…so everyone has been made to think that Donovan is the end all and be all of American Soccer. Granted he is the all time goal scorer for the US and is perhaps the greatest attacking player that has come out the ranks in America (Villarreal forward Rossi would lay claim to this had he opted to play for the US, where he moved to when he was 12 years old, but then again can’t blame him for making it into a soccer powerhouse squad like Italy).
Donovan has more considerable experience in Europe, having played in Everton FC recently and been mightily instrumental in their tie against my beloved Arsenal at the Emirates (slotted a beautiful pass to Steven Pienaar for the game timing goal and almost had Felani head in his free kick in the last 5mins of the game). Bradley though brings a different set of tools to the team, and the stats are certainly showing it after 3 games in the tourney. He ranks third, according to FIFA, in distanced covered (sitting behind Khedira of Germany and Torrado of Mexico). Has completed 73% of his passes. Granted it’s only after 3 matches, but a stat like that after half an EPL/La Liga/Bundesliga/Serie A season would quickly have him labeled as a world class player. Is near the top in terms of tackles (tackles that have gained possession and in term sof recovered balls).
FIFA apparently has it that he has yet to lose possession of the ball, has only been whistled 4 times (this is significant since he does have a reputation of creating dumb fouls in his infant soccer careers). His greatest strength, believe it or not, lies in his versatility to play with various central midfielders. Partnering up with Edu, Torres and Clark in the 3 matches has seen him be the key man in shutting down England (played fantastic in closing Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard). Donovan even acknowledged him with being the centre-piece of the offensive attacking style that helped them win the group.
So if the US play well and triumph over Ghana, look for Michael Bradley to play an influential part in the game. Believe it or not, you could even see him being coveted by the world biggest domestic clubs to have a 22 year old influential midfielder dazzle in the pitch like he has done so far.