SCOTT PETERSON - Sunday, January 6, 2013
Michael Bradley put in a full 90 minutes of work Sunday evening as Roma succumbed to Napoli and an Edinson Cavani hat trick.
Bradley started alongside Danielle de Rossi in midfield for the Romans, who came into matchday 19 hoping to continue their assault on the top of the Serie A standings.
Instead, it was Napoli that came out guns blazing.
Uruguayan hit man Cavani fired the home team in front after just four minutes when Goran Pandev weighted a perfect pass past the Roman backline and onto the striker's right boot. The shot was slightly redirected by Mauro Goicoechea, but Cavani's shot powered its way into the back of the net.
Cavani hit his second in the 47th as he took advantage of some shoddy defending in the box, pouncing on a loose ball and tucking a left-footed shot inside the near post.
After 69 minutes it was three and a third for Napoli and Cavani, as he bounced in a header from the spot to complete the hat trick and take his league-high goal tally to 16.
Roma pulled one back in the 72nd minute when Miralem Pjanic slipped a pass into the path of Paolo Osvaldo, who converted from close range.
Any hopes of a Roman comeback were dashed just two minutes later as the aforementioned Pjanic picked up his second bookable offense and was sent off.
Just before time expired, Napoli tacked on one last goal through Christian Maggio, who was played in behind the defense and converted his own rebound in the second minute of stoppage time.
With the loss, Roma remain in sixth place with 32 points two behind Milan. Up next for Bradley and Roma is a Saturday date in Sicily against Calcio Catania.