Overall, United States midfielder Michael Bradley was much better against Portugal than he was against Ghana but that's not what many fans will remember from his performance Sunday night.
With the U.S. clinging onto a 2-1 lead it was Bradley's turnover that led to Portugal's equalizing goal five minutes into stoppage time.
— Ben Jata (@Ben_Jata) June 23, 2014
Michael Bradley with a brutal giveaway. Ronaldo's cross was perfect.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) June 22, 2014
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) June 23, 2014
I never thought I'd have more questions about Michael Bradley than Jurgen Klinsmann at this point.
— Beau Dure (@duresport) June 22, 2014
Earlier in the game, with the U.S. still down 1-0, Bradley had a clear chance at goal but shot it directly at the legs of Portugal defender Ricardo Costa who made the desperation save.
VINE: Ricardo Costa makes a brilliant block to stop Michael Bradley from equalising for USA. https://t.co/jVnVxiG0Az
— 2014 World Cup (@2014WC_Brazil) June 22, 2014
For the second straight game Bradley is a target for criticism even though on the whole his performance was improved. He was asked by ESPN's Jeremy Schaap if he blamed himself for the result. Here's what the Toronto FC midfielder had to say:
"The ball popped up and I was able to make a few quick steps and get there. It was tight. Unfortunately, [I] wasn't able to make a good enough play and keep it for us or get a foul and obviously at that point then the ball turns over and it's up to us to deal with the situation. Certainly the way it ends you rack your mind thinking can you do this better? Can you do that better? But the reality is still that over the course of a game there are a million of these kinds of plays and you can't let these plays ... they go on in the course of a game and so there's nothing else to it."
Bradley started the game in a more advanced role playing behind Clint Dempsey who was operating as a lone striker. Bradley was stronger in possession and was better going forward. Unfortunately the late giveaway and the near-goal are the two plays that stand out from the game.
Even despite Bradley's struggles, the Americans are still in a good position to advance to the round of 16 at the World Cup. A win or a draw against Germany would see the U.S. through while they could still move on with a loss if they get a favourable result in the Ghana-Portugal game.
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