SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, November 5, 2012
Michael Bradley started and went the distance Sunday evening as the Romans dispatched Palermo in Serie A.
Bradley has begun to factor more heavily of late into head coach Zdenek Zeman's with the Czech skipper pegging the American to start in the last two matches.
Just as they did in Wednesday's defeat to Parma, Roma grabbed an early lead.
Ivan Piris back-heeled the ball over his marker to get into the box and get off a cross for Francesco Totti, whose headed effort was parried into the post by keeper Samir Ujkani. The carom then came back to the captain and his second header found its way into goal in the 11th minute.
Piris notched another assist in the 31st minute as his long ball for Daniel Osvaldo was jarred loose from keeper Ujkani's hands by defender Ezequiel Muñoz; Osvaldo pounced and scored to double the home team's lead.
The third Roman goal was a result of some excellent crisp passing in the attacking third with Totti playing Greek winger Panagiotis Tachtsidis in behind defense. The Greek took a touch, got his head up to survey his options and then found Erik Lamela at the back post for an easy tap in in the 69th minute.
In the 79th, Roma added a fourth with Lamela finding substitute Mattia Destro behind the Sicilian ranks. The striker then rounded keeper Ujkani to slot home into an empty net.
The aforementioned Destro came on in the 74th minute, saw yellow for a reckless challenge and, after finding the back of the net, removed his shirt in celebration - an automatic caution, thus ending a brief but eventful six minutes of action.
The Sicilians found a consolation goal in the 84th minute through Josip Ilicic, who got onto a long ball to beat keeper Mauro Giocoechea with a blast into the upper corner.
Bradley and Roma host bitter crosstown rivals Lazio next week. With the win, Roma now sits in sixth place with 17 points.