USMNT Coach-Watch Returns

It's a subtle thing, but the passage of time somehow faded the word "interim" from Bob Bradley's official title with the U.S. Men's National Team (USMNT, or as I like it, the Yanquis). But it's still very much there and a pair of items - one a vote of confidence from Paul Gardner in the New York Sun and the other a bout of queasiness from Brucio at du Nord - serve to remind all of us that the word "senior national team coach" could soon share interim's fate.

It's strange the way we got here, so strange it makes one wonder what the powers-that-be expected from Bradley. Barring a kiss-n-tell memoir (which assumes a publisher saw bankability from a soccer appartchik biography), we'll never know whether United States Soccer Federation (USSF) expected a flop or not; but it's also reasonable to assume Bradley's success put not only the USSF, but also any potential successor in a bit of a bind. If said successor fucks up, what would that say about the ten-month wait, never mind their basic competence?

A second piece to this comes with the reported short-list, which seems to feature Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz and current Olympique Lyonnais (geez...let's just go with Lyon) boss Gerard Houllier. Brucio does a fair whack on Queiroz in his column, so I'll concoct a case against Houllier here. There's no denying his success with Lyon: if memory serves, they won the 2005/06 title and, sure enough, they're taking the current season walking away. For all that, I don't think Houllier's a good fit - or put more precisely, I don't know that his talents translate outside of France. I do know that the Liverpool sides he coached played some of the dullest crap I've ever endured - which raises concerns about wooing/keeping American fans - and I can't see him doing much better with Yanks given the skill/technical knowledge of American plaers; in fact, I see a similarly disciplined approach from a Houllier-led U.S. team.

Bradley may not be an improvement in this last category, but he's got the team playing for him at the very least; I don't know that will apply to Houllier. And who knows what would happen then. But, as Brucio points out, it's all too possible that we'll find out.



Anonymous said...

Point of order, Jeff. Lyon didn't just win this year and last year - they've won the French title six years in a row, so yeah, I'd say Houllier can coach.

The Manly Ferry said...

Thanks for the correction, anonymous. I thought as much, but, not wanting to spend too much time fact-checking and, after making the mistake of using Wikipedia as my source, I decided to stay within the facts I had at hand rather than risk being factually incorrect. Clearly, that missed something significant - e.g. the rather longer run of success you note. So, again, nice catch and correction duly noted.

Still, for all his success at Lyon, Houllier didn't make Liverpool much to get excited about; I remain concerned about how his abilities wil translate to the American scene.

Anonymous said...

at the very least Bradley has the MNT playing to win instead of playing to avoid losing.

Landon is the best example of this and how Bradley did it is a credit
to him.

I would guess that Arena is still confounded by it all. Maybe now he understands that the entire issue was not on the players after all.