CHICAGO - Despite the change in scenery, it appears Michael Bradley won't have too much trouble adjusting to life at AS Roma. The American midfielder, who signed with the club last week from Serie A rival Chievo Verona in a $4.6 million transfer, picked up an assist in Roma's 4-0 win over Polish club Zaglebie Lubin in front of 22,181 at Wrigley Field.
The son of former United States Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley said he enjoys playing in the Italian top flight and has a respect for the other clubs.
"It's a really competitive league, every team from top to bottom is able to challenge on every Sunday," said Bradley before the match. "So in all ways, when you combine that with the passion and the emotion of the people in Italy for football, I think it makes for a great league."
Other members of the club said Bradley's previous experience in Italy helped him adjust to playing for i Giallorossi.
"Yes, of course, he knows Italian football and that helped him a lot," said head coach Zdenek Zeman through a translator after the match.
Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg said Bradley's experience playing all over Europe will help him as well.
"I know him already a little bit because he played also in Holland (with SC Heerenveen), but I think he's made a good first impression," he said after the match.
And even though the playing surface at Wrigley Field was far from perfect, Stekelenburg said the final outcome was the bigger takeaway.
"It was very dry and it was not really straight," said a smirking Stekelenburg, who spent the first half where a baseball's game third base would be. "But it doesn't matter when you win 4-0."
It didn't take long to see for the first goal in this one.
Roma midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis found Bojan Krkic with an excellent through ball and Krkic then teamed up with strike partner Pablo Daniel Osvaldo for the easiest of tap-ins past Lubin ‘keeper Koziol Marek in the first minute of the match.
Lubin had some impressive opportunities as the game settled down, but it was Roma who were able to get on the scoresheet next.
Off a dispossession in the Lubin half, the 6'4" Greek midfielder Tachtsidis found the back of the net in the 19th minute on a beautiful left footed strike from about 30 yards out to double the Italian side's advantage.
The theme continued as Lubin would have a string of decent opportunities followed by a Roma goal.
And in the 30th minute, Bradley, who grew up in nearby Palatine, Ill. had his moment.
In some solid passing, Bradley found midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who fed striker Erik Kamela who was able to flick the ball past Marek to make it 3-0 and heap even more misery upon the Polish side. Bradley and Pjanic were credited with the assists.
The nightmare continued for Lubin as the earlier provider Krkic turned goalscorer in the 43rd minute. He found space on the right side of the box and was able to slot the ball into the back of the net to complete a magnificent half for Roma and an absolutely horrifying one for Lubin.
Lubin continued to have chances in the second half. In the 75th minute, two players had shots go off the crossbar as they fought to prevent a shutout.
At the whistle though, the loud and at times, entertaining Lubin supporters were sent home without a goal.
Usual Roma Captain Fransesco Totti was named to the bench. He entered the match at the start of the second half.
The International Friendly was the first soccer match played at Wrigley Field since the Chicago Sting of the North American Soccer League (NASL) folded in 1984.
AS Roma were playing the first match of a three-game United States tour. They next play Liverpool at Fenway Park on Boston on Wednesday before finishing up on Friday in New York City against the El Salvador National Team.
Players not traveling with Roma on the US tour include vice-captain and midfielder Daniele De Rossi, Brazilian midfielder Fabio Henrique Simplicio and striker Marco Borriello.
Zaglebie Lubin were founded in 1945 and have won two Polish league titles. They are coached by former Czechoslovakian and Czech Republic international Pavel Hapal.
Starting XI: (4-3-3) Stekelenburg; Rosi (Sub '46), Romagnoli, Castan (Sub '46), Taddei (Sub '68); Bradley (Assist '30, Sub ‘68), Tachtsidis (Assist, ‘1, Goal '19, Sub '46), Pjanic (Assist '30, Sub '46); Lamela (Goal '30, Sub '46), Osvaldo (Goal ‘1, Sub '46), Bojan (Goal ‘43, Assist ‘1, Sub '68)
Substitutes: Lobont, Burdisso (Sub '46), Heinze (Sub '46), Lucca (Sub '68), Josè Angel (Sub'68), Florenzi (Sub '46), Marquinho (Sub '46), Lopez (Sub '46), Totti (Sub '46), Verre (Sub '68)
Starting XI: (4-5-1) Koziol; Vidanov, Horvath, Banas, Nhamoinesu; Bilek, Hanzel, Rakowski, Pawlowski, Lira; Elton
Substitutes: Forenc; Malkowski, Rachwal, Abwo, Hodur, Wilczek, Reina, Sernas