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.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.