Bob Bradley, Michael Bradley - US national team - at 2010 World Cup
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USMNT bring Bob Bradley to camp ahead of crunch World Cup qualifier

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LISTEN: Friday against Panama is a must-win game. Don't let anyone tell you any different. The guys preview the US national team's second-to-last World Cup qualifier from top to bottom, then invite Panamanian journalist David Sakata (18:49) on to re-live the national nightmare ushered in by San Zusi's goal in 2013. Stick around for MLS banter and the mailbag. Subscribe now and "Like" our Facebook page so you never miss a show! Download this episode!

ORLANDO, Fla. – In a few months he’ll don black and gold as he leads LAFC into the spotlight as they make their much-anticipated MLS debut. But this week, Bob Bradley is back in the red, white and blue of US national team gear.

The former USMNT boss has jetted in to Central Florida to lend a hand at the request of US head coach Bruce Arena as the national team prepares for Friday’s enormous World Cup qualifier vs. Panama (7 pm ET | ESPN2, Univision, UDN).

It’s a reunion for Bradley and Arena, who worked together at the University of Virginia in the 1980s, then again to lead D.C. United to the first two MLS Cup titles in 1996 and 1997, and on an occasional basis during Arena’s first stint in charge of the USMNT from 1998-2006, after which point Bradley led the program from 2007-11.

“Bob came in yesterday,” said Arena at his pregame press conference at Orlando City Stadium on Thursday. “I haven’t given him a [specific] role. Bob’s being Bob – I can’t think of a greater resource to have available for us, to take any of the comments he may add, and not to have a better friend or a more supportive person in US Soccer than that. So I think we’re real pleased to have Bob with us for a couple of days to help us prepare for this game.

“He’s also the father of one of our players, that’s a sidenote to all this,” deadpanned Arena, alluding to US captain Michael Bradley.

Bradley compiled a 43-12-25 record in charge of the USMNT, including their thrilling run at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After US Soccer replaced him with Jurgen Klinsmann, he went on to memorable stints with Egypt, Norwegian club Stabaek and French side Le Havre before a short and tumultuous run with Swansea City as the first US manager in the English Premier League.

Bradley will not travel to the Caribbean for Tuesday’s match vs. Trinidad & Tobago (8 pm ET; beIN Sports, Universo).