Michael Bradley has taken plenty of heat for performances that are below his known level of play.
The former Roma midfielder has struggled somewhat, proving solid for most matches before making key mistakes.
Usually a fitness machine, Bradley also showed signs of becoming fatigued in the Brazil heat and humidity, leading to late-game breakdowns. Many have pointed to his loss of possession seconds before Portugal equalized as the headlining moment of Bradley’s struggles.
Even Bradley himself called his first match against Ghana “not my sharpest night.”
However, US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has brushed off this criticism, declaring he’s been happy with the performance of his engine in midfield.
“I am very, very satisfied with Michael in this tournament so far. I know that he has another gear in him. If he already plays on this level right now, we came through this group because of his influence on the field then if he steps it up another notch, it gives us with other players as well, this gives us a big hope now getting ready for the knockout stage, because we know that players have not reached their highest spot yet. He is one of them, but overall I am very, very happy with him. “
Bradley, while certainly not playing up to the standard of play we’ve become accustomed to, certainly hasn’t been a disappointment by any means.
For more on Klinsmann’s thoughts of Bradley’s play so far, visit Soccerly.com’s coverage of the story.