Direct from San Pedro Sula
Bradley: 'We Can See the World Cup on the Horizon.'
The United States midfielder is ready for the match against Honduras and he's helping his newer teammates get there as well. Jurgen Klinsmann thinks the game could be a breakout for a few players.
BY Noah Davis PostedSAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras—Michael Bradley has been here before. On October 10, 2009, the midfielder played all 90 minutes in a 3-2 victory over Honduras that sent the United States men's national team to the 2010 World Cup. As the Americans prepare to face the Catrachos on Wednesday afternoon, one of the midfielder's tasks is preparing his teammates who are getting their first taste of the Hexagonal. "You never know exactly what to expect. From the time we get here to the time we leave, there will be 50 things that don't go exactly to plan. It could be the hotels, the field, the referee, the crowd. There are so many points along the way where things can work against you," the 25 year old—who sounds increasingly like a captain-in-waiting—said during a press conference in San Pedro Sula. "That's when you have to have the team mentality and the team spirit and the commitment and determination that says, 'Listen, we're coming here to get a job done and no matter what happens, we're going to stick together. We're going to fight for each other. We're going to all be committed to doing whatever we have to make sure that we walk off the field with a good result.'" The Stars and Stripes find themselves without Landon Donovan, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is confident there are younger players in the group who can step up. "I think it's wonderful to see players coming through and becoming those difference makers," he said, citing Bradley, Tim Howard, and Clint Dempsey as already-known quantities. He hopes more will show themselves on the field. "Jozy Altidore is matured and is growing," Klinsmann continued. "Fabian Johnson is matured and is growing. For us, it's exciting to see that we have a new wave of young players breaking through and trying to become difference makers. Obviously, we have still a way to go in that process, but they can only gain experience in the game. We are very excited about the potential of a lot of players coming through the ranks right now." Although this will be Klinsmann's first experience going through the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, he's been part of enough qualification processes as a player and a coach to understand how his team needs to perform. "We know it's going to be a difficult task. That's what World Cup qualifying is all about: Adjusting to different situations, to different opponents, to different environments, and getting the job one," he said. "We are here to win the game." A victory over Honduras isn't absolutely necessary, but it would be an excellent start for a U.S. team that faces four difficult matches to begin the Hexagonal. Bradley believes the squad will be ready. "When you get ready for games like this where so much is on the line, you don't need a whole lot of motivation. There's a real sense of excitement. We can see the World Cup on the horizon. We're excited to get going," he said. But talk is one thing. Experience is another. "At the end of the day, for the guys that haven't been here before, they will figure it out quickly," Bradley said. They certainly have a good guide for the journey ahead. ASN deputy editor Noah Davis is covering the United States-Honduras game from SPS.
February 05, 2013
February 05, 2013