PREVIEW: AS ROMA - CATANIA
Michael Bradley could debut in midfield for his new club AS Rome on Sunday as the 2012-2013 Serie A season kicks off this weekend when the Giallorossi host Catania Calcio.
Since securing his move to the Eternal City after putting in an impressive season last term with Chievo Verona, the 25 year old Bradley has found himself with a new club for the fourth time in three years and facing his most difficult task to date - trying to establish himself at one of the world's most storied soccer clubs.
As to be expected at a club of such magnitude, competition for a starting spot in the Giallorossi midfield has been stout.
With stalwarts and club legends Simone Perrotta and Brazilian Rodrigo Taddei, and a group of young prospects, of whom the Roma brass think highly, not to mention Squadra Azzurri mainstay Danielle De Rossi, it will be a true test for Bradley to get on the field regularly.
If the preseason is any indication, however, Bradley has already passed the first hurdle starting regularly in preseason friendlies and is being tipped to start to the right of captain De Rossi, with 21 year old Bosnian Miralem Pjanic manning the other midfield spot in head coach Zdenek Zeman's 4-3-3.
Expectations in Rome are high as always, but there is a real sense of belief that Roma can improve on last season's 7th place finish and sneak into Champions league spot and, possibly, make a challenge for the Scudetto.
The first step comes Sunday as Sicilian squad Catania Calcio comes to town looking to build off an impressive 2011-2012 campaign themselves, in which they finished a respectable 11th.
Catania is led by Italian midfielder Francesco Lodi, who, along with Argentine forward Gonzalo Bergessio, topped Catania's scoring sheet, with the pair netting nine and seven goals respectively.
Kickoff is set for Sunday evening in the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital at 8:45 p.m. local time.