Anybody worried about Michael Bradley’s playing time at AS Roma?

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U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley continues to rehab in efforts to get back on the field for Serie A club AS Roma.

Should we all kick up some fret, worry and concern about Bradley’s current, inactive status significantly reducing his playing time going forward at Roma? It seems like a legitimate talking point as it relates to the United States national team; Bradley has long been the glue-man in Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup. No one is more irreplaceable, as we’ve seen over and over during the affable German’s time in charge. The team’s passing through midfield and defensive organization in the middle third suffers greatly in Bradley’s absence.

But ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman had it right Monday when he talked about why any concern over Bradley stagnation or rust or whatever is wildly premature. If we’re talking about developing young players ahead of Brazil 2014 then, yes, we are up against the shot clock; in that case, the World Cup is just around the corner.

But if we are talking about proven talent recovering from a relatively minor ankle injury (“minor” in the bigger picture, that is), then there is ample time. We are seven-plus months out of the May training camp that will serve as the final World Cup cram session for Klinsmann’s three-year build-up to Brazil.

Here’s what Twellman said Monday:

If it’s January, and Michael Bradley is not playing, guess what? He’s moving.  He’s shown that in the past. … Michael Bradley will know, in his mind – he’s is a coach’s son – he will make sure he is playing at the best opportunity he has, before that World Cup comes. And if it’s not Roma, he has no problem moving on. I have no concern about Michael Bradley at all.

Twellman also referenced talk of a summer move. That was the reported bid from Sunderland – but given the high instability of that situation, aren’t we all glad the U.S. midfielder didn’t get stuck in that circus?

Here is the moment, Taylor speaking on Bradley, from ESPN FC:

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE