Monday, March 26, 2007

Two Tough: Donovan, Bradley Make Their Case

One supposedly needs to win over fickle fans. The other is apparently Plan B for US Soccer Bosses. On Sunday, Landon Donovan and Bob Bradley answered their critics emphatically, and more importantly, showed their fellow US National Team members how to face adversity off the field and deliver where it counts -- on the pitch.

Certainly there were many key contributors in the 3-1 victory over Ecuador before 31,000 at Raymond James Stadium -- a gutty Brian Ching and inspiring newbies Benny Feilhaber and the Coach's Kid among them -- but it was Donovan, wearing the captain's armband and the hoary memory of World Cup 2006 with steely resolve, and Bradley, somehow managing to look dignified on the sidelines despite the increasingly shoddy treatment and working conditions he's endured, who led the way on Sunday. Big time.

This bodes well, not only for Donovan and Bradley, but for all fans of US Soccer. Despite the naysayers, these two guys are both very good at their jobs. And their teammates know it. So when they go out and beat a tough South American side so completely, this reinforces their faith in their captain and their coach, even if that faith is not forthcoming from others. And bonds like that are strong. Just like Donovan and Bradley.

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