Michael Bradley is a 26-year-old midfielder from New Jersey who currently plays for Toronto FC in the MLS and the USMNT.
He is the best player for the USMNT going into the 2014 World Cup Brazil. He has talent and understands the game from many perspectives.
Before playing in the MLS, Bradley played for Aston Villa in the English Premier League and for Roma, an Italian soccer club. He came back to the MLS to try to strengthen the American soccer culture, like many players recently have.
Bradley first started training with the USMNT in 2006, but was not on the roster for the 2006 World Cup. He made his first appearance with the USMNT in 2007 and was a starter for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He was not quite a star player yet because he had to live up to Landon Donovan’s skills in the midfield. He became a dominate midfielder and one of the faces of the USMNT in 2010 when he scored two goals against Mexico in a qualification game for the 2010 World Cup.
He showcased his talent and American soccer fans expect that level of play from him every time he steps onto the field.
So what makes Bradley so valuable to the USMNT?
Bradley started out as a defensive player for the USMNT, but Jurgen Klinsmann finally moved him to an attacking midfielder and it has paid off. He plays better at the tip of the midfield diamond because he can move the ball and create chances in the attacking third. He is in a playmaking role and better on the ball facing goal rather than having his back towards goal. Being an attacking midfielder allows the whole team to exploit Bradley’s passing skills and ability to make runs into open spaces.
As an attacking midfielder, Bradley gives the USMNT the best chance at creating and scoring multiple opportunities in the upcoming World Cup. Bradley’s talents as an attacking midfielder were recently displayed in the friendly against Mexico. He scored the first goal for the USMNT with a back post run and a header goal on a corner. Later in the first half, Bradley deflected a cross and earned an assist on the USMNT second goal. Bradley had all this success in the midfield without star player Donovan. Without Donovan, the USMNT played better because of the Bradley and Kyle Beckerman tandem. Beckerman allows Bradley to showcase his talents because he does not have to worry about defending. Bradley knows Beckerman is behind him, which allows Bradley to take chances going forward and getting the USMNT into the attacking third.
Bradley is the rising star of the USMNT. He is the key to the USMNT success in the 2014 World Cup. He creates every scoring chance the USMNT have and is not afraid to take on players going forward. If Donovan continues to struggle, Bradley will be the face of the midfield for the USMNT. Bradley is the best overall player the USMNT have as of right now.