SHORT TAKES

 

• Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision to make midfielder Michael Bradley the USA captain for the Gold Cup, instead of forward Clint Dempsey, is yet another sign that the coach plans to make Bradley the centerpiece of the national team. The 27-year-old is America’s best player, and the national team’s recent wins in the Netherlands and in Germany were confirmation that the team looks best when he’s deployed as the focus of the American attack.

 

• Look for Minnesota United to announce a signing in the near future. Coach Manny Lagos was clear in his desire to bring in a wide midfield player, calling that his top summer priority, in terms of player acquisitions. Given that a domestic move probably would have happened before tonight’s fall-season opener vs. Carolina and that the international transfer window opens July 8, it’s fair to expect a signing next week.

 

• Today’s Copa America final between Chile and Argentina is a chance for Chile to win in front of the home fans — but is also a chance for Lionel Messi to finally win a major trophy for Argentina. Some wondered if the pressure was getting to Messi early in the tournament, with the maestro not his usual unstoppable self, but his three assists in Argentina’s 6-1 semifinal thrashing of Paraguay put an end to much of that talk. Lifting the trophy would also do wonders for Messi in the long-running comparisons to the legendary Diego Maradona — who won the World Cup for Argentina but never the Copa America.

 

 More emphasis on the MLS Supporters’ Shield, given to the league’s regular-season points leader, would be a boon to MLS. Given that 12 of the 20 teams make the playoffs, the only drama tends to be a race between mediocre teams to clinch the last few playoff berths. It’s hard to get excited about the trophy, though, when the two conferences are so unbalanced; DC United, which has the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, gets to play 24 of its 34 games against the much weaker East. Short of going to a balanced schedule, it’s hard to see how to fix this.