EUROPE: Bradley fits in with Donkeys

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
9:59
PM PT
Michael Bradley spent the summer facing an uncertain future after his loan spell with Aston Villa led nowhere and Borussia Mönchengladbach made plans without him.

All's well and all that after the 24-year-old midfielder, one of the U.S. national team's most influential players the last four years, landed at Chievo Verona.

It was a fortuitous opening: Bradley has been a Serie A fan since childhood, and the opportunity to play in Italy will certainly help in his development.

“I think what you have in Serie A right now is a good mix of the tactical teams and then some skillful players,” Bradley told Major League Soccer's website last week. “It makes for a good game and a competitive season. It's been good to get my feet wet. Not I just need to concentrate on continuing to improve.”

Bradley, a cerebral player who thinks the game much like his father, former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley, has gone the distance the last three games at the right-midfield slot in the Flying Donkeys' 4-3-1-2 formation.

Chievo is 2-1-2 and in eighth place with most of the season to go, and winning a European slot next season -- finishing among the top five -- would be a huge success. Finishing in the upper half of the 20-team league would be admirable.

After hardly playing during the January-to-May loan to Aston Villa, Bradley's happy he can contribute.

“It's nice to be somewhere where you feel like you're part of something again, where you're itching to play every weekend,” he said. “Ask any player -- he wants to play. That's what we love to do, that's the most fun. You step on the field, the lights come on, everything is happening, and that's what it's all about.

“The second half of last season obviously wasn't like that, but that's life. It's all a part of it. You just put the work in and know your chance is coming.”

ARMENIA ON TARGET: Yura Movsisyan's brilliant performance prodded Armenia's national team to a 4-1 romp over Macedonia, setting up a showdown Tuesday in Ireland for a Euro 2012 qualifying playoff berth.

Pasadena's Movsisyan set up three goals -- by Marcos Pizzelli (after beating three defenders on the dribble) in the 28th minute, Gevorg Ghazaryan in the 69th, and Artur Sarkisov in second-half stoppage -- to send the Highlanders to 5-2-2 with one game to go in Group B.

Russia (6-1-2) figures to win the group -- it closes against winless minnow Andorra in Moscow -- and claim a berth at next year's European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine. Armenia, which has never come close to qualifying for a major competiton, can advance to one of four playoffs with a victory over Ireland (5-1-3) in Dublin. The Irish, one point ahead of Armenia, need only a draw to advance.

WORTH NOTING: Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra and Fontana's Maurice Edu were in the starting XI and Bradley came off the bench in the second half in the U.S. national team's 1-0 win over Honduras in a Miami-area friendly. Orange's Michael Orozco Fiscal, who plays in Mexico, also started for the Yanks, assisting Clint Dempsey's 36th-minute goal.
  • AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
M DANNY BARRERA (Thousand Oaks)
Club:
FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda (Serbia, SuperLiga)
Last week: Idle
Season: 0 games
Next: Saturday at first-place Partizan Belgrade (6-1-0)

D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: Rangers was idle; 90 minutes, with a first-half yellow card, in the U.S.'s 1-0 win over Honduras in a friendly Saturday
Season: 6 league game (6 starts) with 1 goal; 9 games (9 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions for Rangers; 10 games (10 starts) with 2 goals for all clubs
Next: With the U.S. national team Tuesday vs. Ecuador; for Rangers on Saturday vs. sixth-place St. Mirren (3-4-3)

F TRISTAN BOWEN (Van Nuys)
Club:
KSV Roeselare (Belgium, Tweedeklasse)
Last week: Did not play as 11th-place KSVR (2-3-3) won, 2-1, Sunday at RCS Vise
Season: 3 league games (3 starts); 4 games (4 starts) in all competitions
Next: Saturday at 10th-place FCV Dender EH (3-2-3)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Chievo Verona (Italy, Serie A)
Last week: Chievo was idle; 65th-minute substitute in the U.S.'s 1-0 win over Honduras in a friendly Saturday
Season: 4 league games (3 starts)
Next: With the U.S. national team Tuesday vs. Ecuador; for Chievo on Sunday vs. first-place Juventus (3-0-2)

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: Rangers was idle; started, played 64 minutes, with a second-half yellow card, in the U.S.'s 1-0 win over Honduras in a friendly Saturday
Season: 9 league games (9 starts) with 2 goals; 13 games (13 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: With the U.S. national team Tuesday vs. Ecuador; for Rangers on Saturday vs. sixth-place St. Mirren (3-4-3)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (UCLA)
Club:
Tottenham (England, Premier League)
Last week: Idle
Season: 6 league games (6 starts) with 10 goals against, 28 saves and 2 shutouts
Next: Sunday at fourth-place Newcastle United (4-0-3)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: Idle
Season: 8 league games (8 starts) with 1 goal; 12 games (12 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. fifth-place Standard Liege (4-2-3)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: Kranodar was idle; 90 minutes, with assists on three goals, as Armenia beat Macedonia, 4-1, in a Euro 2012 qualifier Friday
Season: 20 league games (13 starts) with 6 goals, 21 games (13 starts) with 6 goals in all competitions
Next: With Armenia national team Tuesday at Ireland; with Krasnonar on Saturday vs. 10th-place FK Rostov-Na-Donu (7-12-7)

D BRAD RUSIN (UCLA)
Club:
HB Køge (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen)
Last week: Idle
Season: 6 league games (5 starts) with 2 goals; 7 games (5 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday vs. eighth-place Sonderjyske (3-4-4)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Idle
Season: 6 league games (2 starts) with 1 goal; 7 games (4 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Friday vs. fifth-place Eintracht Braunschweig (5-1-4)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club:
TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Idle
Season: 0 games
Next: Friday at 17th-place Hansa Rostock (0-4-6)

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