SCOTT PETERSON - Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Michael Bradley and Roma only have themselves to blame as victory was well within reach versus AC Milan on Monday night.
Bradley started in midfield alongside Danielle de Rossi and Kevin Strootman; it was the first time this season that all three midfielders got the starting nod under coach Rudi Garcia.
The midfield trio did an excellent job of shutting down any forays forward the Rossoneri made and of getting forward to pose a threat of their own.
The Roman attack was dangerous from the opening whistle despite not starting Francesco Totti, who has only just returned from injury.
Roma hit an opener in the 13th with Mattia Destro finishing on flowing attacking move down the left flank that saw the ball quickly pass through four different players to set up the Italian with a tap in.
The hosts drew level 15 minutes later through Cristian Zapata, who latched onto a flick by Sulley Muntari and wrong-footed keeper Morgan de Sanctis with a close-range header.
Bradley nearly restored the Roman advantage two minutes later on a difficult close-range shot. The American kicked the ball over his head with his left as he was falling away from goal. The lack of power generated and the amount of backspin on his effort gave the defense enough time to literally clear off the line.
Roma did retake the lead on a penalty in the 51st minute by Kevin Strootman, while Bradley missed a gilded opportunity in the 70th minute that saw the American just push his wide-open header from five yards out past the far post.
Having failed to put the game away, Roma conceded ten minutes from time as Mario Balotelli used strength and vision to hold off his defender and pick out Muntari, who buried his chance from nine yards out.
Both teams had a chance at a winner in the game's final ten minutes, but both were undone by a lack of clinical finishing.
With the point Roma remain in second place, five adrift of leaders Juventus. Bradley and the Romans are back in action on Sunday when they host Catania Calcio.