SI's Grant Wahl does an outstanding job of gaining some insight from US national team head coach Bob Bradley, and really outlines some important components in Bradley's philosophies-
• Playing hard games matters. "As players move from one level to another, they have to grow," Bradley says. As you'll see below, there is a clear awareness on Bradley's part that what works in CONCACAF may not work against the world's best teams at the World Cup. That's why the U.S. has played tougher games outside of CONCACAF than in the previous World Cup cycle, whether they were friendlies (Spain, England, Argentina, etc.) or tournaments (Confederations Cup, Copa América). That's why you can be certain that the U.S.' last three games before the 2010 World Cup will be against harder teams than the '06 pre-World Cup friendlies (Morocco, Venezuela and Latvia).
• Defense has to be a priority, even (and especially) for the world's best teams. Even if you have a ton of skill, Bradley says, the great teams do more when they lose the ball. If you ask Bradley to discuss his strategies for hard games -- as I do below for the U.S.' 2-0 upset of Spain and recent 2-1 loss to Mexico -- he will always begin by talking defense.