Saturday September 22nd is not only the birth of a new season, though rampant climate change would have you believe otherwise, but it’s also the beginning of a brand new adventure for AS Roma; the first official match of AS Roma Femminile, a/k/a the Giallorosse. After formally announcing the squad over the summer, the women of Rome captured the first ever Trofeo Luisa Petrucci earlier this month by soundly defeating Florentia in a 4-0 laugher.
However, if recent history on the men’s side of the hallway has shown us anything, it’s that preseason accolades are utterly meaningless. Given that this is a brand new venture, and the source material (at least in English) on the coach and players is virtually non-existent, I can’t pretend to know all the Xs and Os of Elisabetta Bavagnoli’s tactical philosophy, though I obviously pray to God she’s not a 4-3-3 devotee like her male counterpart.
We can, however, draw some early conclusions from that 4-0 thrashing of Florentia:
Hopefully you’re actually seeing the highlights embedded above, our story editor isn’t too keen on raw HTML, even if it’s organically sourced, but what we can see in that clip is a squad that looks pretty fond of quick, vertical passing, utilizing the middle of the pitch efficiently and, at least on that afternoon, effectively (imagine that).
Sassuolo v. Roma: September 22nd, 15:00 CET/9:00 EDT. Sassuolo.
In our coverage of the team thus far, we’ve focused largely on Elisa Bartoli, the club’s captain and resident Roman, and much like her fellow Roman/captain, Daniele De Rossi, she looks like the heart and hustle of the team, winning 50/50s and spreading the play from the back....but, and again based on that one clip, she may soon be eclipsed in the headlines by a few others.
First and foremost is Agnese Bonfantini, a 19-year-old striker/winger who has absolutely lit it up with the U19s, scoring seven goals in eight appearances. As you can see in the clips above, she can absolutely fly and seems to be the club’s most dangerous open field player, so it’s no wonder she cites Neymar and Leon Bailey among her favorite players. But thanks to her athleticism and ability to wreak havoc in the final third, she’s been hailed as the Italian Alex Morgan...and, wow, it is really weird to compare an Italian footballer to an American, this is going to take some getting used to. There are also clubs called ‘Fiorentina’ and ‘Florentia’...this is going to be an adjustment for us all.
Outside of Bonfantini, Annamaria Serturini and Flaminia Simonetti stood out against Florentia, with the latter pulling off a splendid solo effort in the second half, driving down the right flank, cutting in from 30-yards-out before completely juking the final defender and beating the keeper far post from 15-yards out. Serturini followed up with the club’s fourth goal, capping a rousing victory and giving us an inkling of how Bavanogli’s team will play this season.
As with anything Roma related, sample size is an issue, and certainly as the weeks roll on the true standouts will show themselves, but with Bartoli leading from midfield and the trio of Bonfantini, Serturini and Simonetti running wild up front, the Giallorosse may actually hit the ground running this season.