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US soccer coach bristles at Obama promise

Posted by Monique Walker, Globe Staff  July 11, 2009 10:45 PM

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By David Beard, Globe Staff

President Obama put the pressure on US national soccer coach Bob Bradley -- and Bradley isn't happy about it.

In a chat on Thursday with Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Obama responded to razzing about the US team's loss to Brazil earlier this month after leading 2-0. After accepting a signed Brazilian national team jersey, Obama said he told Brazil's leader that "we're not gonna give up a 2-goal lead."

On Saturday night, after a last-minute tie against an unheralded Haiti team, Coach Bradley was asked if Obama's promise upped the pressure on him.

Visibly irked, Bradley told the Boston Globe: "It's easy for him to say that. That's what I would say to that.''

Minutes earlier, Bradley reflected on that nightmarish 3-2 loss to Brazil by noting similarities with Saturday night's game, in which the United States gave up a 1-0 lead by allowing two quick second-half Haitian goals.

"We didn't need a second reminder of what it is like to give up a goal 45 seconds in the second half,'' Bradley said.

On Saturday night, the US squad salvaged the tie with a last-minute goal by midfielder Stuart Holden. The Americans advance to the quarterfinals next weekend in Philadelphia of the Gold Cup of the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football.

Obama's comment Thursday followed a series of teasing remarks by the Brazil's president of his nation's come-from-behind victory in the Confederation Cup in South Africa. The Brazilian leader repeatedly used Obama's campaign catchphrase "Yes We Can'' in describing his team's comeback.

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