Discussion

Michael Bradley's emerging role

Updated: October 12, 2012, 2:42 PM ET
By Doug McIntyre

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- There is a silver lining to the storm clouds gathering above the U.S. national team on its high-stakes visit to this tiny Caribbean nation (figuratively and literally, as rain is forecast for Friday's pivotal World Cup qualifier): his name is Michael Bradley.

The veteran midfielder missed the Yanks' last two games, a win and a loss against Jamaica, with a strained calf. With projected starters Landon Donovan (knee) and Fabian Johnson (flu) out against Antigua and Barbuda (population 90,000) and striker Jozy Altidore controversially left off the American roster, Bradley's return to the heart of Jurgen Klinsmann's lineup couldn't come at a more crucial time.

MORE SPORTS HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM