Bradley on the cusp of 100th MLS win
In six-plus seasons as a head coach in Major League Soccer, Bob Bradley has established himself as one of the brightest minds in the game. With a MetroStars win on Saturday against the Chicago Fire - coincidentally, the team he led to an MLS Cup title - Bradley will become the first MLS coach to win 100 regular season games.
In 197 regular season matches patrolling the sidelines, Bradley has won nearly 60 percent of his games, but since entering the league, Bradley's success has been measured by the hardware in his teams' trophy rooms.
After two seasons as an assistant to Bruce Arena at D.C. United, in 1998 Bradley took the helm of the expansion Chicago Fire and with veteran midfielder Peter Nowak leading the way, the club captured both MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. That Fire team was the second MLS team to capture the U.S. domestic double - the only other one in league history was United in 1996, which Bradley also of course experienced.
In 2000, Bradley and the Fire were back at it, tying for the league's best record with 57 points from 32 games and going on to their second MLS Cup Final. The Fire fell in the title game to the Kansas City Wizards, but still claimed a trophy by winning the U.S. Open Cup for the second time in club history.
After two more years as the man in charge in the Windy City, Bradley departed for the MetroStars prior to the 2003 season needing one win to surpass former Tampa Bay Mutiny, New England Revolution and D.C. United coach Thomas Rongen atop the all-time MLS coaching wins list.
Bradley passed Rongen's mark on April 26 of last year with the MetroStars 1-0 win against Columbus, and since then he has put a huge gap between himself and Rongen and the rest of the coaches in the league. The active coach closest to Bradley is the Los Angeles Galaxy's Sigi Schmid, who has 79 career victories, and only one other active coach has more than 63 wins (Tim Hankinson of the Colorado Rapids, with 73).
Over the past year-and-a-half, Bradley's presence has made the MetroStars seemingly a new team. He guided the club to its first ever cup final last year, losing to the Fire in the U.S. Open Cup championship. He has also overhauled the MetroStars' roster, installing one of the most talented midfields in the league and bringing in several talented young players to increase competition for roster spots.
In six-plus years in the league, Bradley has had just one losing season, and halfway through the 2004 campaign, he has the MetroStars at the top of Eastern Conference and possibly well on their way to their first taste of MLS glory.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Soccer or its clubs.