Jurgen Klinsmann believes that MLS players are at a fitness disadvantage compared to European-based players. And then there's Michael Bradley.
I'm also told when beep test ended Michael Bradley was still going. Only happened once b4 in #USMNT history when Donovan and Hejduk did it.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) May 22, 2014
So the test that everyone fears and has led players to vomit, Bradley basically beat it.
Bradley is always the fittest player on the pitch. He's always been the one that is still out-running players in the 90th minute after spending an entire match covering more ground than everyone else on the pitch. For all of the talk about how smart Bradley is, or the kind of leader he is, or how technically sound he is, Bradley's best attribute has always been his fitness.
While some dismiss fitness as too brute -- United States teams have long been defined by their physicality and fitness, leaving fans to long for skill and technicality -- there is a reason Klinsmann has emphasized fitness since taking over.
All of the technical ability in the world doesn't mean a thing if you don't have your legs under you and can't defend late in a match. That's especially true of midfielders and Bradley is the most important midfielder the U.S. has. They are going to need his trademark fitness to push them forward and shield the back line late in matches because, as we've seen when he doesn't play, if he doesn't do it then no one else will.