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MLS announces All-Star game to feature Michael Bradley and AS Roma

Italy Soccer Italian Cup

Lazio’s Hernanes, of Brazil, right, is challenged by AS Roma’s Michael Bradley, of the United States, during their Italian Cup, final soccer match at Rome’s Olympic stadium, Sunday, May 26, 2013. Lazio took city bragging rights by beating Roma 1-0 Sunday in a derby to win a heated Italian Cup final and maintain its recent edge in the series. Bosnia-Herzegovina midfielder Senad Lulic scored in the 71st minute at the Stadio Olimpico after Roma goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont failed to clear a cross from Antonio Candreva, leaving Lulic to put the ball in uncontested by the far post. (AP Photo/Marco Rosi, Lapresse)

AP

The 2013 MLS All-Star game has its opponent: Michael Bradley’s AS Roma, Major League Soccer announced today.

They’re not quite Manchester United or Chelsea, who have faced the MLS All-Stars the previous three seasons, but Roma will be the first Serie A side to take part in the yearly competition.

Finishing sixth in the Serie A table this season with 62 points, Roma made it to the final of the Coppa Italia before falling 1-0 to Lazio.

Roma seem to jump at the opportunity to promote their brand in the United States. “Playing in the MLS All-Star Game fits in perfectly with our initiatives in the United States such as our Disney partnership and growing youth academy system,” AS Roma President James Pallotta said. “Major League Soccer has done a great job building its All-Star Game into a top-tier event and we are proud to participate.”

MLS had been pulling clubs mainly from the English Premier League for the event in the past, with Everton and Fulham predating Manchester United and Chelsea’s participation. It’s good to see them branch out and welcome a variety of clubs, if that’s the route they choose to take.

While Roma isn’t one of the biggest clubs in Italy, the draw of Michael Bradley was clearly too much for Major League Soccer to pass up, as he will probably bring a bigger audience in the US than a club such as Milan, Inter, or Juventus would.

Roma recognized Bradley’s draw would also help their brand in the country as well. “We’re very happy that [the match] will highlight Michael Bradley’s important role at Roma and for the U.S. National Team” said Roma CEO Italo Zanzi.

The game will be played Wednesday, July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, with kickoff scheduled for 6 pm PT.