U.S. national soccer team head coach Bob Bradley attends a training session with the team at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey August 9, 2010. The U.S. national soccer team plays an international friendly match against Brazil at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 10.  REUTERS/Mike Segar  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

The clock on Bob Bradley's tenure as US National Team manager might have struck midnight following tonight's friendly loss to Brazil in New Jersey. If this was Bob's last game in charge, it seems somewhat fitting that it took place in the Garden State, Bradley's home state and the place where he coached college soccer at Princeton for fifteen years.

Bradley's tenure as coach has been marked by several high-water marks: the 2007 Gold Cup title, the 2009 Confederations Cup finals appearance, winning the Hexagonal to be top CONCACAF World Cup qualifier, and to a certain extent, the 2010 World Cup. Ultimately though, US Soccer's decision comes down to whether or not Bradley can advance the program through another cycle; eight years is a long time for one man to hold sway over player choice and playing style, and it might be in the best interests of federation to move on despite Bradley's track record.

A fairly abject performance against a young Brazil side certainly won't do him any favors as Sunil Gulati mulls over what to do next.

If this is the end for the Bradley era, it seems appropriate to review the past four years under a man who wasn't supposed to get the job in the first place, but pushed the US team forward while managing to squeeze out a share of noteworthy moments.

Keep in mind that the dawn of the Bradley regime came after the utterly woeful 2006 World Cup; eight years of Arena didn't end well, and Bradley was hardly a favorite for the job when Arena left the post after the disaster in Germany.


December 8, 2006

Bradley is named interim head coach after negotiations between Jürgen Klinsmann and US Soccer fizzle out. As the clear second choice, Bradley looks hamstrung from the start.

For more, read Grant Wahl's column on Bradley's hiring and Klinsmann's snub from 2006.

January 20, 2007

Bradley's first game in charge is a 3-1 win over Denmark at the Home Depot Center.  Bornstein, Cooper, and Donovan score, and much of the post-match commentary on the game notes Bradley's interim status and a timeline of May for a permanent coach to be named.

February 7, 2007

Dos a Cero in Glendale, Arizona. Nothing like a win over Mexico to build a case for permanent employment.

May 16, 2007

Bradley's interim tag is removed.

June 2007

CHICAGO - JUNE 24:  Benny Feilhaber #5 (L) and DaMarcus Beasley #7 of the USA celebrate after Feihaber scored a goal to give USA a 2-1 lead against Mexico during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final match at Soldier Field on June 24, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The goal proved to be the game-winner as USA held on to win 2-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Bradley leads the US to a Gold Cup title with a 2-0 win over Mexico in the final. This is the win that qualifies the Americans for the Confederations Cup two years later and solidifies Bradley as the "right choice" for US Soccer.

June - July 2007

The Gold Cup triumph is followed up by a disappointing Copa America appearance. Bradley elects to take an experimental squad, filled with prospects; the Americans bow out quickly, and the fallout is still being felt. CONMEBOL has yet to invite the US back to the tournament.


2008 was marked by an expected skate through CONCACAF qualifying's second and third round, as well as high-profile friendlies against Mexico (2-2 in Houston), England (0-1 at Wembley), Argentina (0-0 at Giants Stadium) and Spain (0-1 in Santander, Spain); during the period, Bradley stretched the American talent pool by calling in a large number of previously uncapped and unused players.

February 11, 2009

Another 2-0 win over Mexico, this time to start the final round of World Cup qualifying in Columbus. With a busy 2009 on the horizon and qualifying points crucial, Bradley held serve at home against his biggest rival.

March 28, 2009

Down 2-0 in El Salvador, Bradley pulls the string on substitutions, leading to Jozy Altidore's goal after being in the match for just five minutes. Frankie Hejduk scores the equalizer in the 88th. Despite being outplayed for much of the match, the Americans salvage a point in a hostile Central American environment.

June 3rd, 2009

After a lead up that included high expectations for the first US win in Costa Rica, Bradley tinkers with the lineup to disastrous effect. The American lose 3-1 and effectively roll over for the Ticos from the outset. The DaMarcus Beasley-at-left-back experiment blows up in Bradley's face, and a poor performance by Jose Francisco Torres sets the young midfielder back as a potential regular contributor.

June 18th, 2009

After a 3-1 loss at the hands of Italy (made more painful when Giuseppe Rossi scores for the Azzurri) and a 3-0 drubbing by Brazil, "Fire Bradley" campaigns erupt in some American quarters.

June 21, 2009

Michael Bradley of USA scores his side's second goal. USA defeated Egypt 3-0 during the FIFA Confederations Cup at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg, South Africa on June 21, 2009. Photo via Newscom

The US beats a weakened Egypt side 3-0, and combined with Brazil's 3-0 win over Italy, sneaks into the knockout rounds of the Confederations Cup. Davies, Bradley, and Dempsey score for the Americans.

June 24, 2009

Bradley's landmark victory, 2-0 over Spain. The Americans frustrate the Spanish with a smart game plan and committed defending while getting goals from Jozy Altidore (muscling off Joan Capdevila) and Clint Dempsey (jumping on a mental lapse by Sergio Ramos) to give the reigning European champions their first loss in 35 matches. The win puts the US in their first ever men's FIFA tournament final.

June 28, 2009

Lucio of Brazil celebrates scoring the winning goal. Brazil defeated USA 3-2 in the FIFA Confederations Cup Final at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 28, 2009. Photo via Newscom

Brazil 3, US 2, in the Confederations Cup final. The Americans lead 2-0 at halftime, one of the goals coming on a textbook counter involving Charlie Davies and goalscorer Landon Donovan. The US fold in the face of withering Brazilian pressure in the second half, with the winning goal coming from a Lucio header in the 84th minute. Despite the loss, the game draws large television ratings and attention to US Soccer.

July 2009

Bradley leads the US to the Gold Cup final again, but the Americans are embarrassed 5-0 at Giants Stadium by Mexico. The squad is almost entirely second-choice due to the recent Confed Cup trip; even if the reasoning is sound, the humiliation suffered in losing so badly to a less-than-full-strength Mexico at home brings Bradley some heat.

August 12, 2009

A Charlie Davies goal gives the Americans their first ever lead at Estadio Azteca, but Mexico comes back to win; with the terrible US history in Mexico City, Bradley's part in the loss is mostly glossed over. As always though, there's room to criticize.

October 10, 2009

Bradley gambles on Conor Casey and wins. The Colorado striker scores twice and Donovan adds to free kick goal to give the US a victory on the road in politically-charged Honduras. Bradley's job of qualifying the US for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is accomplished with the victory.

October 14, 2009

Playing only hours after a tragic car accident severely injured Charlie Davies, the Americans win the Hexagonal with a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica at RFK Stadium. It takes a Jonathan Bornstein header at the death to bring the Americans level. The US also suffered a major injury blow when Oguchi Onyewu ruptures a tendon in his knee during the match.

May 2010

With his the squad unsettled due to injury, Bradley takes 30 players in camp before settling on a World Cup roster of 23. Included are surprise selections Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez, in the team thanks to their rampant scoring form and limited striker options. Veteran Brian Ching is left off the squad, a controversial decision that likely means Ching will not appear in a World Cup match despite accumulating 45 caps. Also not included is the recovering Charlie Davies, deemed unfit to play by his French club.

June 2010 - The World Cup

Slotted in Group C with England, Algeria, and Slovenia, the Americans are strong favorites to progress to the Round of 16. 

  •  June 12th 
  • June 12, 2010 - Rustenburg, North West, South Africa - 12 JUN 2010: Clint Dempsey (USA) looks on as his goal strike is bobbled by goalie Robert Green (ENG) for the equalizing goal of the match.  The England National Team played the United States National Team played to a 1-1 tie at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match.
    •  The US opens with England; Steven Gerrard puts the Americans in an early hole, something that would become a theme for Bradley's side in South Africa, before Clint Dempsey's innocuous shot skips by English keeper Robert Green to level the score.  The match ends in a draw, a positive result from an American standpoint.
    •  June 18th

      • Early errors cost the Americans in their second group match with Slovenia; down 2-0 at halftime, it takes an individual effort by Landon Donovan and a sliding goal by Michael Bradley to salvage the draw. The US is denied the win when referee Koman Coulibaly whistles a phantom foul on a free kick put into the net by Maurice Edu.  With two points from two matches, the American need to beat Algeria in their group finale to assure themselves of advancing. Bradley's choices, including starting Robbie Findley and Jose Torres only to pull them off at halftime, are roundly questioned in light of the early deficit.
      •  June 23rd

        • The Americans get chance after chance but can't score against a battling Algeria. With their World Cup on the line, Tim Howard throws a 60 yard pass to Landon Donovan, who initiates a sequence that leads to the midfielder scoring the winning goal on a rebound.  Around the US, new and old fans of the Yanks celebrate the last gasp salvation; amid the celebration, Bradley is questioned again for the need to substitute at half, this time inserting Benny Feilhaber for Herculez Gomez.  The US advance to the Round of 16 to face Ghana.
      •  June 26th
      • June 26, 2010 - 06092585 date 26 06 2010 Copyright imago BPI USA license Restriction A Use by Isi Photos Jay Demerit of USA is unable to Stop The Shot of Asamoah Gyan of Ghana 1 2 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men World Cup National team international match Rustenburg Eighth finals Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd Football.
        • Another early goal conceded; Ricardo Clark is caught in possession in the midfield, and the Kevin Prince Boateng capitalizes.  Clark picks up a yellow card only two minutes later and is replaced by Maurice Edu in the 31st minute.  Bradley's reliance on an inconsistent Clark has been a point of criticism for the better part of a year, and is only strengthened by the gaff.  The US equalizes through a Donovan penalty kick only to concede in the 3rd minute of extra time. when the US back line fails to deal with a long ball to striker Asamoah Gyan.  The game ends, and so does the Americans' World Cup.

      Which brings us up to the present day. Though Bradley's contract with US Soccer doesn't run out until December, it seems unlikely Gulati will wait to decide on Bob's fate.

      End of an era, or the start of another four years for Bob Bradley?

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