EUROPE: Bradley ready for Chievo start

September, 7, 2011
9/07/11
10:54
PM PT
Michael Bradley has been getting acquainted on and off the field with his new teammates at Chievo Verona, and he hopes to make his Serie A debut when the club opens the Italian Season on Sunday at home against promoted Novara.

Bradley, 24, moved from Germany's Borussia Mönchengladbach at the end of the summer transfer window last week. He had been searching for a new home after Aston Villa declined to extend a loan deal from the last half of last season and 'Gladbach reported he was no longer in its plans.

The son of former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley -- considered a frontrunner for the open Santos Laguna job in Mexico -- has evolved into the most important central midfielder in American soccer and was among the most influential U.S. players at last year's World Cup. He had been linked to Italy all summer, with reported interest from American-owned AS Roma. Word of interest from Chievo Verona surfaced last month.

“We had heard for a few weeks that they were interested in finding a player in my position,” Bradley, whose family is based in Manhattan Beach, told U.S. Soccer's website. “They had watched me over a period of time and gotten to know me as a player. My situation was such that I was looking for a new challenge, and at the end of the day the people at the club showed a great amount of interest and that they were committed to bringing me to the club.

“I had discussions with the coach, the sporting director and the president, and I had a good feeling about what they are trying to build here. I’m excited to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing in Serie A for Chievo.”

The Serie A season kicks off this weekend after the first round of games was wiped out by a labor stoppage. An agreement between club owners and players was reached this week.

Chievo went 11-14-13 and finished 11th last season, 36 points behind champion AC Milan and 17 points out of a Europa Cup berth. Bradley believes the Flying Donkeys, as they're known at home, can compete for a berth next season in Europe.

“We can have a good team this year,” he said. “There’s a good mix of veteran players who will provide experience and some young, talented players. The mentality seems really good, which is important in any team. Because of the strike, there were no games [the last weekend of August], and you can feel that everyone is really excited to get going.”

ARMENIAN SURPRISE: Look who's suddenly in the Euro 2012 race.

Armenia, needing victories to stay alive in tight, tough Group B, on Tuesday stunned Slovakia, romping to a 4-0 away victory to climb to third, just two points off the lead -- and an automatic berth next year in Poland and Ukraine -- with two qualifiers to go.

Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan started the rout, scoring in the 57th minute, his fourth goal in seven Euro 2012 appearances.

“It's a huge victory for us,” Movsisyan told UEFA's website. “I'm not surprised by it. We believed in each other from the very beginning. This was a chance to prove once again that we have a good team, and the fact that we scored all our goals from open play shows that we have good players.”

Armenia (4-2-2, 14 points), not considered a contender when qualifying began a year ago, trails Russia (5-1-2, 16) and Ireland (4-1-3, 15) and will need help from the Slovaks (4-2-2), who are home Oct. 7 against the Russians in Zilina. If Russia is on top heading into the final round, on Oct. 11, they qualify; their final opponent, in Moscow, is Andorra (0-8-0).

Movsisyan and Co. finish with what almost surely will be a must-win game in Dublin against the Irish. The survivor likely will head to a playoff for a Euro 2012 berth.

Armenia also beat Andorra during this latest two-fer, a 3-0 road win with Movsisyan sidelined because of yellow cards.

WORTH NOTING: A deal that would have sent Fontana's Maurice Edu to French club Auxerre fell apart as the summer transfer window closed. England's Queens Park Rangers, Turkey's Bursaspor and Trabzonspor, Greece's Olympiakos and Italy's Chievo Verona also had interest in the Rangers FC central midfielder. ... Tristan Bowen didn't sniff the game-day roster in his first week at Belgian second-division club KV Roeselare. The forward from Van Nuys is on loan from Chivas USA.
  • AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss Friday to Costa Rica; 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss Tuesday to Belgium
Season: 1 league game (1 start); 3 games (3 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions for Rangers; 4 games (4 starts) with 1 goal for all clubs
Next: Saturday at seventh-place Dundee United (1-2-3)

F TRISTAN BOWEN (Van Nuys)
Club:
KSV Roeselare (Belgium, Tweedeklasse)
Last week: Did not play in a 3-1 loss Sunday at Eendracht Aalst, the first game for Roeselare (1-1-1) since his arrival on loan from Chivas USA.
Season: 0 games
Next: Saturday vs. 16th-place Standard Wetteren (0-2-1)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Chievo Verona (Italy, Serie A)
Last week: Transferred from Germany's Borussia Mönchengladbach to Chievo Verona
Season: 0 games
Next: Sunday vs. Novara in a league opener

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss Friday to Costa Rica; 90 minutes in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss Tuesday to Belgium
Season: 4 league games (4 starts) with 1 goal; 8 games (8 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday at seventh-place Dundee United (1-2-3)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (UCLA)
Club:
Tottenham (England, Premier League)
Last week: Idle
Season: 2 league games (2 starts) with 8 goals against and 15 saves
Next: Saturday at fifth-place Wolverhampton (2-0-1)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 66th-minute substitute in U.S.'s 1-0 loss Friday to Costa Rica; was on the 18-man roster but did not play in the U.S.'s 1-0 loss Tuesday to Belgium
Season: 4 league games (4 starts) with 1 goal; 6 games (6 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Sunday vs. sixth-place KV Kortrijk (2-1-2)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: Missed Armenia's 3-0 European Championship qualifying win Friday over Andorra while suspended for yellow cards; started, played 84 minutes and scored in the 57th minute to start Armenia on a 4-0 upset at Slovakia
Season: 17 league games (12 starts) with 4 goals, 18 games (12 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. fourth-place Rubin Kazan (10-4-8)

D BRAD RUSIN (UCLA)
Club:
HB Køge (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen)
Last week: Idle
Season: 5 league games (5 starts) with 2 goals
Next: Sunday at ninth-place Brondby (1-3-3)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Idle
Season: 4 league games (1 start) with 1 goal; 5 games (3 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Friday vs. last-place Alemannia Aachen (0-4-2)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club:
TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Idle
Season: 0 games
Next: Sunday at second-place St. Pauli (4-1-1)

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