TORONTO – It has been a very eventful week in MLS.
Dom Dwyer was traded from Sporting Kansas City to Orlando City SC in a record-breaking deal. The LA Galaxy brought in both Sigi Schmid and Jonathan dos Santos. But the move that resonated most in Toronto was the announcement that Bob Bradley would be the head coach for LAFC when they enter the league next season.
His son Michael does play for Toronto FC, after all.
“Nobody has been more angry or frustrated than me in this last stretch for him, in terms of the way things were handled at Swansea [Bradley’s last managerial post], this idea that he isn't able to, on a daily basis, do what he loves: being on the field, coaching, trying to get the best out of players and teams. And so when somebody you're that close with is treated in a way that is so wrong, that's not easy to take.”
Bob Bradley (in black) hugs his son Michael after USA vs Algeria
In October the senior Bradley became the first American to manage in the English Premier League, only to be fired less than three months later with the Swans in relegation trouble. His son thinks he’s found the perfect next move.
“There was never any doubt that he was going to find a good situation where the vision of the club, the people there, matched his drive and ambition to coach, to lead, to build something different,” said Michael, who played for Bob with the US national team and the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls). “From everything I've seen and read, conversations I've had with him, LAFC are going to do things at a high level.”
For his part, TFC coach Greg Vanney welcomed the latest addition to the MLS managerial fold.
“I think it's fantastic,” said Vanney. “Another coach who understands how to win in this league. Understands and appreciates the nuances of [MLS]. He'll be one of the guys at the forefront of continuing to push the league to get better. The more great coaches we can get here the more the players will benefit, the more the fans will benefit, the more interesting as a coach it becomes. You always want to play against coaches who have a clear vision of what they want to do.
“Bob's a true competitor; a workhorse,” he added. “Clearly knows how to and what he wants to do with a team. I look forward to seeing how he builds that franchise.”
The rumors of Michael joining his father out in LA are already beginning to swirl. But for now at least, Vanney quashed such talk when asked if Michael had handed in a transfer request.
“I don't think so,” chuckled Vanney. “He's got a pretty good situation here and a team that's ready to win. I don't think that's on the cards.”
Michael did profess himself a supporter of the 2018 expansion club, though. He has never squared off against a team coached by his father, and was asked if Toronto’s first meeting with LAFC will be circled on his calendar.
“On one hand yes, and one hand no,” he explained. “If they could create a schedule next year where we could never play LAFC, I'd gladly take that. But I guess I'll have to settle for being LAFC's biggest fan for 33 games and not 34 next year.”