JOHANNESBURG - United States coach Bob Bradley could not put a fatherly arm around the shoulders of his son Michael after his red card against Spain cost him a place in Sunday's Confederations Cup final. Michael, a pugnacious 21-year-old midfielder, had an outstanding game as the U.S. produced one of the biggest international upsets of all time to beat Spain 2-0 in Wednesday's semi-final. But he will miss the final against Brazil after being red carded three minutes from time for a clumsy challenge on Xabi Alonso. However, coach Bradley said on Saturday at his eve-of-final news briefing that he could not treat his son any differently from any other player in the build-up to Sunday's match. "For any player to be three minutes from your first major final and to lose that opportunity, that's a difficult moment. I think it feels like someone ripped your heart out. But it's out of moments like this that players grow. "I speak to all the guys in the squad from my heart. I believe in man-to-man conversations, that's how I was raised." He added: "I shared thoughts with him (Michael) how you handle these moments and shared thoughts with him about how I felt he had played and done for the team. "And I made sure he understood that as disappointed as he might be, it was important that he had to be strong in the group over the next few days so he could contribute and help us win." Bradley now has to re-jig his side for the U.S.'s first final in a major FIFA competition and is likely to bring Brazilian-born Benny Feilhaber into the midfield. The U.S. will be approaching the game in a vastly different frame of mind from their group match against Brazil last week which they lost 3-0. Bradley said: "Against Brazil we started too tentatively and we fell behind and then the game plan very quickly gets thrown out. "I think we learned and in the last two matches against Egypt and Spain we started with more energy, more aggressiveness." The United States have played Brazil 15 times, winning once and losing 14.
27 June 2009
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