The comeback trail of U.S. born striker Giuseppe Rossi took a step in the positive direction yesterday when he scored his first goal since recovering from successive anterior cruciate ligament injuries to help Fiorentina to a 2-1 victory over Catania.
The goal marked a nearly 23 month absence from the score sheet for Rossi, who last scored when he was a member of Villareal in a 2-2 draw with Real Zaragoza. Three La Liga matches later, disaster struck when the Italian international tore his ACL against Real Madrid.
With Euro 2012 on the horizon, Rossi endured extensive rehabilitation on the knee only to suffer a second consecutive tear during training the following April. The injury made Euro 2012 an afterthought. While continuing to rehab last January, Rossi moved from Spain to Serie A side Fiorentina, where he made his comeback in a 5-1 victory over Pescara on May 19th.
After going 67 minutes in Fiorentina’s first competitive match of the season, the 2-1 Europa League victory over Grasshoppers, Rossi was once again inserted into La Viola’s starting XI alongside Mario Gomez for the Serie A opener against Catania.
It took only 14 minutes for Rossi to get on the scoresheet after he received a Juan Guillermo Cuadrado pass, took one touch, and slotted the ball into the far corner from 8 yards out. The goal meant the world to Rossi, who screamed furiously while extending his hands to the sky. Eight minutes later Pablo Barrientos equalized for Catania before Chilean midfielder David Pizarro handed Fiorentina the victory with a 28th minute goal.
Rossi has long been considered one of the most controversial figures in American soccer after the Teaneck, New Jersey born player chose to represent Italy, the homeland of his parents, instead of the U.S. For most fans, those wounds have healed.
We here at Pro Soccer Talk wish Rossi the best of luck in his continued recovery from injury and in the upcoming Serie A season.
The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.
My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)
Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.
Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:
“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”
Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.
Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.