“I don’t think our finishing has been as sharp as it can be,” Bradley said. “But hopefully that’s coming.”
In the 2009 Confederations Cup, the U.S. dropped its first two contests by a combined 6-1 margin. The disparaged Americans, however, staved off elimination via a 3-0 win over Egypt before pulling off an upset for the ages, toppling top-ranked Spain in the semifinals with a 2-0 victory. Such abrupt reversals of fortune have been a trademark of the Bradley era.
“That’s the process of building a team and coming together when things don’t go your way,” Michael Bradley said. “I think over the years, we’ve had a team that’s shown we can handle adversity. And we’re a team that when our backs are against the wall a little bit, we are able to respond.”
Going up against an athletic Jamaica squad that went 3-0 in the group stage and features marquee MLS players such as Los Angeles goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, New York midfielder Dane Richards and San Jose striker Ryan Johnson, Bob Bradley can only hope his team is more Jekyll than Hyde as it tries to book a trip to Wednesday’s semifinals in Houston.
“There’s a lot more pressure now,” goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “There’s a finality to it. After that 90 minutes or extra time, you’re either going home or going to Houston. Simple.”