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United States

Best fits with Bradley in U.S. midfield

Whom should Jurgen Klinsmann surround Michael Bradley with in central midfield?
Whom should Jurgen Klinsmann surround Michael Bradley with in central midfield?

One of the main goals for the United States in the 2018 World Cup cycle is to learn to set the tone of a game against world-class competition. The U.S. has a reputation for being a strong competitor that can challenge the world's best on any given day, but the fact the team averaged just 42.3 percent possession during the 2014 World Cup -- ranking 31st out of 32 teams -- suggests that the Americans are not able to consistently dictate the pace of the game against strong opposition. We saw this trend again in the team's recent friendly against Denmark, where the U.S. ended the first half with just 35 percent of the game's possession before climbing back to 48 percent by the end of the game.

The catalyst for improving U.S. possession is holding midfielder Michael Bradley. The Toronto FC midfielder led the U.S. with 59 touches per 90 minutes during the World Cup and has led the team with 58 completed passes per 90 minutes in his four friendly appearances during the new World Cup cycle.

This ability to link with teammates from a central position makes it important for U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann to surround Bradley with the right pieces to make the U.S. a better team in possession. Here is a look at what Bradley brings to the U.S. along with a breakdown of which formation and central midfield partners work best with his playing style.

Bradley's midfield value

Bradley is often the first option that U.S. players look for when the team gains possession, and is responsible for dictating the pace of the game with his passing and movement through the center of the field. This presence was evident in the World Cup, where Bradley led the U.S. with per-90-minute averages of 59 touches and 46 passes completed.


ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Honduras down French Guiana to cement place in CONCACAF Gold Cup

Honduras claimed the final available place in July's CONCACAF Gold Cup after beating French Guiana 4-3 on aggregate in San Pedro Sula on Sunday.

Anderlecht midfielder Andy Najar starred for Los Catrachos, netting two goals to help Jorge Luis Pinto's men recover from a 3-1 first leg deficit.

Honduras will join Panama, Haiti and reigning champions the United States in Group A.

The Gold Cup kicks off on July 7.

Also on Sunday, four CONCACAF countries advanced to the second round of World Cup qualifying.


ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Harry Kane goals, Gareth Bale exit, U.S. team, Spain strikers, Netherlands

England head coach Roy Hodgson says he's delighted for Harry Kane after the Tottenham striker scored on his England debut against Lithuania.

Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five burning questions on the ESPN FC radar.

Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints.

They hype surrounding Harry Kane was hard to miss ahead of his England team debut vs. Lithuania. The Premier League goal-scoring leader headed home the Three Lions' fourth goal of the match just seconds after coming on in their 4-0 victory.

How many career goals will Harry Kane score for England?

The U.S. national team returned to competition this week vs. Denmark....

Aron Johannsson replaced by Stanford forward Jordan Morris on U.S. roster

The ESPN FC panel attempt to find positives in the United States' 3-2 loss to Denmark.

Stanford forward Jordan Morris has been added to the U.S. roster for Tuesday's exhibition game against Switzerland in Zurich.

Morris replaces Aron Johannsson, who is undergoing treatment for an infection. Morris made his national team debut in November at Ireland and scored the first goal for the U.S. under-23 team in Friday's 5-2 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Tuzla.

Morris' addition was announced Sunday. The Americans are coming off a 3-2 loss at Denmark on Wednesday in which Jozy Altidore...