If Bob Bradley was … a Former Governor of Virginia

SOCCER/FUTBOL COPA DE ORO 2009 ENTRENAMIENTO ESTADOS UNIDOS A MARCAR TERRITORIO Action photo of Bob Bradley coach of United States during the training session at the New Jersey./Foto de accion de Bob Bradley entrenador de Estados Unidos, durante una sesion de entrenamiento en New Jersey. 25 July 2009. MEXSPORT/ETZEL ESPINOSA Photo via Newscom


Patrick Henry, urging for colonial militarization, may not have used the very words that became immortalized, but Bob Bradley apparently found some worth in the account. Today, Bob uses some of Henry’s speech to tell us why he prefers defensive midfielders. Original speech can be found here.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the abilities of the very worthy Englishman who will line up against us on Saturday. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if I say we have a chance to strike a blow for US Soccer. The match will be one of awful moment to this country. I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards the beautiful game, which I revere above all earthly kings, were I to start Ricardo Clark, whose offensive capabilities will never be confused with Péle’s, over José Torres, possessor of silky passes, but perhaps the former gives us a better chance to vanquish our oppressors.

And it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes when Clark slides in for another awkward tackle, but for my part, whatever crimes against the game Ricardo may commit, I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. He did help us shut out Spain, so maybe he’ll do the same to the favored English.

And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British National Team for the last twenty years to justify their favored status. Is it that insidious smile which Wayne Rooney adopts after every goal? Gentlemen, they haven’t even made it past the quarterfinals since 1990!

I ask, sirs, what does it mean that Capello keeps deploying Lampard and Gerrard in the center of midfield? The more defensive Gareth Barry is hurt, but are two attacking central midfielders sufficient for a work of defense? Has England any other enemy in Group C to call for this accumulation of offensive talent? No, she has none. They are meant for us.

They are sent over to bind Donovan and Dempsey by refusing to give up possession. And what have we to oppose them? Shall we try the long ball? We have been trying that for the last ten years.

They tell us that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be next week when Gooch is fully-fit, or the next year as Charlie Davies plays himself into shape? Will it be when MLS is totally devoid of talent and an American suits up on every Premier League team?

We are not weak if we make a proper use of those players which the God of nature hath placed in our power. And, for better or worse, we possess many defensive midfielders, players capable of shutting down any midfield combination which our enemy can send against us. Besides, we shall not fight our battles alone. The referee appears to be corrupt and may be bought, were we base enough to desire it. It is in vain to extenuate the matter, as there is a just FIFA who presides over the destinies of nations, and though FIFA may allow France to prosper through illicit means, the English are ever their victims.

The match kicks off Saturday, and I say let it come! Gentlemen may cry ‘Draw, Draw’ – but there is to be no draw. Our southerly neighbors take the pitch tomorrow. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is playing beautiful soccer so dear as to be purchased at the price of leaving ourselves vulnerable on the counterattack? Forbid it, Almighty God!

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me defensive midfielders or give me death!

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