Toronto FC will have to make do without their captain for their next Major League Soccer game.
Midfielder Michael Bradley on Sunday was called up by the U.S. national team for a pair of friendlies against the Netherlands in Amsterdam (June 5) and Germany in Cologne (June 10).
TFC visits D.C. United on June 6. A club official confirmed to Sportsnet that Bradley was scheduled to leave Toronto on Sunday night in order to join up with the U.S. national side ahead of these two friendlies.
Bradley, 27, has appeared and started in 10 league matches for Toronto FC this season, with one goal and one assist. He missed one MLS game in March while playing for the national team. Bradley has 13 goals in 96 appearances for the U.S.
What’s interesting is that the game against the Dutch doesn’t fall on an official FIFA international date, which means, technically, TFC doesn’t have to release Bradley.
But considering Bradley’s love of playing for his country and the need to maintain a good relationship with the United States Soccer Federation, the MLS club no doubt didn’t put up too much of a fight, if any at all, to keep him.
The fact the U.S. national team is having this match outside of the FIFA calendar of international dates is the real issue here. MLS has a history of not altering its schedule to accommodate FIFA dates, often leaving its teams without key players who have been called up for national team duty.
Now, the U.S. Soccer Federation appears to be showing the same lack of respect for the FIFA calendar, but MLS teams who lose players due to the U.S. national team call-ups pay the price.