Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bradley: Arena has restored US identity

SoccerNews in World Cup 12 Jun 2017

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United States captain Michael Bradley said head coach Bruce Arena has got the Americans “back to who we are” following Sunday’s entertaining World Cup qualifying draw in Mexico.

Bradley scored a stunning goal as the US held ‘Hexagonal’ leaders and rivals Mexico to a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

Amid political tension between the two nations, Bradley gave the travelling contingent something to cheer about with a delightful chipped effort from 35 yards in the sixth minute.

Carlos Vela equalised before half-time as hosts Mexico earned a share of the spoils, which kept the CONCACAF pacesetters six-points clear.

Bradley was buoyed by the result post-match, with the former Roma midfielder heaping praise on Arena, who replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November for a second spell at the helm.

“Look, we were pretty honest with ourselves and understood that we had let a lot of little things drop,” Bradley, who also hit the post in the second half, told FOX Sports.

“And I think Bruce came in and has done a really good job of just little by little, making sure that we get back to who we are. And we’ve just got to keep going.”

Bradley added: “The game went the way we expected it, the way we wanted. Any time you can get a point here, that’s great. The mentality and the commitment from every guy was really, really good, and now we keep moving ourselves forward.”

Former LA Galaxy boss Arena raised some eyebrows pre-game after making seven changes to the team that beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 last time out.

But his tactics paid off as the US stayed third in the final round of qualifying on the road to Russia 2018, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the World Cup.

“I thought we had a good game,” said Arena. “I think we played well. Mexico is certainly a very good team and even a better team at home. But our team really did an excellent job with our tactical plan. Certainly some fatigue came in at the end of the game, but I thought our players played very well.

“I think the competition for the first three spots in CONCACAF is going to go down to the last game.

“Certainly Mexico has a big advantage at this point, and the second and third places and fourth as well is going to be very challenging right to the end. But I feel very good about where we are. We’ve made up some lost ground, so I feel good about that.”

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