Obviously, it’s foolish to draw too many conclusions from one preseason match – the very first one, no less.
But since there is so much interest in all things Michael Bradley now that he’s in place for Toronto FC, let’s start answering a question so many U.S. national team fans have: How, exactly, will TFC manager Ryan Nelsen use his new captain?
Everyone has seemed to assume that Bradley would deploy as a defensive midfielder around BMO Field. But that’s hardly his best spot; the U.S. international is better as a linker than a pure destroyer. In a lot of ways, Jurgen Klinsmann’s 4-3-3 is the perfect set-up for Bradley, who plays a little higher than the true holding midfielder, but does slide into a dual-holding role as the other teams moves closer to U.S. goal.
It’s demanding, two-way work, but Bradley always seems to have the legs and the will for it.
Back to TFC:
In Toronto’s preseason opener (a 1-0 win over D.C. United), Bradley did play as the more deep-lying man, alongside Jonathan Osorio. At least, that’s the way it looked; as you can see from the highlights, nothing was crystal clear on this foggy Florida night.
As the primary distribution arm, Bradley was already in good form, spraying passes out wide, looking for a linking Osorio or aiming balls into playmaker Dwayne De Rosario.
Bradley played just 45 minutes as Nelsen changed out most of his team at halftime. Jeremy Hall came in for the TFC captain.