ANALYSIS – It is official, Bob Bradley becomes the twelfth head coach in Toronto FC history. He takes over one of the most disappointing teams in the 2021 MLS season. They went from Supporters’ Shield contenders to second-last in the league in just one year. Bradley will need to figure out a way to improve TFC from the 2021 MLS season.
Bob Bradley named new head coach and sporting director of Toronto FC
A man who needs no introduction.
Welcome to Toronto, Bob Bradley!
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) November 24, 2021
Bob Bradley and his club background
Bradley has quite a diverse coaching background under his belt. His first MLS coaching job was from 1997-02 with the Chicago Fire FC. He won an MLS Cup with the Fire in 1998 and also won two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups in 1998 and 2000. He then coached the MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), the now-defunct Chivas USA side, and most recently, LAFC. Most notably, when Bradley became the head coach of LAFC or Chicago, it was in their first year of MLS. He also won the Supporters’ Shield with Los Angeles FC in 2019 and also was a Concacaf Champions League runners-up in 2020.
Bradley is also a three-time MLS Coach of the Year in 1998, 2006, and 2019. Most famously at the club level, he coached Swansea City, when they were in the Premier League in 2016. This meant that he became the first-ever American coach in the Premier League. He did not do well, however, only earning two wins and two draws in 11 games.
National Team background
He also had a successful national team career. His first team was the United States from 2006-11. During that time, he helped the US win the Gold Cup in 2007 and get runners-up in the same competition in 2009 and 2011. He was also part of the FIFA Confederations Cup runner-up in 2009 with the USMNT. In the Confederations Cup, he helped the USMNT defeat Spain. They would then take a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the final, before giving up three goals and losing the FIFA Confederations Cup Final.
Most notably, his time with Egypt was well-documented. He helped Egypt to the final round of African World Cup qualifying with six wins in the second stage of World Cup qualifying. However, in the third and final stage of World Cup qualifying, Egypt would lose fairly easily to Ghana. Even though Egypt won their home leg 2-1, they lost their road leg on the road 6-1 to Ghana.
Bob Bradley: What he brings to Toronto FC
This is what TFC president Bill Manning said about the hire according to ESPN.
“Bob has experience putting teams together and in getting them to perform at a high level. He understands the expectations and standards of TFC and is ready to take on this challenge.”
Bradley was asked a lot of questions about his new coaching role with TFC. Most notably, there were a lot of questions regarding his son Michael Bradley. The younger Bradley has been with Toronto for about eight years and is considered the captain and leader of the team.
For people wondering about how the two Bradley’s will work in Toronto, this is what Bob said according to Toronto FC:
“No, at that moment I’m not his father that’s simple it’s the same way you deal with anybody you know you have real conversations real discussions you make decisions.”
Lastly, Bradley also talked about Toronto and their roster:
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Ali Curtis, Javier Perez, and most likely Jozy Altidore (according to Fabrizio Romano) are all leaving Toronto FC. Since Altidore is a designated player, Bradley will have the opportunity to get at least one designated player. He will work closely with Bill Manning.
Asked what type of striker Alejandro Pozuelo would like to play with, he says he loves to play with Jozy Altidore or a player like Sebastian Giovinco 👀
— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) November 24, 2021
Giovinco is still under negotiations with TFC according to Steve Buffery, a sports columnist of the Toronto Sun. It is unknown as of right now if Yeferson Soteldo will stay with the team or not.
Saying that this has been a terrible year in MLS for TFC. Hence, why there are so many changes being made. MLSE might have realized that this rebuild might take a few years to come to fruition. This is especially true for the backline, which will need to be improved significantly next year.
Last opinion on Bob Bradley
This is a good hire as Bob has a wealth of experience in MLS and Europe. Will Bob lead TFC to an MLS Cup and/or Supporters’ Shield eventually, maybe? Also, in his press conference, he admits he does not have all the answers. This honesty is needed and shows that Bob will not be taking anything for granted.
What is most exciting though with Bob is his vision for the academy, second, and first-team of Toronto FC. This is what Bob said:
“As a sports director my ability to connect dots between the first team the second team the academy can there be some ideas in terms of how we play so that that already young players coming through the academy there’s a certain there are certain things that are worked on and players are developed with the idea that they’re going to become first-team players at TFC.”
Doesn't take long to see that Toronto is something special ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WDz997I8ni
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) November 24, 2021
He also appreciates the city of Toronto and its soccer history. This is something to appreciate. One thing TFC fans will look at is the number of injuries TFC experienced this year. Yes, injuries are a part of the game, but the injuries kept piling up throughout the year. This included Alejandro Pozuelo getting injured in the Canadian Championship Final loss to CF Montreal. It is up to Bradley and his coaching staff to find a way to minimize those injuries next year.
Lastly, his experience with winning the U.S. Open is needed with the Canadian Championship. This is true with the success of the CPL. This included Forge FC (based in Hamilton), who became the first-ever CPL team to make the Concacaf Champions League. TFC is set to face Forge for the 2020 Voyageurs Cup sometime next year.