U.S. heads to World Cup with players struggling for game time and coach uncertain if he’ll be back next season
NEW YORK — There were high hopes for the U.S. men’s national team that a second World Cup would bring the end of that seemingly endless summer of waiting — for the U.S. players to have some meaningful minutes with the U.S. national team. But those hopes are quickly fading into uncertainty for the U.S. program.
And this week, the U.S. team’s coach said he will not be on the sideline when the U.S. takes on Honduras on Tuesday in the group stage of the tournament.
U.S. head football coach Bob Bradley, who led the team to a 1-1-1 record in its 1-0 loss to France on the final day of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup hosted by Brazil, and whose team is looking to complete its qualification as the top-ranked nation in CONCACAF in September, told a group of reporters on Friday that he did not know when he would return to lead the U.S. team.
“I don’t know when I’m going to be back,” Bradley said in a lengthy, impassioned interview with NBC Sports Radio that was posted online. “I don’t know where I’m going to be next year or the year after that. I really don’t. I can’t put a timeline on it.”
He added: “I’ve taken a lot of hits over these two years and I’ve taken a lot of breaks.” He added: “I’ll take it one day at a time and put my head down and continue to work.”
U.S. national team’s 2014 qualifying campaign ends with 1-1-1 draw vs. France
The U.S. team is in its third World Cup qualification cycle and is in the midst of its worst campaign since the program started in 1986, coming off its first 3-0-1 qualifying record following its disappointing loss to Mexico in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
The team has struggled to find its identity under the current head coach, Bob Bradley, and an off-season injury list of a dozen players is likely to put more pressure on Bradley to provide the necessary leadership and game plan to be competitive on the road to Brazil in 2014.
“The one thing I’ve learned is that in order to be successful, you have to have a high level of coaching,” U