JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As impressed as Michael Bradley was with the US national team’s 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday, the US and Toronto FC midfielder conceded afterwards that the match, and Send-Off Series overall, has little bearing on what might lie ahead in Brazil.
Bradley did admit he felt it was a good night for the team, pointing out how well organized the unit was defensively and how sharp the team appeared to be as a whole against an opponent similar in style to Ghana, who’ll they face June 16.
“But the reality is, at this point these three games mean nothing,” Bradley told reporters after the game. “We kind of said to each other in the locker room afterwards that the fun starts now.
"These games are always tricky because they’re important in the sense that you want to use them in order to sharpen up, you want to use them to build some confidence and it’s important to take them seriously, but the reality is they mean nothing.”
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann argued the game was relevant, not necessarily because of the result, but because he saw in Nigeria much of what the US will also see in Ghana.
“Especially the first 25 minutes were tricky because both teams were grinding each other out, like we will see a lot in a few days from now in Brazil,” he told reporters after the game. “The midfield battles will go all over the field, every team will be as compact as possible and we won’t see as many chances in the first half.”
Bradley alluded to the fact that, just like in previous matches, the game plan and approach to each match can always change based on the opponent that’s next on the schedule.
“It’s a good win, it’s a good night, the crowd’s great, it allows us to walk out of here with confidence, but to now try to dissect this game and overanalyze it just doesn’t fit,” Bradley said. “Because in nine days we’re playing against Ghana, and everything is about Ghana.”