Not for the faint of heart: Toronto let Michael Bradley play with this gash on his head


When Michael Bradley returned to the game at BMO Field late Saturday, nobody could have guessed the wound would have looked like this. It was mid-way through the second half, and the cut that had forced him to the sidelines looked like it had been contained. Over the last 20 minutes in Toronto, Bradley’s head was a non-issue as the Reds saw out their second win of the season.

Now that we’ve seen the 13 staples in the U.S. international’s scalp, the injury doesn’t seem like such a non-issue. Post-game, after Bradley displayed a cut that appeared to be in excess of two inches long, you couldn’t help but wonder why was one of Toronto’s most valuable assets allowed to continue against D.C. United.

The injury occurred well after Bradley had helped set up the game’s only goal – a 60th minute score from Jermain Defoe. In a head-to-head collision between the midfielder and United veteran Danny Arnaud, Bradley temporarily led the game, returning minutes later with his head wrapped in a bandage. Arnaud, with his face bleeding, was removed from the game in favor of Kyle Porter, his team tailing 1-0.

After the match, Toronto-based reporters Kurt Larson (left) and Cathal Kelly (right) grabbed these shots:

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With Toronto up one — with just over 20 minutes left in the game — why was Bradley put back on? Is there no procedure in place where a trainer can go to a coach and say “that cut looks really bad”? Or is there no mechanism in place where the staff simply assesses the risks against the rewards and decides it’s not worth it?

Sure, Bradley probably felt he could continue, and given everything we’ve heard from BMO Field, there was no reason to think there was any conscious-related reason to keep him out. But this is why you don’t leave the decision to the player, especially when they can’t actually see the wound. That’s is a pretty big cut, and so early in the season, with a goal-starved D.C. United trying to comeback, why was Bradley risked?

You want to give the Toronto staff the benefit of the doubt, but one wayward elbow or another collision of heads and that cut could have gotten really ugly. Well, uglier.

Klinsmann blames Costa Rica loss on Mexico hangover

Jurgen Klinsmann

The United States lost their third straight match on home soil tonight, the first such losing streak since 1997.

Following an extra-time loss to Mexico on Saturday, the U.S. failed to compete in a friendly against Costa Rica, putting in another poor performance as the side continues to struggle.

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In his post match press conference, Jurgen Klinsmann said his team was still shaking off the loss against Mexico, and couldn’t recover in time for tonight’s game.

Yes, the United States’ match against Mexico went 120 minutes. Yes, it was a very tough game both physically and mentally. However, it’s time for Klinsmann to stop making excuses.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from the USMNT’s loss to Costa Rica ]

Of the starting XI against Costa Rica, only four started against Mexico. Of the six substitutes Klinsmann brought in today, only Bobby Wood played in the Mexico match, and for less than 25 minutes.

The problem isn’t that the U.S. lost tonight; it’s that they didn’t even show up. What Klinsmann needed to do was walk into his press conference and say, “We didn’t come to play tonight. We stunk. That can’t happen and we need to be better. It starts with me.”

[ PLAYER RATINGS: Howard’s return highlights poor performances from USMNT ]

Top teams don’t dwell on past results. Top teams rebound quickly and back up poor performances with strong performances. When a top team would have bounced back, the United States fell flat.

Clearly the argument is, well, the United States isn’t a top team. But isn’t that what Klinsmann was brought in to do? To help develop the USMNT into a top team? The least they could do is act like one, and that starts with the manager.

College Soccer Update: Tragedy strikes USC Upstate with horrible car accident

USC Upstate
USC Upstate
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No interviews today. No star players and programs. Just mourning.

USC Upstate lost four students earlier this week, two of them men’s soccer players, in an early morning car accident this weekend. A fifth was injured when the car they were driving in ran off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire.

James Campbell and Mills Sproul are the soccer players who’ve left the pitch for the final time.

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USC Upstate’s athletic department held a candelight vigil on Monday, and honored both players with online memorials.

From Campbell’s, entitled “James Campbell Was an Intense Player Whose Competitiveness Made Those Around Him Play Harder”:

While Kyle Juell and James attended different high schools, they played club soccer together. “James was intense and passionate on the field,” Juell said. “He was the kind of aggressive player you wanted as a teammate. He was fun and warm and full of life and he cared so much about his teammates.”

From Sproul’s, entitled “Mills Sproul Put the Needs of Others Before His Own and Was Accepting of All”:

Mills’ teammate Deon Rose said that Mills was like the brother he never had.

“The first time I met him, I knew that he was special,” Rose said. “Not because he asked me if we had beaches in Canada or how Canadians survived without Chick-fil-A, but because he had an unconditional love for everyone and everything.”

Our thoughts are with the USC Upstate team, and entire community. Rest in peace.

Three stars of the week

1. University of California Santa Barbara — The Gauchos leapt from “receiving votes” to No. 14 in the nation. The Gauchos have won five-straight, all in-state, by a combined score of 13-3.

2. Joey Piatczyc, West Virginia — The midfielder leads the nation in assists with 12, one coming in Tuesday’s upset of Penn State, a match in which he also scored his first of the year. The Mountaineers shocked PSU with a 3-0 home win in Morgantown.

3. Francis Atuahene and Colin McAtee, Michigan — The Ghanaian freshman is a lightning bolt, and keeps producing goals along with the redshirt senior McAtee, who hails from San Diego. The Wolverines beat Duquesne 3-0 on Tuesday.

Other notes

— Creighton dropped two of its 24 first place votes, one each to North Carolina and Stanford, but remains the No.1 men’s team in the nation.

— Wake Forest hasn’t allowed a goal in three matches, against quality competition in NC State, South Carolina and Boston College. There were stretches in the 2-0 win over South Carolina where they looked unbeatable.

— Speaking of the Demon Deacons, they’ll face dangerous UNC on Saturday in what will be a cracker.

— Also No. 1:Florida State (Women’s D-1), Gannon (Women’s D-2), Trinity of Texas (Women’s D-3), Pfeiffer (Men’s D-2), Franklin & Marshall (Men’s D-3).