EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Speculation says Tuesday's match against Brazil could have been the last as a US manager for Bob Bradley, whose contract expires in December.
Discussions between Bradley and the US Soccer Federation will resume in the aftermath of the match, but the manager says his coaching staff is already planning for the upcoming exhibition matches.
“I’ll be thinking later tonight about those games,” Bradley said after the 2-0 loss to Brazil. “While I’m on the job with the staff that we have, we’re constantly working to look forward to the next game.”
Reports have the US hosting Poland in Chicago in October with a second exhibition match potentially involving Colombia in a venue to be determined.
Bradley was unflappable in fielding questions about his future and he did not give the least hint at which direction his coaching career could take. He is also the favorite of English bookmakers to take over at Aston Villa, where the owner is American Randy Lerner.
The coach, who earlier this week confirmed that his representatives spoke to English Premier League club Fulham about their previously vacant post, would not even concede a timeline for resolving his situation.
“My contract is through the end of the year, so it’s no problem for me,” Bradley said. “There’ll be discussions and we’ll figure out what the future means.”
Bradley was cool in his analysis of the team’s performance against the South Americans and the fact that the game gave a lot for squad to chew on. He highlighted the strong start by the US and the fact that the Americans need to continue to learn how to be faster and make better decisions against higher-quality opposition.
Despite the cloud of speculation hanging over their head coach, the US players say there was nothing different about the lead-up to the Brazil match.
Midfielder Maurice Edu praised Bradley’s commitment to the team in the midst of all the rumors and called him “a true professional.”
“Ultimately it comes down to whether coach Bradley wants to stay and whether US Soccer wants to keep him on,” Edu said. “That’s a situation that’s completely out of our hands. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
“I don’t think it affected the team too much,” veteran defender Steve Cherundolo said. “I don’t think it changed the atmosphere in the locker room.”