SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, October 28, 2013
Michael Bradley came back in style for undefeated AS Roma, coming off the bench and coming up big with the game-winning goal late on for 10-man Roma vs. Udinese.
After missing the past five matches with an ankle injury, Bradley finally returned to the field in the 78th minute on Sunday versus Udinese and promptly contributed to Roma's unbeaten start in the Serie A.
Without Il Capitano Francesco Totti available due to a thigh injury, Udinese was able to control the proceedings, while Roma could not jump start its attack.
Udinese gave Roma all they could handle from the get-go, hitting the post in the third minute through Luis Muriel, before Antonio di Natale forced keeper Morgen de Sanctis into a save in the 19th minute.
The hosts thought they had scored in the 38th minute as Gabriel Silva latched on to a through ball from Muriel with his left, only to have the effort acrobatically cleared off the line with a flying clearance by Leandro Catan.
It was not until Brazilian right back Maicon skidded a long-range shot just past the goal in the 43rd minute that Roma displayed any intent in attack.
In the 66th Maicon was given an early shower for his second bookable offense, committing a needless foul in an innocuous position of the pitch.
Then came Bradley's moment: Dutch midfielder held up the ball on the left edge of the box and laid the ball off into the path of an onrushing Bradley. The Yank cocked and fired one-time with the inside of his boot from 22 yards out and curled his effort inside the near post in the 82nd minute.
With the victory, Roma move five points clear of Napoli in the latest standings and have a ridiculous ratio of 23 goals for versus just 1 against.
Up next for the Giallorossi is a home contest versus Bradley's old club Chievo Verona.