Bradley: USA want to peak at the right time

United States midfielder Michael Bradley is hopeful his team can build on their opening Group G win when they face Portugal on Sunday.

Jurgen Klinsmann's men opened their FIFA World Cup campaign with a narrow 2-1 win over Ghana, while Portugal were routed 4-0 by Germany in game one.

The USA made a blistering start against the African nation, scoring after 39 seconds through Clint Dempsey before substitute defender John Brooks cancelled out Andre Ayew's equaliser with four minutes remaining.

Bradley and his team-mates were admittedly sluggish after hitting the front so early in the match but speaking ahead of Sunday's clash in Manaus, the 26-year-old stressed the importance of not peaking too early at the World Cup.

"We want to feel like, now as the tournament is going on, that we are improving and growing because the teams that are around in the end are always the teams that are able to do that," Bradley said.

"You obviously can't pick and choose but still, you never want to play your best game first.

"You want to feel like as the tournament is moving on, as the tournament is progressing, the team and every guy is continuing to grow and get better and get stronger.

"It's important that we start off with three points, because at the end of the day, that was the most important thing from that first game.

"Now we want to follow that up with another good game and more points."

Bradley experienced one of his least influential games in recent memory, managing just 43 passes throughout the entire 90 minutes against Ghana.

However, the Toronto FC midfielder said the performance showed the team can win in different ways.

"I'm certainly honest enough and hard enough with myself to know that it wasn't my sharpest night, but unfortunately, they're not all going to be (good)," he said.

"On those days it's still about finding every possible way to help your team.

"I think as a team we realized at a certain point that it wasn't going to be a night for making a million passes or necessarily playing the most beautiful soccer.

"It was about run and attack, closing down and making the game hard on Ghana."


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