Later this afternoon, Jurgen Klinsmann will release his provision 30 man squad for the World Cup. There'll be plenty of MLS content in there which is great to see for the league, and part of that of course is Michael Bradley who's the deadest of dead certs to be included. I'll update this here when the squad is announced. Here it is.
Bradley will of course be missing plenty of games before the World Cup, and depending on if the US can get out of their very tough group, may be missing some games after MLS takes it's break as well. That's obviously a huge problem for TFC as Bradley has been remarkably good so far, an obvious step up from Kyle Bekker, Jonathan Osorio (if he's fit) or gulp, Jeremy Hall, whoever may replace him.
All of this was known beforehand of course, Bradley's just as integral to the US squad, so his absence from some games is to be expected and something TFC will have to deal with, and knew it would have to deal with, as part of the package, a trade off I'm sure they're more than happy to take.
The question still remaining though is, when exactly will Bradley be leaving TFC. Though the FIFA mandated deadline where clubs HAVE TO release players is still a while away, Jurgen Klinsmann has made clear his intention to get as many players as possible into their pre tourney camp as soon as possible, with camp starting this Wednesday and the MLS players expected to be there. Obviously this means those players will therefore be missing a lot of games, starting this weekend, but TFC are fighting for Bradley to be given a little bit more time before he reports, so he can play in this weekend's game against New York as well as be available for selection for Wednesday's V-Cup game should TFC want to play him.
This Toronto Star article has an interview with Ryan Nelsen that suggest that negotiation has happened and Bradley will be staying for one extra game.
There had been some confusion as to when Bradley, in particular, would leave TFC to join the U.S. national side. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants Bradley at training camp immediately but Toronto plays the New York Red Bulls on May 17 and Nelsen wants Bradley around for that pivotal match. The coach now says Bradley will depart May 19 or 20.
"Yeah, Jurgen wants Michael right now, but we kinda have been fighting that," Nelsen said with a laugh Tuesday...
Now don't get me wrong, I'd love for Bradley to be available for one last game before he heads off if that is the case, and TFC's under no legal obligation to release anyone right now but really this should absolutely be Jurgen Klinsmann's call. 100%. TFC's wishes should count for nothing here.
There's certainly plenty of arguments to be made that Bradley should be allowed to stay. He's not in any way a doubt to make the team, why not let those on the fringes of the squad make their case to get a place in the team? Also, is one game here going to make a big difference? Yes there's a risk of injury, but injuries can happen in training as well. Also, given he's coming back from an injury, and yet to quite look his best since his return, might not another competitive game under his belt be a good thing for his preparations, actually help out Bradley and the US squad as well as TFC?
There are of course other arguments that really shouldn't cloud his judgement at all, ie TFC pay his wages so they should have a say in when he goes, and the US should be trying to maintain good relations with the club. For a friendly, I'd 100% agree that should be taken into account but that can't be a factor here.
Presumably those arguments have all been put to Klinsmann, and if he's persuaded by them and allows Bradley to play this Saturday, I'd be very happy with that, but it should be (after consulting with Bradley who should have some say) 100% Klinsmann's decision.
Notwithstanding the fact of all the other MLS players, whose clubs would quite rightly view TFC getting an exception as a bit on the unfair side, this is the World Fucking Cup, not one game out of 34 in an MLS season. Whatever Klinsmann thinks is the best way for Bradley to prepare, to give his team the best possible chance is what should happen here.
So, best of luck to Michael Bradley, hopefully TFC will figure out a way to thrive in his absence and get enough points to keep themselves in or around the playoff spots so Bradley doesn't have too much work to do when he returns. It makes sense for them to do what they can to get those points, including trying to keep Bradley around a bit longer, but Klinsmann shouldn't care about that at all, and given what's at stake, his is the only opinion that should really matter.