COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Players might make the highlights, but teams win games. This was the philosophy U.S. coach Bob Bradley preached to his players ahead of the United States’ match with Mexico in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday night. After the U.S. emerged 2-0 winners, it was the collective performance for which he reserved the most praise.
“We didn’t get the best performance from each guy tonight,” Bradley said, “but collectively, with Mexico and the conditions—the wind, I mean—as a team, it was good.”
The coach’s son, Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Michael Bradley, scored both goals for the Americans, who extended their home record against Mexico to 9-0-2 in their last 11 meetings. The elder Bradley said he was proud of his son, but explained that the entire midfield executed the game plan from the beginning.
“I said to the midfield we needed to impose our game on them,” Bradley admitted. “In particular, we needed to make it hard on [Mexican center midfielder] Pavel Pardo. He is a key player in their midfield, he brings other players into the game. If he’s so important to them, then we had to push him. The all-around team effort was good.”
The younger Bradley opened the scoring in the 43rd minute, pouncing on a loose ball in the area following a corner kick. He then iced the game when he drilled an 18-yard shot past Mexico goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez in stoppage time of the second half. The 21-year-old, however, deflected any postgame questions about his individual performance.
“Anytime you play against Mexico, it’s special,” he said. “In the locker room before the game, you could look at every guy and you knew they were ready to play. I’m happy we won. We have three points.”
The US is now tied atop the CONCACAF Hexagonal with Costa Rica, who defeated Honduras 2-0 at home. El Savador tied Trinidad & Tobago.
Greg Lalas, Goal.com