You might forgive Mexico coach Miguel Herrera if his praise for a certain player slipped into hyperbole.
Speaking with reporters in April after Mexico’s 2-2 exhibition draw with the U.S. national team, Herrera was asked about U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, who in the first half had scored a goal, chipped in an assist and run riot on Herrera’s defense.
“Bradley looked like he was the best player in the world,” Herrera said.
Whether Bradley is of that exact register is up for debate, but the Toronto F.C. man can make a strong case as the most important player on the U.S. team, which begins its journey to the World Cup in earnest on Tuesday night with an exhibition against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park.
On Thursday, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann shocked the soccer world when he announced the 23-man roster he’ll bring to Brazil. Bradley was included. Landon Donovan, a 32-year-old forward and veteran of three World Cups who is widely regarded as one of the all-time great American soccer players, was not.