Featured Matches
Previous
Modena
Cittadella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
St Pauli
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Brest
AS Nancy Lorraine
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Lanús
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Banfield
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Tigre
Quilmes
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
La Equidad
Atlético Nacional
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Modena
Cittadella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
St Pauli
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Brest
AS Nancy Lorraine
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Rio Ave
Boavista
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Veria
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hobro IK
FC Vestsjaelland
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lucerne
FC Aarau
Postp
Game Details
Lanús
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Banfield
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Tigre
Quilmes
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
La Equidad
Atlético Nacional
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Corrigan: Five things we learned in La Liga

La Liga about an hour ago
Read

Whittaker: Deserved win at Man City

Stoke 23 hours ago
Read
Aug 10, 2008

U.S. forced to make do without Adu and Bradley

TIANJIN, China -- Following the United States' 2-2 tie Sunday against the Netherlands, American midfielder Michael Bradley walked into the postgame news conference, and his body language told the whole story. Not only did the U.S. just have victory snatched from its grasp by Gerald Sibon's late equalizer, but the realization that Bradley's second caution in as many games would render him suspended for the team's last group match against Nigeria was beginning to sink in.

But what rankled him even more was the manner of his two yellow cards. Bradley's role as a holding midfielder draws his share of cautions for physical play. But there was nothing malicious about either of his yellow cards in this tournament. An otherwise innocuous looking foul against Japan resulted in his first booking, and against Holland, Bradley saw yellow late in the match for time-wasting.

When asked how tough his looming suspension will be to cope with given the tame nature of his infractions, Bradley indicated that he was still stewing over his first yellow card.

"I felt the first [yellow card] in the first game was a joke," said Bradley. "Most games, that's not even a foul ... The one today, I should have been a little bit smarter. At that point in the game, the ref, he's looking to make that call. On that one, I should know that I need to play the ball."

Bradley's experience and ball-winning ability will be badly missed against a side as physical as Nigeria, but compounding matters is the fact that joining him on the sidelines will be attacker Freddy Adu. It was Adu's incisive running and have-no-fear approach that helped the U.S. get off the mat in the first half when they were in danger of being counted out. And it was his perfectly weighted pass that released Sacha Kljestan in the second half, allowing Kljestan to score the Americans' first goal and give the U.S. priceless momentum.

U.S. men's schedule
U.S. vs. Nigeria
Wednesday
Beijing, China
5 a.m. ET

But Adu deservedly went into referee Michael Hester's book in the 78th minute for a dangerous, studs-up kick that caught Dutch goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer in the head as he tried to claim a ball at the top of his penalty area. That it came with the U.S. already leading 2-1 made Adu's effort unnecessary, and now he is forced to sit.

"It's a horrible feeling for me, knowing that I have to watch a game that we have to either get a tie or a win to really give ourselves a chance to go through," Adu said. "That's football. It happens. You just gotta accept it ... But I'm not holding anything back. I'm not going to play tentative because I've got a yellow card."

To be fair, Nigeria is in the same boat, with defenders Onyekachi Apam and Olubayo Adefemi also set to sit out. But it can be argued that Bradley and Adu mean more to their team than the Apam and Adefemi do to theirs, especially given Adu's importance to the U.S. attack.

Afterward, head coach Peter Nowak refused to address how he expected to compensate for the loss of each player, but with Adu now rendered to spectator status, he had already slipped into cheerleading mode.

"I have faith in my guys," said Adu. "I think we're going to get the job done."

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet. He also writes for Center Line soccer and can be reached at eljefe1@yahoo.com.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.