Toronto FC Season Grades: Michael Bradley

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Michael Bradley
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Michael Bradley /

Tip of the Tower continues to recap the historic MLS Cup winning 2017 campaign, by looking at the performance of Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley.

2017 was a year filled with mixed emotions for Bradley. The American had to put up with a lot with the United States national team, but his play with Toronto FC remained solid all throughout the season.

Greg Vanney’s use of the midfield may be the most important part of Toronto’s success. Vanney loves to line five players up in the middle of the park, and then alternate the play depending on how the game is flowing.

Bradley is the most important player of the midfield tactics, as several teams had to work through the other four of the midfield only to meet up with TFC’s captain. Fans can recall Vanney calling the 30-year-old over to the sideline to rearrange the tactic for him against the Columbus Crew, in order to stop Frederico Higuain from isolating the American.

It seems that no matter what other clubs tried to do to stop the New Jersey native, he always played the same. He stayed calm in the midfield despite the fact a lot of pressure fell on his shoulders.

It can be said that the effort the American put in this past season was completely unmatched by the rest of the Reds. He made an absolutely game-saving tackle on the Crew at BMO Field to prevent a certain goal, which involved him making a 40-yard run to get there in the first place.

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There was no excuse for the USA to capitulate the way they did against Trinidad and Tobago. Boos reigned around opposing stadiums, specifically towards Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Yet again, the captain remained cool and did his job.

Bradley was the leading voice in this historic campaign. The 98′ LA Galaxy likely didn’t have to deal with the media the way Toronto FC did in 2017, and he did a brilliant job handing out praise and realistic analysis on his teammates when needed.

The midfielder logged over 3,000 minutes this season in all competitions, while scoring one goal and providing two assists. No other member of TFC could compare to his three tackles and interceptions per game.

Bradley had pretty much every aspect of his mental and physical capabilities tested this season. At his age, decline is almost bound to happen soon. However, Bradley’s poise and determination likely reached all-time highs in his career, enabling him to focus on what matters and helping the Reds lift their first ever MLS Cup.

Rating: 9/10

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Was Bradley the most important piece to Toronto FC this season? Is 9/10 a bit of a generous rating, or does it summarize his impact? Let us know in the comments below.