Two steps back

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by keller4president, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. keller4president

    keller4president Member+

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Bradley to Toronto. Jones to Besiktas.

    These guys will be playing in much inferior leagues for the next four months before the World Cup. Jones and Bradley have basically had all of January off with no training of any kind. While they aren't going to lose their skills overnight, they also won't be facing the same level of competition. This is worrying for the backbone of our central midfield.

    For comparisons' sake, the Turkish league is ranked below the Netherlands and Belgium in the UEFA coefficients rankings. MLS to European comparisons are difficult, but it's probably on the level of Belgium/Greece, or lower-end of Championship/Second Bundesliga. Certainly below Italy's Serie A however.

    Honestly, Danny Williams in the Championship and Kljestan in Belgium might be facing tougher competition that Jones or Bradley in the next five months. Does that automatically make them better players? No, but it will make for some interesting decisions.

    I'm very very concerned. And I wonder if Klinsmann is as well.
    CTS26 and eric_appleby repped this.


  2. FlipsLikeAPancake

    FlipsLikeAPancake Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Country:
    United States
  3. USOutlaw16

    USOutlaw16 Member+

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    Location:
    On the Gringo Wall of Shame
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Country:
    United States
    When we made the QF in 2002, most of our players played in MLS, and MLS was nowhere near as watchable as it is now. Not to mention that while the Turkish league isn't among the better leagues, Besiktas is a good team, and Jones will be playing against the likes of Fenerbache and Galatasaray, who are not pushovers by any stretch of the imagination. It's better to have them get playing time than rot on the bench of a more powerful team. We'll be fine.
    swedust, StillKickin and john3628 repped this.
  4. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Country:
    United States
    Idk if I'd say two steps back but it definitely hurts to have a lot of our top players moving to weaker leagues. Bradley more so than anyone. Dempsey and jones are both older and I can understand that but Bradley's in his prime.


  5. Totoro

    Totoro Member+

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    Does the thread title imply a reverse of the expression about staggered growth--one step forward, two steps back, as in the program is getting worse?

    Or is it just literal...Bradley's move is seen as one step back, Jones's move a second. (And if so, why isn't it "three steps" back with Dempsey.)
    COMtnGuy repped this.
  6. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Country:
    United States
    I think it's the former not the later.
  7. keller4president

    keller4president Member+

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Literal - two steps back. Could also be three steps back with Dempsey, but that's old news by now.
  8. keller4president

    keller4president Member+

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    New York, NY
    17 games left for Beskitas this season. including one against Fenerbache, one against Galatsaray. And one against our old friend Rizespor!

    More interestingly, Jones will be playing alongside Hugo Almeida who is likely to make Portugal's WC team.
  9. USvsIRELAND

    USvsIRELAND Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    ATL
    Pop a pill or have a beer. Or both ;)

    This doesn't change anything.

    Frankly it can only be a positive if he gets PT.
    ebbro repped this.
  10. Wessoman

    Wessoman Member+

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    Keller4President, something you need to think about.

    Right now, developmentally, Jones is not going to get any better, skills-wise. For Jones its all about fitness and getting into the World Cup. Jones is coming off of a delayed surgery, and let's face it, Schalke's schedule is brutal for an older player who isn't totally 100%. Besiktas is a good fit for Jones, late in his career.

    Furthermore, I think as far as the World Cup goes, the move to MLS was a smart move for Micheal Bradley (Okay, maybe not the move to Toronto per se...Ahem.). He's going to get guaranteed 90's, all the time, something that AS Roma couldn't offer. Furthermore, moving domestically lets JK open up his non-FIFA date calendar, and gets the backbone of the US team together playing friendlies and building chemistry together. (To digress, this is why the Mexico friendly is a good call--gets money for the fed, a guaranteed competitive Mexican squad, and seeing our LigaMX guys to boot.)

    Overall, yes, it's softer competition. But right now, the home stretch, is where our guys need to worry about fitness and injury. I'd rather not Bradley sit on a bench in the Serie A; that would be like riding in the backseat of a Ferrari FF. I'd rather not Jones push himself through Schalke's schedule. The added bonus, at least for Bradley, is that we are going to get a few more meaningful friendlies for the USA.

    But overall, Keller, where you have every reason to be concerned is after the World Cup. Jones to Besiktas is okay, after 2014 he's done..Maybe comes in and plays a tough qualifier or two, but his international career mission will be accomplished unless he gets on the Olympic side. Bradley, on the other hand, basically knows he's going to be potentially quarterbacking the USA in 2018 as well. He's going to have to stay competitive, so, as good as the money is in Toronto, if he wants to continue for the US he will have to move to a better club or back to Europe. Otherwise, in the eyes of Klinsi's eyes, he deserves no bigger of a chance than any other superb MLS midfielder. I can forsee a 2018 where Bradley, playing well in MLS, loses his starting spot to say, young guys like Gil or Diskerud who go on and play for big Euro clubs.

    Because the fact is, over time, not playing in the strongest leagues will reduce the quality of the opponents week in and week out, and will wear on a player's effectiveness. I feel that in the case of guys like Edu, Jones, and Bradley, moves to MLS are steps that are net positives. But after the world cup, you are correct, over time, it will show. A player like Williams or Kljestan will get confidence, get better, and show it for the US.

    As far as Klinsi's decision making--the key is, the three most influential players on the US currently play for MLS sides and will be getting a lot of looks on non-FIFA dates. If Landon, Dempsey or Bradley flame out here, well, then to be honest if we are talking about Williams and Kljestan in May then the US has much bigger problems to worry about. But so far, the potential upside is a lot stronger than the downside.
    profiled, Bluecat82, Namdynamo and 2 others repped this.
  11. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Country:
    United States
    Well said and I agree but Bradley could have found a squad where he got full 90 in a better league against better competition day in day out. He had interest from English sides. Could have gone on loan to a squad and figured out a permanent move after the World Cup. Which probably would have been smarter cause he could raised his stock with a great showing.
  12. ckl26

    ckl26 Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    This

    Bradley's move was more $$$$$$ then anything else. The guy probably should have gone to Everton when he had the offer.

    But to answer the OP's question, I'm pretty worried about Bradley post WC, not necessarily from now till June. I dont think Jones has the CDM spot locked down and I think after the WC that CDM spot is completely open.
  13. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Country:
    United States
    We don't know if Everton was official or just interest. And honestly idk if he would be a guarantee 90 minutes at Everton. But I'm sure he could have found a team and or league higher than the MLS.

    Jones barring injury to the point where he can't play has the CDM locked down for the World Cup. After it will definitely open up but wouldn't be surprised if JK didn't find fully open up until post gold cup 2015.
    Dervos repped this.
  14. ckl26

    ckl26 Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    I agree Bradley could have found other clubs in Europe where he'd get very good PT.

    I'm less optimistic about Jones then you are, aside from a lackluster Mexico squad he's been pretty bad for us recently. I can think of others that I'd like to see given a shot at his position...maybe sub him out in the 60th vs. Ukraine to compare/contrast
  15. mattjo

    mattjo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2001
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    Club:
    DC United
    Country:
    United States
    While Bradley undoubtedly could have moved to another European team, it is tough to come in mid-season andbecome the primary playmaker for a team. It can happen (i.e. Mata), but I doubt Brdley has the equivalent reputation that would earn that acceptance from his teammates (solid player yes, central playmaker.. no). In Toronto, he will be asked to drive the team, the same role he will likely play for the U.S. So a question: is playing a different role in a tougher league... (i.e. playing for Everton but taking a more support role position) more important to his tactical growth or would he be better served playing the key playmaker role for Toronto. Frankly, I can see arguments for both sides, and I don't think it is definitely clear one way or another. While Many Euro leagues play at a higher level than MLS, too much has been made about how it related to NATs play. For example Kljesten is still considered a borderline player... you would think (following the logic on here) that his play in Europe and play in the Champions League would have catapulted him up the depth chart.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
    COMtnGuy repped this.
  16. Wessoman

    Wessoman Member+

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Country:
    United States
    Yes, but national teams are all about chemistry. Kljestan's club play gives him caps, but Sacha has not translated club success to the US. Stark contrast, to say, players like Zusi or Diskerud, who, despite their weakness and playing for relatively weak leagues, consistently play well with the US National team.

    Everybody is seeming to forget the upside of Bradley coming to MLS. Yes--Bradley could have played in a better league than MLS. Would he be an automatic starter? Would he have meshed into a new team and still played well for the US? Those are intangibles. Would you rather Bradley take the easy money in MLS, or maybe wind up at a terrible situation right before the World Cup? What we do know is, Toronto is total 90, playing the same role with club as country, and being able to play in a lot more US games, helping team chemistry.

    Basically, for Bradley, to use an American football analogy--It's 4th and inches on the 18 and he's ahead by 10 with 2 minutes to play, so he kicked a field goal. He's pretty much wrapped up the game (He's almost on the World Cup squad), so MLS is the safest play. Sure, going to Europe and succeeding would have been *better*, but there is a chance--Not a good chance, but a real chance of failure right before the World Cup. Fact is, if Bradley left AS Roma only to be sitting on a European bench come April, most everybody would have been screaming that Toronto would have been the right move.
    dredgfan repped this.
  17. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    For what is worth, I have Besiktas as the #3 team in the Süper Lig, quite behind Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, about even with Marseille, Swansea and Werder Bremen.

    By comparison, I have Anderlecht as second of the Jupiler, slightly ahead of Genk (suffering on their league, but last Belgian team in Europe). That means Anderlecht is about even with Besiktas. Reading in the Championship is far weaker, though.

    Let's not forget Besiktas would have been in the Europa League, were not for the match fixing scandal over the 2011 Turkish Cup final (Fenerbahce did even worse: they've been suspended from European competitions not just this season, but also the next).

    Reading, #6 in the Championship, is by my reckoning only slightly stronger than Rizespor (#15 in the Turkish league).

    The situation with Toronto is quite different though. I have them as comparable to one of the weakest Championship teams, Sheffield Wednesday, where Gooch plies his trade.

    PS: So from that the strongest pairing would be Jones-Kljestan, the weaker Bradley-Williams. :eek:
    Dervos repped this.
  18. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    The UEFA club ranking:

    http://kassiesa.home.xs4all.nl/bert/uefa/data/method4/trank2014.html

    has Anderlecht at #43 and Besiktas at #64. Schalke is at #12. AS Roma at #55. Reading does not figure (not top level).

    However, like all the UEFA rankings, it's not a snapshot but is built based on the last 4 or 5 seasons. They have Barcelona as stronger than Bayern, for example. And United as stronger than Arsenal.
  19. ebbro

    ebbro Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    There will be no interesting decisions between these four players. Jones and Bradley are penned into the 23 (starting 11 really). Klejstan and Williams may not even be penciled into the preliminary 30.
  20. truefan420

    truefan420 Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    oakland
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Country:
    United States
    I get that and leading up to the World Cup I can live with it but post World Cup, on his salary and transfer value (to the mls) it will be near impossible to move to a better situation. Which is a big problem for the USA going forward.
  21. eric_appleby

    eric_appleby Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 1999
    Location:
    Down East
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Country:
    United States
    Good point that the worst ramifications are after the WC. That contract is going to keep Bradley in MLS, for better or worse.
    Dempsey's another case. Coming back has not helped him at all. Or possibly he reached the tipping point in his career and he's on the downslope.
    But I do wish the back to MLS movement had started after the WC.
  22. an1310

    an1310 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Why? I understand the sentiment, but we have to remember that professional athletes don't live in a vacuum. Their careers are short and brief. If the numbers are to be believed, Bradley is making 6x(!) his salary from AS Roma, plus any of the transfer fee. This is money that sets his wife and young son up for life, WC be damned.

    (I do think we'll see MB90 back in Europe sometime after the WC though.)
  23. MLSFan123

    MLSFan123 Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Millis MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Country:
    United States
    Very very very unlikely outside of a winter loan.

    No one is going to pay a transfer fee of that size and no one is going to match his salary.
  24. KALM

    KALM Member+

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Boston/Providence
    Just want to mention that I've never found the UEFA club rankings to be a very good measure of anything. I think the league coefficients are actually somewhat reliable, since you can usually get a very large sample size for individual leagues (over 60 games in a single season for a league like La Liga, and maybe 300 games over the 5 year period).

    A team like Besiktas, on the other hand, will probably get 10 games in a good season and 0 during a bad year. That's not enough of a sample to tell you very much.

    Not that I disagree much with your conclusions in the post prior.
  25. ckl26

    ckl26 Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    Bradley is stuck in the MLS probably for the rest of his career...his wages are sky high

Share This Page