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Soccer notes

US rewards Bradley with 4-year deal

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / August 31, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH — Before yesterday, Bob Bradley had four months remaining on his contract as US national team coach. Now, Bradley has a new deal for another four years, taking him through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and beyond.

Negotiations between Bradley and US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati began after the US returned from the World Cup in South Africa two months ago. An agreement was reached yesterday following a meeting involving Gulati and Ron Waxman, Bradley’s agent.

“Talks were always positive,’’ Waxman said from New York. “I am very happy and Bob has always been honored to be coach of the national team and he is very happy to continue.’’

Bradley, 52, took over as interim coach following the 2006 World Cup and has guided the US to a 38-20-8 record, including the 2007 Gold Cup title, a runner-up finish in the 2009 Confederations Cup, and advancement to the second round of the World Cup. The US defeated Algeria (1-0) and drew with England (1-1) and Slovenia (2-2) in finishing first in group play for the first time ever, then was eliminated by Ghana (2-1).

Bradley coached the Chicago Fire to the 1998 MLS Cup and US Open Cup titles and has also guided the New York MetroStars and Chivas USA.

Fireworks on tap?
The fourth annual SuperLiga final at Gillette Stadium tomorrow night will be refereed by Guatemala’s Carlos Batres, who worked two games in the recent World Cup.

The game between Club Monarcas Morelia and the Revolution could be challenging for Batres, who was involved in a wild game in his last appearance at Gillette, a SuperLiga semifinal in July 2008. That night, Batres ejected four players and issued 14 cautions (10 in regulation and four in injury time) as the Revolution took a 1-0 victory over Atlante. The second half included five minutes of added time, after which a major brawl erupted. Atlante’s Luis Gabriel Rey was red-carded in the 85th minute and Alan Zamora was ejected after receiving yellow cards in the 84th and 91st. After the game, the Revolution’s Jay Heaps and Atlante goalkeeper Federico Vilar received red cards.

Gabriel Rey and Vilar will be performing tomorrow for Morelia. Six current Revolution players were involved in the 2008 game: Shalrie Joseph, Kheli Dube, Kenny Mansally, Sainey Nyassi, Khano Smith, and goalkeeper Matt Reis. Vilar’s three-game suspension for his part in the postgame conflicts were served during the SuperLiga this year, so he missed the Revolution’s 1-0 victory over Morelia last month.

Morelia arrived in Boston Sunday night and trained at Gillette last night, Monarcas players and coach Tomas Boy tossing an American football around before and after practice.

“I think this game will be different because both teams are in a different moment,’’ Boy said. “We are in our season — it’s not preseason. I think our level is better. We have started well but we also know [last] time the Revolution did not have all their starters. Both teams are different. I know they are not doing well in their league but they are playing at home, on their field, and that bolsters them. In general, I think a final is one game and in one game anything can happen.’’

Gabriel Rey, Vilar, and Chilean midfielder Hugo Droguett were missing from the Morelia lineup when the teams met July 20. Also included in the Monarcas lineup is midfielder Elias Hernandez, 22, who has been called up to the Mexican national team for games next month.

Morelia could be a contender for the Liga Mexicana de Futbol title this season. And a SuperLiga title will be worth more than $300,000 to the winner.

“Money is always there but it’s the second objective,’’ Boy said. “Winning a championship is the primary objective. We have players who have not won a championship, and a coach who hasn’t won a championship. We’ve been close but — more than anything this is a competition which, as it continues, it’s going to get much better, because the Americans get better every day.’’

Boy was a star player in Mexico and performed in the 1986 World Cup, as did Revolution coach Steve Nicol.

“Of course, I remember him, he played for Scotland,’’ Boy said of Nicol. “They played the ball in the air and were very physical, they built their game on the wings and they had players who were really fast.’’

Mexico reached the quarterfinals, losing to Germany on penalty kicks, and Scotland was eliminated in group play in the ’86 World Cup in Mexico.

Williams joins Union
Boston’s Sheanon Williams signed an MLS contract with the Philadelphia Union and will participate in his first practice today. Williams expects to be in the right back position after performing as a striker for the Harrisburg City Islanders.

“Playing forward again was a good experience,’’ Williams said. “It was definitely a lot of fun to be back there, but whatever gets me on the field is all right with me. It’s not that hard, it’s been a good transition for me and I’ve adapted well to both positions. It just takes a few days to get used to things.’’

The Union will meet CD Guadalajara in an exhibition tomorrow.

“I would love to be out there playing but, if not, I will wait patiently,’’ Williams said. “Just being able to play is good. I’ve been given a great opportunity by Philadelphia and I am going to take advantage of it.’’

Union assistant coach John Hackworth, who guided Williams in the US Under-20 program, recommended the signing. Williams had trained with the Revolution after returning from European tryouts, but was assigned to Real Salt Lake by the league before joining Harrisburg.

“It wasn’t really the Revolution’s fault,’’ Williams said. “It’s not like they didn’t want to sign me. At that time I couldn’t go and sign with any MLS team, I had to enter a lottery, and I ended up in Salt Lake. No hard feelings — I followed [the Revolution] growing up and I had the opportunity to go and train with the Revolution and got a taste of what it’s like to play in the MLS.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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