June 24, 2009
BRADLEY ON THE GAME
'We have to play our own football'
Bloemfontein, South Africa -- U.S. national coach Bob Bradley indicated Tuesday that the U.S. will do it its own way against Spain.
He said that the Americans don't plan to play defensively against the top-ranked soccer team in the world in the FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals here on Wednesday night. Spain (3-0-0) brings in a 35-game unbeaten streak, which ties Brazil's world record, and a 15-game winning streak.
“We have to play our own football," Bradley said. "When you play a team like that, and they’re good with the ball, then when we have it, we’re challenged to also be good with the ball. We have to have the ability to put their defenders under pressure. We have to have the ability to, in the right moments, be aggressive and create chances.
"It takes a good game plan, but more than that, it takes complete efforts by the players. We know that these games really take all the qualities, and that’s what happens when you play against the best.”
The two American central midfielders -- Michael Bradley and most likely Ricardo Clark -- will have their hands filled with Spain's talented midfield, which is led by Xavi.
“The way Spain plays, in its simplest form, is that as they move the ball around they always rotate and there are always triangles," Bob Bradley said. "So if you’re playing in central midfield, there are people in front of you, people behind you, people to your left and people to your right.
"So your ability to stay together requires the midfield as a unit being alert, moving together, reacting very quickly. In some cases you make a decision that you’re close enough to close down and put a player under pressure, in other moments their numbers are great and you need to hold the zone a bit and not get frustrated that they have the ball. It’s a job that involves certain tactical understanding and thinking and also, in the right moments, pure heart to close it down and make it hard on somebody.”