Unless James Pallotta's brother-in-law's nephew's college roommate eventually dons the yellow and red, there may never be a more controversial player to suit up for Roma than Michael Bradley, more due to his nationality than his actual skill on the pitch. Granted, no one will ever confuse Bradley, no matter where he plays, for Roy Keane, but he was always a solid, if not spectacular player in his year-and-a-half at Roma; if you unfurl your prejudices about American players, I think you'll see Bradley was as advertised; a steady player meant to round out a squad, not take it to the next level.
That doesn't mean he wasn't without his moments, and the Bald Beauty never shone brighter than during Roma's trip to Udinese in the fall. Lex Luther's winning goal versus the Zebras is next up in our celebration of Roma's scores of the season.
October 27, 2013: 82nd Minute
First things first, this goal was more about the moment and significance rather than athletic artistry. Having said that, this was a lovely bit of teamwork from Kevin Strootman and Michael Bradley, one that delivered Roma her ninth straight victory. After receiving a long ball from the center strip, Strootman was able to settle the ball, cut inside and create space for himself, but what happened next was so subtle, so smart, and so beautiful.
Notice how Strootman stutter steps while continuing to shuffle inwards, patiently waiting for Bradley to enter the suddenly free space, then perfectly slides it over to the onrushing American. While the goal itself may seem sort of blasé, take a look at Ivan Kelava's positioning. The Udine keeper was already committing to his left, so rather than trying to burying inside the near post, Bradley plays the part of a golfer, chipping it out of a sand trap, calmly guiding the ball to the lower left hand corner.
Nothing fancy, nothing powerful, but Bradley delivered.
Just for shits and giggles, here's the Zampafied-Lex Luther version.
For Roma, this meant their record setting win streak stayed intact for one more week, for Bradley, it was undoubtedly the highlight of his brief Roma career, as he was sold off to Toronto FC two months later.
Was this the best goal we've ever seen? Of course not, but it was smartly taken and wonderfully executed, and will stand as fitting final memory for a solid player and all around good guy. And hey, who knows, maybe we'll see The Bald Beauty at the FIFA Club World Championships someday.