With a string of poor performances beside his name, can Michael Bradley bounce back with Toronto FC or is it time for a fresh start somewhere else?
It has been more than half a year since the US national team failed to qualify for the World Cup And yet, every time Michael Bradley touches the ball in an American stadium, the boo’s rain down on him. They may be starting to get under the Toronto FC midfielder’s skin.
Has it been affecting his play on the field? Well, there is definitely a case to be made for it.
With careless giveaways and an overall lack of effort, Bradley is looking like a shell of his former self. This was extremely evident when Toronto FC gave up a three-goal lead this past weekend. Bradley had a strong start but as the game went on, he made some crucial mistakes which allowed the Crew to get back into the game. Just take a look at the penalty that he gave up which tied the game.
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Who’s to blame?
But how much of this is actually Bradley’s fault? In his defense, he has been deployed mostly as a central defender, which isn’t his natural position, and he hasn’t had a true central defender to play alongside with either.
Meanwhile, Toronto FC, as a whole, have been in freefall since their unfortunate Champions League final defeat. It is not easy to play out of position, at the heart of the defense, in a struggling team. Hopefully, when everyone gets healthy and Bradley moves back into his defensive midfield spot, he will be able to regain form and look like the dominant presence he can be.
With the way Bradley has been playing, people are rightly wondering if TFC should maybe and trade him to his dad’s new team over in California. Or even just cut the losses and sell him to the highest bidder in order to open up another designated player spot on the club.
This is all a little premature in my books. Bradley has proven that he can lead this squad to the promised land. Is this a rough patch? Yes. But I strongly believe that once he moves back to his normal position, he will get back into a groove. Plus, we all know what he’s capable of when he’s on his game.
Of course, a scapegoat is needed for a team with Toronto’s expectations. Right now, it’s Michael Bradley. But who knows who it will be in two or three week’s time? Bradley could be rejuvenated and resurrected.
It’s time for the real Michael Bradley to stand up, but he might need some help to do so.