U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley spoke with reporters at PPL Park yesterday, ahead of the game against Colombia tonight. Kerith Gabriel of the Daily News sent along some quotes that didn't make it into his story in today's paper.
On the national team's return to Philadelphia:
We are excited to be back in Philadelphia. As most of you know, we played our [World Cup] send-off game here, and that was a great event. Now we are back with Philadelphia, one of the cities that is a part of the [2018 or 2022 World Cup] bid. And for the national team, our first opportunity to play in PPL Park [comes] in the shadows of that. In all those ways, we are excited to be here.
Colombia is always a talented team, [and] athletic. They have some young players moving in on their team, and so I think on that end it makes for a good matchup. We expect a very good game.
On bringing FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea into the U.S. national team pool, and whether Shea has any chance of making the field tonight:
I think there is a chance that he’ll get an opportunity to play tomorrow. He is a young player that we are tracking. Brek came into camp with us during the second leg [of 2010 World Cup qualifying] against Barbados. He had gone on a trip to France with Peter Nowak’s [Under-23 national] team and had played well there, so we just brought him in to indoctrinate him a little bit. Now, he’s along and we’ll see if we can’t get him an opportunity to get on the field.
On whether he has changed the formation he uses with the national team:
In actuality, we get characterized often times with having always played a 4-4-2, and that’s not true. If you look carefully at games and get a sense of different roles ... We try to take advantage of some flexibility, have a sense of the qualities of our different players, and I think going forward it’s important we continue to look for subtle ways we can make changes.
On the 2-2 draw with Poland this past Saturday, and whether he thought the U.S. played soft:
I don’t think that’s the case. I think in the game, we had some very good stretches, we started off very well. The game in Soldier Field on that night was very tight, and it made for a very fast game. Early in the game when we were able to find seams and play balls quickly, we had an edge.
After we scored, I just think there was a moment where [Poland] pushed harder, which is normal after a goal. Towards the end of the first half, we were able to create a couple of good chances. In the second half, we had the lead, and honestly I think we weren’t giving much away.
And after the game, I think the only thing I had mentioned was that still when we got the ball, we needed to keep it moving, and then in the right moments finish the game. And in both cases, we lost goals and we had turnovers in bad parts of the field ... When it’s a 2-1 game and we were trying to find a way to get the third goal, we gave them a big opportunity, and they took it.