Hot List: Timmy Chandler's big chance
It's difficult to say if Michael Bradley is warming up or cooling down this week. On one hand, the U.S. midfielder's streak of 18 straight starts for Italian club Roma ended Saturday, although he came off the bench to help the Giallorossi secure an unlikely 1-0 triumph over Serie A leader Juventus. On the other, while you might expect interim coach Aurelio Andreazzoli to stick with a winning side (the win was Roma's first of 2013), Bradley has a good chance of being back in the lineup for the club's next game at Atalanta with Daniele De Rossi suspended because of yellow card accumulation.
In the long run, the competition for minutes will only benefit Bradley and the U.S. national team, which needs as many of its players contributing to successful clubs as possible. In the short term, though, the idea that of one of the Yanks' most important pieces might not be seeing regular minutes ahead of next month's pivotal World Cup qualifying matches against Costa Rica and at Mexico is worrying, especially now that Landon Donovan is almost certainly out for both games. Either way, expect Bradley's approach to stay the same.
"You have to have yourself ready to play on any day, no matter what," he told Insider back in December. "You have to know how to deal with it if you don't start on a given day, how you keep yourself ready to play halfway through that game or in the next one. These are things that come into play when you play at a big club with a lot of big players."
Elsewhere in Europe, Jozy Altidore's career season continues in the Netherlands, where he scored his 21st goal in all competitions for AZ Alkmaar on Saturday. Altidore is a leading candidate to start up top for the U.S. next month, but a few other players' odds of getting the nod from Yanks coach Jurgen Klinsmann will hinge on how they perform with their clubs over the next few weeks.
Here's a look at who's hot (and not) right now:
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