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.
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.