SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, August 26, 2013
Michael Bradley and AS Roma got the 2013-2014 Serie A season off to a winning start thanks to two second half strikes in quick succession in a victory over Livorno.
AS Livorno 0 - 2 AS Roma
With the match marking the debut for new head coach Rudi Garcia, Bradley received the start in defensive midfield propped in front of the back line alongside Danielle de Rossi, and the duo were an effective pairing helping to limit the Livorno attack to three shots on goal for the match.
The Giallorossi came out with clear attacking intent threatening early on Alessandro Florenzi's beautiful piece of individual skill in the second minute of action, and then again in the seventeenth through new signing Maicon, who made a trademark trashing run down the field before Francesco Bardi could parry his shot.
Roma thought they had indeed broken the deadlock in the 28th minute on a long-range Francesco Totti striker, but the Roman talisman could only look on dismayed as his vicious effort crashed off the crossbar.
In the 65th minute the Romans finally did produce an opener on a wonderfully one-time blast de Rossi; Totti dinked a pass to his fellow Paisan some 25 yards out and the Squadra Azzurra stalwart cocked, fired and connected to make in 1-0.
It was all but academic when Florenzi grabbed his much-deserved goal two minutes later with a top draw finish, as the young Italian tracked down a long ball in the left side of the box and proceeded to hammer it home with well struck left-footed volley in full stride.
It's a great start for Roma, but it is a result that would have been expected for a team with designs on qualifying for Europe this year. That quest continues next week as the Giallorossi celebrate their home opener against newly promoted Hellas Verona on Sunday in the Stadio Olimpico.