All hands on deck: Bob Bradley consulting USMNT staff ahead of Panama qualifier

Bob Bradley USA
Gail Oskin
The former U.S. national team coach is providing a helping hand to current boss Bruce Arena for the key World Cup qualifier

ORLANDO, Fla. — It's all hands on deck for the U.S. national team's World Cup qualifier against Panama, and that means the return of a familiar face.

Los Angeles FC coach Bob Bradley, who led the U.S. from 2006 to 2011, is in Orlando consulting Bruce Arena's staff for the Americans' crucial match against the Canaleros on Friday at Orlando City Stadium.

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The duo have a long-standing coaching camaraderie, with Bradley having served as Arena's assistant at the University of Virginia from 1983 to 1984, with the U.S. Under-23 national team at the 1996 Olympics and at D.C. United from 1996 to 1997.

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"Bob came in yesterday — I haven't given him a role," Arena said. "I can't think of a greater resource to have available for us to take any of the comments he may add or to have a better friend or more supportive person in U.S. Soccer than that. We're real pleased to have Bob with us for a couple of days to help us prepare for this game."

Bradley last coached in December, when he was fired after a brief stint in charge of Premier League side Swansea City. LAFC announced in July that he will be the club's first coach, with the MLS expansion side set to kick off in 2018.

As Arena noted, Bradley's son is U.S. captain Michael Bradley — hinting that the 59-year-old's presence in Orlando isn't just about contributing to the U.S. staff.

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"He's also the father of one of our players," Arena said wryly, "so that's a side note to all of this."

Arena confirmed Bob Bradley will not be joining the U.S. for Tuesday's trip to face Trinidad & Tobago to wrap the Hexagonal. Asked about that second game, the U.S. coach said he had not devised an overarching plan for both matches.

"I will be honest with you — I haven't spent one second in preparation for the second game," Arena said. "All of the focus has been on Panama. I cannot tell you one thing we would do in our second game in this swing."