Michael Bradley's Roma took home a convincing 3-1 win against the MLS All-Stars in Kansas City with goals from Kevin Strootman, Alessandro Florenzi and Junior Tallo. Overall, it was a great team effort for Serie A hopefuls Roma, but lets take a look at Roma players who particularly impressed.
Michael Bradley stood out as one of the best players on the pitch. And I'm not simply saying this to promote the ex-MLS American star on his home soil.
Operating in what seems to be an ideal box-to-box role, he demonstrated grit and determination at both ends of the pitch.
In defense, he could be seen closing down spaces and applying pressure to the All-Star midfield. He was winning balls back, tidying up corner kicks and using truly Italian technique to sweep the ball effortlessly to his teammates.
In offense he supplied support and made several killing runs, ultimately his attacking play culminating in the setup for the third goal. A delicate touch from the American saw Kevin Strootman through, whose pass was then put away by Junior Tallo.
With continued performances like this one, he could find himself consistently in Roma's starting lineup. And there is no question about how he will operate with Strootman. Together, they seem quite a formidable midfield duo.
After a relatively unsuccessful spell at Serie B side Bari, it was great to see Rudi Garcia giving the 20-year-old striker a chance with a start against the All-Stars.
The Ivorian showed great strength and pace on the ball throughout the game, consistently combining well with Totti's through balls and making one particularly good effort with an outside-of-the-foot volley in the first half.
But it was his work ethic that was truly inspiring. He could be found spear-pointing the attack alongside Alessandro Florenzi, only to sprint back to play in the role of a defensive winger, covering the center of the pitch when the ball was lost.
It was great to see his efforts culminating with a goal thanks to Strootman's unselfish pass. KICKTV emphasizes this moment.
Junior Tallo makes it 3-0. Roma did not come here to mess around. #MLSAllStar— KICKTV (@KICKTV) August 1, 2013
Perhaps Tallo will be loaned off again, but he's shown his qualities and looks to be a great prospect for the future.
There's simply no way to avoid Totti's mention with Roma. Although he disappeared somewhat in the second half, his first-half performance was a delight to watch.
Played in the left-wing playmaker role as he was utilized by Zdenek Zeman last season, Totti added that eternal class to the Roma attack. He consistently combined well with Federico Balzaretti, Florenzi and Tallo with quintessential back-heeled flicks and perfectly weighted through balls.
It truly would be a shame for this to be Totti's last season. He still has plenty more to provide his team. For, as the Guardian's Paolo Bandini notes:
And Totti. Just Totti. A man who can with a single pass make you feel privileged just to exist in the same universe. #mlsallstar— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) August 1, 2013
Another midfielder vying for a spot in the starting lineup, Florenzi's dedication can't be questioned. He can furthermore be encouraged that his versatility and nonstop running will keep him in Rudi Garcia's constant consideration.
Starting as part of the attacking trident, Florenzi popped up on pretty much every part of the pitch, reinforcing the midfield and timing blistering runs into the All-Stars' box. Perhaps it's best that his favorite position remains elusive, as he has proven to be a formidable option anywhere he's placed.
Although he made some errors early on in the match, including a giveaway and few bad touches, Strootman is beginning to show why Roma have invested so heavily in him.
Technically on-par with any of his teammates, demonstrating this with several clever dribbles, he looks to be a key to the solidification of Roma's midfield.
Working unquestionably well alongside Bradley, Strootman bolstered the defense and broke through in attack with a goal to show for his efforts. He provided ample cover for Miralem Pjanic, who was dropping deep and providing the passes, in addition to putting endless pressure against the All-Stars' midfield.
ESPNFC's Roma blogger Julian De Martinis was equally impressed:
Strootman impressing the hell out of me.— Julian of Martinis (@JulianDM11) August 1, 2013
Once he's fully match fit and fully acquainted with his teammates, he'll be an invaluable asset to his squad.