Mailbag: Bradley-to-Toronto FC, U.S. national team and more
How open is Jurgen Klinsmann to taking a new player on the USMNT in top form to Brazil? Wondering if Mike Magee can Buddle his way onto the team.
If I had to pick one new January camp player who could break into the senior team and go to Brazil, it would probably be left back Chris Klute. It’s a position where the U.S. has been thin, and Klute showed a ton of promise last season with Colorado. I like the way he gets down the field to deliver crosses and defensively he’s pretty good too. The guy who discovered Klute, Eric Wynalda, told me last summer that he thought Klute was already the best left back the U.S. had produced, and while I think that’s getting ahead of ourselves, the potential is there.
Another Wynalda/Klute story: When Wynalda was observing Klute with Atlanta, he said he noticed that Klute ate oatmeal for breakfast and didn’t put any sugar on it, and that was when his eyes were opened to the kid. Now look where he is.
Is Bob Bradley going to bring any U.S. players to his new gig at Stabæk in Norway?
Jon-Claud Nix, Corning, N.Y.
I asked Bradley that question, and here’s his reply: “We’ll see about U.S. players. For a player who wants a first step in Europe it could work. Creativity on a small budget will be important.”
By the way, it remains a colossal bummer that Bradley and Egypt drew Ghana in the African qualifying playoffs and weren’t able to make it all the way to Brazil. It’s clear that Bradley had a huge impact on many of his Egyptian players, including Mohamed Elneny of Basel, who doesn’t speak much English but went to the trouble to send Bradley this text recently (unedited):
“Hi mr pop, it’s Mohammed el neny. I just want to tell you that i’m so proud to be under your leadership. You made a great favor for what i achieved. I learned alot from you’r great experience. Unfortunately we lost you and all of egyptians lost a great coach like you. Honestly you are the best coach came to train our national team God bless you sir”
What is a good book for learning more about the game in terms of strategy? What about from a fan’s perspective?
For strategy, Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid. For fandom, Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch.
As of now, who do you foresee finishing top four in the Premier League?
Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, (deep breath) Manchester United.
Can you please talk about the potential of promotion/relegation in America?
I’d love to see it someday when the club game is on firmer footing here, but I don’t think it’s realistic right now when many MLS teams are still losing money. Why would any prospective new owner risk the money to become one if the team could get relegated from the top division?
Has the USMNT considered changing its World Cup training base to reduce travel times during the tournament?
Nope, and it won’t happen. Despite having group-stage games in the northeast (Natal, Recife) and the Amazon (Manaus), the U.S. will still stay in São Paulo and train at São Paulo FC.
Which brings us to:
THIS WEEK’S MOVIE REC
Neighboring Sounds. Last week I put out a Twitter query asking for the best Brazilian films of the past three years, and several people recommended this one, which is available on Netflix streaming. It was a good call. The film is set in Recife, where the U.S. will play Germany, and it provides a look at how the neighbors in a fast-growing city deal with each other. What’s more, there’s confirmation in the film of something I first heard over dinner in Rio last month with a couple friends: You shouldn’t go into the water on the beaches at Recife due to the potential for shark attacks. Sharks in Recife are no joke.