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The state of the USMNT

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United States 'back to who we are' under Bruce Arena - Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley praised coach Bruce Arena on Sunday night for getting the national team back on track after guiding the United States to a 1-1 draw at Mexico.

The U.S. captain scored from a superb long-range strike to secure an important World Cup qualifying point at the Estadio Azteca and keep his team on pace to reach Russia in 2018.

Arena is unbeaten as U.S. coach since his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann was fired in November following two defeats to open the final qualifying round, and Bradley credited the new boss for restoring success.

"Look, we were pretty honest with ourselves and understood that we had let a lot of little things drop," Bradley told FS1 of moving past last year's losses to Mexico and Costa Rica.

"I think Bruce came in and has done a really good job of just little by little, making sure that we get back to who we are. And we've just got to keep going."

The U.S. has won both of its home qualifiers and earned two away draws under Arena to move into third place in the CONCACAF table and now have an 81 percent chance to qualify for the World Cup, according to ESPN's SPI.

Arena introduced what he called a 3-4-3 formation -- though it looked more like 5-4-1 when defending -- for Sunday's game, and Bradley said the match went according to plan, despite the hostile conditions and short rest from Thursday's win over Trinidad and Tobago.

"The game went the way we expected it, the way we wanted," Bradley said. "Any time you can get a point here, that's great. The mentality and the commitment from every guy was really, really good, and now we keep moving ourselves forward."

As for his remarkable goal, Bradley said the high elevation in Mexico City might have played a part.

"Here you know that if you catch a ball right, that with the thin air the ball's going to really fly," he told reporters.

The U.S. next plays Ghana in a friendly in Connecticut on July 1 ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which it will face Panama, Martinique and Nicaragua in the group stage.

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