Michael Bradley (white jersey) and the USA will meet Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup's match for third place on July 25, 2015, in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHESTER, Pennsylvania -- Michael Bradley admits that playing for a bronze medal in any competition doesn’t mean much to him personally.
Saying that, the U.S. captain expects that he and his teammates will go full throttle when they meet Panama in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup’s match for third place on Saturday at PPL Park.
"We have responsibility to ourselves, to our fans, to step onto the field and play well to compete and to give anybody who walks into the stadium a good show and we'll do that," he said prior to Friday’s training session.
The five-time champion was still licking its wounds after a 2-1 semifinal loss to Jamaica in Atlanta on Wednesday. It was only the fourth time in Gold Cup history that the Americans failed to reach the final and the second time they lost in any game to a Caribbean team on home soil.
Bradley strongly shot down perceptions that the U.S. felt it had an easy time in CONCACAF competitions.
"There's this prevailing narrative that competition is rising," the 27-year-old stressed. "It's never been easy. Never. I've played in Gold Cups, World Cup qualifiers. These games are dogfights in every way. So this idea that used to be a breeze for us and now it’s not, it’s not true.
"In 2007, we won the Gold Cup, had difficult games along the way. In 2011, we lost in the final, had difficult games along the way. Now, 2015, we lose in the semifinals and have difficult games along the way."
While expectations were high to reach the final if not win it, Bradley claimed that the Americans never expected a cakewalk.
"We have no divine right to win this tournament, to be in the final," he finished. "There's nobody on the inside of this group who thinks that. You start the tournament knowing that it’s going to be a grind and a challenge every possible way, mentally, physically, your ability to deal with everything that gets thrown at you.
“Our focus and commitment never wavered."