Michael Bradley played the hero for the US national team at Estadio Azteca on Sunday night, scoring the stunning long-range chip that set the Yanks on their way to a hard-earned 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Mexico.
But the captain gave coach Bruce Arena the credit for setting the US back on the path to Russia 2018.
The USMNT are now 2-0-2 in the four qualifiers played since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in the wake of November’s CONCACAF Hexagonal losses to Mexico (in Columbus, Ohio) and at Costa Rica. Back then, the Yanks found themselves in last place in the Hex standings with an 0-2 start to the round. Now, they’ve climbed into third place.
“Look, we were pretty honest with ourselves and understood that we had let a lot of little things drop,” Bradley told FOX Sports immediately after Sunday’s final whistle. “And I think Bruce came in and has done a really good job of just little by little, making sure that we get back to who we are. And we've just got to keep going.”
Though the US lineup and formation in Mexico City was unexpected to most observers, Bradley said the game unfolded according to plan.
“The game went the way we expected it, the way we wanted,” he said. “Any time you can get a point here, that's great. The mentality and the commitment from every guy was really, really good, and now we keep moving ourselves forward.”