I have been accused on more than one occasion of being a Bob Bradley loyalist, so it comes to no surprise to hear that I think Bradley and his staff have done a great job.
The reality is that whether you agree with me or not, Bradley's regime will be measured more by how they play over the next two weeks than at any time during his 3 1/2 year tenure.
Steve Davis of Sports Illustrated writes about Bradley's legacy being tied to his success at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Forget everything said or written about Bob Bradley over the past three-and-a-half years. None of it matters. Never did, really.
Any analysis on the U.S. coach's ability to inspire and steer this team is entirely moot. Nothing said by media or supporters about his performance, none of the criticism or acclaim -- much of it attached to last year's Confederation's Cup achievement -- is relevant. If you voted "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" along the way, then you jumped the gun.
For Bradley, the highly organized taskmaster and fourth U.S. coach in the past 19 years, everything that has happened since late 2006 has basically been about three games. The next three, to be precise, starting with Saturday's celebrated clash with England.
The crucible is now squarely upon him. Bradley has three matches to show whether he's been up for the job all along.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati made Bradley the choice to succeed Bruce Arena once the courtship of Jürgen Klinsmann went off course late in 2006. From the day Bradley was hired in December 2006, the U.S. coach always had two targets, and he surely needed to nail them both. Everything about his $475,000-a-year job always came down to achievement over two measures: He had to qualify for the 2010 World Cup -- which was sort of the low bar of the exercise. Past that, Bradley needed to get into the second round in South Africa.
That's it. So here we are.