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Luis Ortega (@LuisOrtegaVzla)

Soccer was played in Cologne, Germany. Friendly match that would had Germany and United States play against each other. The North American team arrived to the game after beating Netherlands,  a game in which the USA started losing, but came back to win it in the last minutes after being down by 2 goals. In the other hand, Germany was playing its first game of the FIFA match days of the month. The European squad led by Löw, jumped into the field with a 4-4-1-1 formation. They would face, the also German coach, Klinsman’s team who showed a 4-3-1-2 system. That connection between the defensive and offensive line was going to be the team’s captain Michael Bradley, the principal protagonist of the away team.

Shortcomings in the North American defense.

The first half was controlled totally by the Germans. The home team took charge of the game’s rhythm, proposing attacking plays and even scoring one goal. The home team’s advantage led to show some qualities, but also mistakes in USA’s team. When there was needed to defend in their own half of the pitch, Klinsman’s boys usually left too many open spaces. It was very easy, for the German player in possession of the ball, to find an uncovered partner in an open space in danger zone.

Also, throughout the game the fullbacks didn’t move towards the center enough to cover, what caused that when the plays came from the opposite side of the field towards the center, a German striker was waiting for the ball completely unmarked, behind the second center-back. In a play very similar to the one described, the home team’s goal arrived with Gotze. Chandler failed to arrive to a position where he could have any defensive advantage, what caused Gotze to receive the ball without any pressure and score.

Michael Bradley, the team’s soul.

Perfect performance. Two words that describe de game played by the number 4, on his shirt, of the American midfielder. He is primordial in the team’s functioning. He is the player who marks the way out, has the vision for the attacking plays and even one of the most physically sacrificed  in the field.

Starting from their half with the “Main Man”.

Very few times United States was seen sending long balls from their own area to begin a play. Their way out consisted in passing the ball from side to side through their defensive line until they found an open space to give the ball to Bradley. From there, the wingers projected to the attack, and most of the times they were the receivers of al long pass from Bradley in the midfield. Also, Bradley chose sometimes to go back himself and look for the ball in his big area’s zone to come out with it and start a play.

And when everything seemed so dangerous, he always came out with a simple and elegant solution.

United States’ high pressure and the physical sacrifice of the number 4.

When Germany wanted to begin plays with short passes and the possession of the ball, United Sates fulfilled with a good pressure. The nearest striker to the ball went to steal and the other covered the open spaces. Bradley was always the first midfielder in arriving to the pressure. His task was to cover the possible receiver of the ball in the central zone to prevent a good execution of a play from the Germans. All this shows the great physical sacrifice that de American player performed during the game. He was always the first player in looking for the ball in his own half of the pitch and the first to help the attacking line to recover it.

Little by little United States is becoming one of the big teams in world of soccer. This has even been one of its best weeks, speaking of victories over high level teams. They came back to win it 3-4 in Netherlands against the “Orange Machine” and also came back to win it in Germany 1-2 against the World Champions. What the American squad is showing is more and more astonishing every time. And a big part of it is because the key player, the captain, Michael Bradley.

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