MLS All-Stars vs. AS Roma: Players to Watch in Exciting Matchup

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2013

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 01:  Landon Donovan #10 of Los Angeles Galaxy kicks a penalty kick and scores in the second half while taking on the Houston Dynamo in the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Major League Soccer's All-Stars ended a three-year losing skid to European clubs with a 3-2 victory over Chelsea last summer. The group now hopes to start a modest winning streak by taking down a talented Roma side.

The Giallorossi finished sixth in Serie A last season. They are led by Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo. The squad also features American international Michael Bradley, who's entering a key campaign with the Italian side.

Going up against the best players from the MLS should provide a solid preseason test for Roma. With that in mind, let's examine some players worth watching in the clash, which is set for Wednesday night in Kansas City.

Landon Donovan (MLS)

Donovan is coming off a tremendous showing at the international level. He was the driving force behind an American attack that led the way as the squad won every match en route to the Gold Cup title. His form was a major statement after some time away from the national team.

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He must maintain that high level of play moving forward if he wants to get placed in the first-team lineup for the remaining part of qualifying. He gets another chance to shine in the high-profile matchup with Roma before returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

When at his best, Donovan is a nightmare for defenders because he distributes just as well as he finishes. So when he's moving forward with pace it's almost a guarantee some type of scoring chance is coming up. Expect to see plenty of that creative play during his time in the All-Star Game.

Thierry Henry (MLS)

At 35, Henry is no longer the unstoppable offensive dynamo he was during his peak seasons with Arsenal. Yet he's still one of the most dangerous attacking players in MLS, as illustrated by his seven goals and five assists this season.

The natural skill remains evident at this point in his career. He just isn't able to maintain top form for extended stretches anymore. But when he's at his best, he can still create highlight-reel plays, and the open style of the All-Star Game is a perfect opportunity to prove that.

Hopefully fans get an opportunity to see Henry and Donovan on the pitch at the same time. They could create some magic working together and put some real pressure on the Roma back line, which obviously won't be in midseason form.

Michael Bradley (Roma)

As previously mentioned, the upcoming season is very important for Bradley. As the American national team continues to illustrate depth, he must prove himself worthy of keeping his starting spot while also helping push Roma up the table.

The most impressive thing about Bradley has always been his work rate. He's willing to run for 90 minutes to do everything from helping defensively to scoring goals at the other end. He finds a way to make an impact no matter the type of game.

Since the All-Star Game is usually more of an attacking-minded clash, he should get a chance to show off his laser of a shot. He's never been a big goal scorer, but when he catches one just right he has the goalkeeper at his mercy.


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