United States v Antigua & Barbuda - World Cup Qualifier

Would you rather have Michael Bradley or Zlatan Ibrahimovic?


The premise of this post is, we happily admit, ridiculous. But bear with us. We’ve been traveling for almost 24 straight hours — Russia is a long way from New York City — and we are fried in the brain department. Plus, we are very much interested to know what you think.

So, here’s the question: If you were American head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, would you rather have Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Michael Bradley? Ignore for a second the fact that they play remarkably different positions and other logistical issues. Think about it.

We’ll wait.

Okay, tired of waiting.

The easy, obvious answer, of course, is Zlatan. He scores goals in bunches, and does absurd, ridiculous things that basically threaten to break the Internet.

Ibra, whose club teams win constantly even if his not-very-good national team struggles, is — in a word — awesome. I don’t care who you are: If you are a coach, you’d want him on your squad.

But, but, but… Michael Bradley — sorry, that would be PST Man of the Match Michael Bradley — is the most important player on the United States national team. By far.

It’s not just the goals he scores, of which the volley against Russia on Wednesday night was the latest in a series of right place, right time combined with impressive skill. It’s the qualities he brings to the team: the composure on the ball, the vision to switch fields, the general awareness. The kid has become a man and a maestro.

Honestly, we doubt it’s the popular choice, but if we’re Jurgen Klinsmann and all other things being equal, we’re taking Bradley instead of the brilliant Swede. Call us naive, perhaps, but prove why we’re wrong. Enough about our thoughts, hopes, and dreams. What are yours?

UPDATE: A couple commenters make good points, but I want to note the purpose of this exercise is to discusse the players in the context of the USMNT. In a random game, I’m taking Ibra every time. For the match against Russia, I’m not so sure.

Juan Carlos Osorio to become new Mexico boss

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Mexico looks to have found a new manager in Juan Carlos Osorio.

Osorio, who had stints managing in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, was most recently coaching in Brazil with Sao Paulo.

However, the Brazilian club released a statement today that Osorio had decided to step down from his position in order to take the Mexico job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Following Miguel Herrera’s firing in July, Ricardo Ferretti was named interim manager of El Tri, and will coach the side in Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against the United States. However, Ferretti has stated he will not stay with Mexico past that match, and will return to Liga MX, where he serves as manager of Tigres UANL.

Osorio had recently been linked with the Mexico job, but said he would take his time in making a decision.

His only other exposure to Mexican football came during a short stint in Liga MX managing Puebla. He lasted just seven matches before resigning and returning to manage in his native Colombia.

[ RELATED: Donovan says Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico ]

He was in line to take charge of the Honduras national team in 2011, but he was unable to get out of the contract with the Colombian team he was managing at the time.

There has been no official confirmation of the hiring from the Mexican Federation.

Benzema and Benitez in a war of words at Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Rafael Benitez (R) of Real Madrid CF gives instructions to his player Karim Benzema (L) during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 26, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Karim Benzema has scored six goals in his eight appearances for Real Madrid this season, and is currently the top scorer in La Liga.

Despite being in great form, Benzema has continuously been substituted by manager Rafa Benitez, which has upset the French striker.

Benzema opened the scoring for Real in the Madrid derby over the weekend, but was taken off in the 77th minute. Atletico would go on to score minutes later as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

[ RELATED: Top moments from USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Speaking after the game, Benzema said he was “fed up” with being taken off, but will continue to work to help his team.

Substitutions are what the coach decides, I’m just there to help my teammates.

It’s true I’m fed up of being taken off. I’m calm and will continue to work so I’m not always subtituted. He took me off to get a result, for defensive reasons.

It’s true that the electronic board always shows the No.9. Ask Benitez why that is.

When told about Benzema’s comments, Benitez said he made the change for tactical reasons, as Real was in the lead and he replaced the striker with a more defensive-minded player in midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

I needed to give the team some balance at that point in the game. I’m a huge fan of Benzema. If I were Karim, I’d also be angry at being taken off when I thought I was playing well and was on a great run of form.

What I’d do if I were Karim is score more goals so that next time I don’t have to be taken off and can say, ‘Hey, here I am.’

Benitez’s response comes off as a backhanded compliment, asking Benzema to “score more goals,” despite the player leading La Liga in scoring. In fact, Benzema has averaged a goal every 84 minutes this season, an incredible strike rate.

[ RELATED: Chelsea release statement on Jose Mourinho’s future ]

Over the summer, Benzema was linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but he constantly denied the rumors and said he never thought about leaving the club, which he called the best in the world. Just a few matches into the new season, there may be some trouble in paradise.