Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore wrapped up their January camp with the United States Men's National Team on a high note as the duo both started in the team's 2-0 win over Panama.
While Altidore put in a decent 45 minute performance he failed to make any major impact on the match before being replaced by Chris Wondolowski at the half. He did nearly get himself on the score sheet though as he was just inches away from getting himself on the end of a Bradley corner. Instead, this happened:
H/T to Footy Vines
In his post game comments Bradley claimed that he was aiming for the goal on that corner kick and when you watch the video you can make the case that he was. Jaime Penedo, the Panamanian goalkeeper, was a bit far forward in his goal leaving the option of hitting the back post open for Bradley and he went for it. If the ball had not had enough curve on it it would have been right in the danger zone for the likes of Altidore but instead Bradley put just enough swerve on his effort to tuck it in to the top corner of the far side of the goal. It is not often that you get to see a goal scored directly off a corner (often called an Olimpico) so this will be one to savour for Bradley.
Outside of the goal, Bradley looked like his dominant self in this game. He went the full 90 minutes in that more attacking midfield role that Jurgen Klinsmann loves to play him in. It may not be Bradley's best role but on the day he was able to have a major impact on the match from higher up the park completing 64 passes on 75 attempts.
Over the course of 90 minutes Bradley proved that when he is at his best he can be the engine that makes this USMNT team go. It was arguably his best performance for the national team since his showing against Mexico in the lead-up to last summer's World Cup. It was about time for American fans who were growing impatient with the teams struggles in recent months.
A performance like this should get TFC fans excited for what Bradley could do for the club this season. It is clear that the injury and mileage issues that slowed him down last season are behind him and he is looking capable of dominating once more. That is just in time as next up for Bradley (and Altidore) is joining the team back in Toronto on Monday.