Thoughts on USA-Brazil

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | View Comments
SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 OCTAVOS DE FINAL USA VS GHANA Action photo of coach Bob Bradley of USA, during game of the 2010 World Cup held at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa./Foto de accion de Bob Bradley entrenador de Estados Unidos, durante juego de la Copa del Mundo 2010 celebrado en el Royal Bafokeng Stadium de Rustenburg, Sudafrica. 26 June 2010 MEXSPORT/JORGE REYES Photo via Newscom

Two weeks from today, the US National Team returns to the field. Brazil comes to the States with a young and talented squad under new head coach Mano Menezes, who will look to put his mark on the team while giving the next generation of Brazilian players a run out at Giants Stadium. The Americans will look what exactly?

At this juncture, it seems certain that Bob Bradley will coach the team. The roster announcement is expected early next week, and with only one day of training ahead of the match, big changes are probably not in the offing. Most of the usual suspects will be there.

Let's consider this match a respite then, before the long four-year cycle begins anew and we start to worry about which young players are getting their shot, which older players will continue to contribute moving forward, and if the team will even have the same man in charge. Even if Bradley is on the sideline in New Jersey, we still don't know if he'll be staying on for another run. Gulati and US Soccer have remained tight-lipped, nothing has leaked about any meetings, and rumors about the Fed's thinking are non-existent.

Despite the short timeline, I hope to see Bradley call in a few players who didn't go to South Africa but have appeared with the senior team in the past. Alejandro Bedoya comes to mind. So does Charlie Davies. I'm honestly not sure if the timing is appropriate for Davies, but he's participating in competitive preseason matches, and appears to be fully recovered. Sochaux open their Ligue 1 season the Saturday before the Brazil match against newly promoted Arles Avignon. Maybe Brian Ching appears in light of his service, though that might seem patronizing after Ching was left off the World Cup roster.

Over 40,000 tickets have been sold for the Brazil game, and though I expect many of those tickets were purchased because of Brazil and not the US, it's not as if there's no buzz for the match. Except, I don't feel any buzz personally, and I don't get the sense anyone really cares all that much. Most of that is because it's a friendly and a massive come down after the World Cup, but some of it is because it the game represents almost no forward momentum for the program. We don't really expect to learn anything new.

Lame duck coach? Maybe. Outgoing players, or some who likely won't feature much in the next cycle? Probably. Nevertheless, it should be entertaining.

The match will take on added meaning if we learn something about Bradley's fate before then, if he shocks us all and calls in a experimental team, or if calls up Jermaine Jones. Remember Jones? Apparently he's finally healthy (no, really) and training with Schalke. At some point in the near future he figures to make his US debut. It's just a few months too late for most fans.

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