In sports, everyone is a winner-some people just win better than others. Like Bob Bradley's exclusion of Charlie Davies from the World Cup roster, which, thanks to Davies's overly cautious Ligue 1 side, isn't Bradley's fault.
Monday, the USMNT released their provisional squad, 30 players from which coach Bradley will eventually choose 23 to head to South Africa with. Davies was nowhere to be seen. It came out last night that Sochaux, his French club, sent Bradley a letter saying they would not medically clear him for the World Cup, as he's not yet recovered from his October car accident.
It's frustrating because for the past months I've been training with the (Sochaux) team," Davies said. "I've progressed a lot, I continue to progress, I still have to progress but I'm definitely ready to play.
"It's a very strange situation, I feel hurt because I feel like I've been let down by my club."
Better his club than his country. Bradley was never going to put Davies on the final 23-man roster, and a place in the preliminary 30 would have just been a sop. So having Davies's — and the fans' — anger directed toward Sochaux instead is a blessing, and not even one particularly in disguise.
Think about every piece of news you've read about how Davies's rehab has been going, and how he would be ready for June. They've all come directly from Davies himself. No quotes from medical personnel, nor his French team, nor the USMNT. He's not ready. And how could he be, only seven months after suffering a broken elbow, a broken femur, tibia and fibula, a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder, and bleeding on the brain?
The argument in some circles is that 75 percent of Charlie Davies is still better than 100 percent of, say, Edson Buddle. But that's based on just a handful of games last summer. Sure, Davies got hot for a while, but let's not forget he only has four international goals in his career. He's 23; he's got a few World Cups ahead of him. He wasn't going to be our difference maker this time around.
America isn't a big soccer nation just yet, but we're up there with the best when it comes to blaming coaches. Bradley escapes some major criticism here because we'll instead turn to the other thing we're really good at: blaming the French.