‘No choice but to keep going’
After painful setback, Bradley turns back to TFC
Michael Bradley hopes there will be another World Cup in his future.
If there is, the Toronto FC and U.S. captain will be 35 by the time the 2022 World Cup in Qatar rolls round.
“We’ll see,’’ he said Thursday after arriving home from Trinidad & Tobago where Tuesday’s shock 2-1 loss, coupled with Honduras and Panama wins, prevented the U.S. from qualifying for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.
“Time will tell, how things un- fold over the next few months, over the next year. Obviously the decisions will get made at the highest level in terms of what goes on inside U.S. Soccer.’’
As for that post-mortem, Bradley said he had his views and would share them “in the right moments ... with people on the inside.’’
In the meantime he said he would “stand tall and face the music.’’
Bradley, who has won 140 caps for his country, is one of only two American players to play every minute of the last two FIFA World Cups. The defensive midfielder has also represented the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
As he did in Couva, Trinidad, after Tuesday’s loss, Bradley called the evening a “perfect storm.’’
“We’re not the first country or big country to miss out on a World Cup and we won’t be the last. We had our chance in Trinidad to play 90 minutes to get ourselves in. On the night, it was a perfect storm in three stadiums that led to us not getting in.’’
Failure to get results earlier in the round meant there was no room for error.
“We have nobody to blame but ourselves for that,’’ Bradley said.
A win would have sent the U.S. to the 2018 World Cup to Russia. A draw would likely also have sent the Americans to their eighth straight trip to the World Cup.
Instead the 28th-ranked Americans lost to No. 99 T&T, No. 74 Honduras beat No. 14 Mexico 3-2 and No. 60 Panama edged No. 21 Costa Rica 2-1.
Bradley says the disappointment won’t go away any time soon but he won’t let those emotions carry over into his MLS team’s playoff push.
League-leading Toronto (195-8) plays its penultimate regular-season game Sunday against Montreal (11-15-6).
“As an athlete and as a competitor, you have no choice but to keep going,’’ Bradley said. “When you play and compete at the highest level, there are no guarantees ever.”
The best days for soccer in this country are still to come.
TFC’S Michael Bradley and the U.S. had their World Cup dream shattered with a loss in Couva, Trinidad, on Tuesday evening. Rebecca blackwell/the canadian Press/the associated Press