey are on this kind of form.
8. Kansas City Wizards: K.C. produced its best performance of the season in its win at Los Angeles, with Kei Kamara particularly impressive on the right side of midfield.
9. San Jose Earthquakes: The Earthquakes failed to build upon their win against L.A. as they were thoroughly outplayed in their loss at the Red Bulls last weekend.
10. Chicago Fire: The Fire’s bold midseason roster moves have yet to pay off and they must start winning games soon to keep in the playoff hunt.
11. Chivas USA: Chivas fans will be grateful of the three points they picked up against D.C.m but struggling to a win over the league’s worst team will hardly fill them with optimism for the rest of the campaign.
12. Toronto FC: Toronto showed its battling qualities against RSL but a draw at home at this stage of the season is not going to help its postseason chances.
13. Philadelphia Union: Jack McInerney is one of the most talented youngsters in MLS and he can play a big part in the growth of this team over the next few seasons.
14. Houston Dynamo: The Dynamo has now replaced Colorado as the most inconsistent team in MLS.
15. New England Revolution: The Revs continued their horrid run of form but can feel aggrieved with a Cory Gibbs red card that helped turn the game in the Union’s favor last weekend.
16. D.C. United: D.C.'s climb up the rankings was halted by its loss at Chivas and United is now back where it rightfully belongs -- at the bottom of the MLS pile.
Keith Costigan is a writer for FoxSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer.