After missing over a month with a severe ankle sprain, Michael Bradley returned to the AS Roma starting lineup, but Roma dropped points for the first time all season.Michael Bradley made his way back into the AS Roma starting lineup on Sunday, but the result was a bittersweet one for the U.S. national team midfielder.
Bradley started and played a full 90 minutes, but AS Roma saw its perfect record tarnished in a 1-1 draw against Torino. With Francesco Totti sidelined, Roma manager Rudi Garcia gave Bradley his first start in two months, a period of time Bradley spent mostly on the sidelines due to the serious ankle sprain he suffered while on U.S. national team duty.
In the Netherlands, Aron Johannsson failed to find the net for a second straight league match for AZ, but he isn’t likely to mind too much. Johannsson's team moved into sole possession of first place in the Eredivisie following a 2-0 win against ADO Den Haag.
In a three-way tie for first heading into the weekend, the Cheese Farmers benefitted from Ajax’s loss to Vitesse Arnhem, and FC Twente’s 2-2 tie with NEC Breda to move into the top spot. Boasting a perfect league record (3-0) under new head coach Dick Advocaat, AZ has found a good balance of defense and attack, with Johannsson serving as the target in AZ’s 4-3-3 system.
In England, Tim Howard continued his stellar play in goal for Everton, recording six saves in the Toffees’ scoreless draw with Tottenham on Sunday. A week after starring against Aston Villa, Howard was at it again at Goodison Park, helping Everton earn a point to stay in seventh place in the Premier League.
The weekend did not go nearly as well for Jozy Altidore, who did earn a start but was forced to come out at halftime after Sunderland had two men red carded just before the break. The Black Cats eventually dropped a 1-0 decision to Hull City, Altidore’s former club. The defeat keeps Sunderland 19th in the league, five points away from relegation safety.
In Belgium, Sacha Kljestan added to his new career high for league goals in a season when he notched his seventh goal of the Jupiler League campaign in Anderlecht’s 3-1 win against OH Leuven. Kljestan is currently sixth in the league in scoring, and is Anderlecht’s top scorer. The defending Belgian champions are 3-0-1 in their past four, and sit five points behind league-leading Standard Liege.
In Mexico, Club Tijuana’s once-fading playoff hopes gained new life after a 4-1 victory against Atlante. That win, coupled with the five teams ahead of the Xolos in the standings failing to win helped them climb into 10th place, just two points behind Queretaro for eight place and the final playoff spot in the Liga MX Apertura playoffs.
Under-fire Club Tijuana boss Jorge Almiron started just one of his team’s Americans in the Atlante win, with Greg Garza starting and playing 45 minutes before being replaced by fellow American Edgar Castillo. Herculez Gomez made a 13-minute cameo for the Xolos, but neither Paul Arriola or Joe Corona saw action.