Posted: Tuesday October 18, 2011 12:13AM ; Updated: Tuesday October 18, 2011 1:38AM
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Americans Abroad: Bradley's play in Italy leads to Klinsmann call-up

Story Highlights

Michael Bradley has started four matches since joining Serie A's Chievo Verona

Red-hot Herculez Gomez could be the next American to return to the national team

Jonathan Bornstein made the bench for Tigres UANL for the first time since August

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Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley's play at Chievo Verona has caught the eye of Jurgen Klinsmann.
Imago/Zuma Press

If there's one thing that U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has made clear during his time at the helm, it's that playing regularly means everything. Sterling reputations and past successes are nice, but what's happening presently is what determines whether a player gets the chance to wear a name-less U.S. kit during FIFA fixture dates.

"I sent a message in my first get-together that, 'The most important thing is that you guys play,'" Klinsmann said. "'If you are on the bench somewhere -- it doesn't matter in Europe, in the MLS or in Mexico -- you have a problem coming in here.'"

Michael Bradley is a quintessential example of Klinsmann's hard-nosed approach. After falling out of favor with Borussia Monchengladbach, Bradley, who for a long while was considered an automatic starter for the United States, was left off Klinsmann's roster for last month's friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium.

Bradley found his way to Chievo Verona in Italy's Serie A, a place where few Americans have gone before him, but a place where he's become a consistent starter after getting acclimated to his new surroundings, coaches and teammates. It's no surprise that after winning his way into the starting XI, Bradley was reintroduced to the national team for October friendlies with Honduras and Ecuador.

"I was really pleased with his move," Klinsmann said. "We didn't call him in last time, because he had to sort that out. It will really help him in his learning curve. Going to Italy as a midfielder in an environment where they are tactic fanatics will teach him a lot: To read the game better, anticipate the game better and to know exactly where to go into certain spaces and where not to go in certain spaces."

Bradley, who isn't yet a regular starter under Klinsmann, has operated as a right-sided midfielder for Chievo, where he's also assumed set-piece duties. During his latest performance, a 90-minute stint in a scoreless draw with current league-leader Juventus over the weekend, one of Bradley's corner kicks resulted in a shot that had to be saved off the line.

He's become increasingly more potent in dead-ball situations, even notching an assist off a corner in his debut with Chievo, and he took the U.S. set pieces exclusively once he entered as a halftime substitute in last week's loss to Ecuador. U.S. free kicks are very much Landon Donovan and Stuart Holden territory, but if the two are injured or absent -- which has become more of the norm recently -- the stoic Bradley is emerging as a top option to take those kicks along with Clint Dempsey and Steve Cherundolo.

"At different times in my career it's something I've done, and something that, like everything else in your game, you try to work on it and improve so it can be a real weapon," Bradley said.

With more time to hone that skill as a regular at Chievo, Bradley won't only resume being a shoo-in for a call-up, but he'll also bring something new to the table.

In addition to Bradley, another U.S. player benefiting from regular minutes is the red-hot Herculez Gomez, who continues to thrive in his role for Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico but hasn't yet registered on Klinsmann's radar. Gomez found the back of the net for the fourth consecutive game over the weekend, with three of those goals coming as a substitute in the 63rd minute or later.

His six goals are tied for fourth-most in the league and station him three behind Mexican striker Oribe Peralta. Considering that no forward in the U.S. pool has distinguished himself behind Jozy Altidore, and the United States has mustered just two goals in five games under Klinsmann's watch, one would figure that it's only a matter of time until the 29-year-old Gomez gets another shot on the international stage.

Aside from Gomez's goal, other notables this past week included U.S. U-20 forward Bobby Wood making his season debut for 1860 Munich and former starting U.S. left back Jonathan Bornstein making the bench at Tigres UANL for the first time since August. Here's how all of the Americans playing abroad fared over the past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):

ENGLAND

Premier League

Clint Dempsey, M, Fulham -- Started, played 90 minutes in Fulham's 2-0 loss to Stoke City on Saturday. SEASON: 13 games, 13 starts, 4 goals

Brad Friedel, GK, Tottenham -- Started, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Sunday. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 32 saves, 12 goals allowed, 2 clean sheets

Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa -- In the 18, did not play in Villa's 4-1 loss to Manchester City on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 3 saves, 0 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Marcus Hahnemann, GK, Everton -- Not in the 18 for Everton's 3-1 loss to Chelsea on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Tim Howard, GK, Everton -- Started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Everton's 3-1 loss to Chelsea on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 19 saves, 10 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa -- Not in the 18 for Villa's 4-1 loss to Manchester City on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 1 goal

Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City -- Not in the 18 for Norwich City's 3-1 victory over Swansea City on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts

League Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County -- In the 18, did not play in Derby County's 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game

Robbie Findley, F, Nottingham Forest -- In the 18, came on as a 76th-minute substitute in Nottingham Forest's 1-0 loss to Coventry City on Saturday. SEASON: 12 games, 6 starts, 4 goals

Jonathan Spector, M/D, Birmingham City -- In the 18, did not play in Birmingham's 2-0 victory over Leicester City on Sunday. SEASON: 11 games, 11 starts

League One

Mike Grella, F, Brentford -- In the 18, came on as a 66th-minute substitute in Brentford's 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe United on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United -- Not in the 18 for Carlisle's 3-0 victory over Yeovil Town on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Anton Peterlin, M, Walsall -- Started, played 90 minutes in Walsall's 1-0 victory over Preston North End on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 7 starts

League Two

Jemal Johnson, F, Southend United -- Not in the 18 for Southend's 1-1 draw with Morecambe on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games, 2 starts

Jon-Paul Pittman, F, Crawley Town -- Not in the 18 for Crawley Town's 2-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town on Saturday. SEASON: 9 games, 1 start (7 games, 1 start with Oxford United)

GERMANY

Bundesliga

Timmy Chandler, D, FC Nurnberg -- Started, played 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 2-1 loss to VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. SEASON: 10 games, 10 starts

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 -- In the 18, did not play in Hannover's 2-0 loss to FC Cologne on Sunday. SEASON: 9 games, 8 starts

Fabian Johnson, M/D, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -- Not in the 18 for Hoffenheim's 2-0 loss to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games, 5 starts, 1 goal

Jermaine Jones, M, FC Schalke 04 -- In the 18, came on as a halftime substitute in Schalke's 2-1 loss to Kaiserslautern on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 1 start

Alfredo Morales, D, Hertha Berlin -- In the 18, came on as a 61st-minute substitute in Berlin's 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games

Daniel Williams, D, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -- Started, played 62 minutes in Hoffenheim's 2-0 loss to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 3 starts (1 game, 1 start with SC Freiburg)

David Yelldell, GK, Bayer Leverkusen -- In the 18, did not play in Leverkusen's 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 1 save, 4 goals allowed

2. Bundesliga

Edson Buddle, F, FC Ingolstadt 04 -- Started, played 71 minutes in Ingolstadt's 3-1 loss to MSV Duisburg on Saturday. SEASON: 12 games, 6 starts, 5 goals

Ricardo Clark, M, Eintracht Frankfurt -- Not in the 18 for Frankfurt's 2-0 victory over VfL Bochum on Friday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe -- Not in the 18 for Karlsruhe's 2-0 loss to Union Berlin on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Matt Taylor, F, SC Paderborn 07 -- In the 18, did not play in Paderborn's 1-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig on Friday. SEASON: 7 games, 3 starts, 4 goals

Bobby Wood, F, 1860 Munich -- In the 18, came on as an 88th-minute substitute to make his season debut in Munich's 2-0 loss to Hansa Rostock on Friday. SEASON: 1 game

ITALY

Serie A

Michael Bradley, M, Chievo Verona -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Chievo's 0-0 draw with Juventus on Sunday. SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts

FRANCE

Ligue 1

Quentin Westberg, GK, Evian Thonon Gaillard -- Not in the 18 for Evian's 2-1 loss to St. Etienne on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts,

NETHERLANDS

Eredivisie

Jozy Altidore, F, AZ Alkmaar -- Started, played 72 minutes in AZ's 2-2 draw with Ajax on Saturday. SEASON: 13 games, 10 starts, 7 goals

PORTUGAL

Primeira Liga

Oguchi Onyewu, D, Sporting Lisbon -- Started, played 45 minutes in Sporting's 2-0 victory over Famalicao in the third round of the Taca de Portugal (Portuguese Cup) on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 1 goal

BELGIUM

Jupiler League

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht -- Started, played 90 minutes in Anderlecht's 5-0 victory over Standard Liege on Sunday. SEASON: 13 games, 13 starts, 1 goal

SCOTLAND

Premier League

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Rangers FC -- Not in the 18 for Rangers' 1-1 draw with St. Mirren on Saturday. SEASON: 21 games, 17 starts, 4 goals (16 games, 15 starts, 4 goals with Orebro SK)

Carlos Bocanegra, D, Rangers FC -- Started, played 90 minutes in Rangers' 1-1 draw with St. Mirren on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 11 starts, 2 goals (1 game, 1 start with St. Etienne)

Dominic Cervi, GK, Celtic FC -- Not in the 18 for Celtic's 3-3 draw with Kilmarnock on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC -- Started, played 72 minutes in Rangers' 1-1 draw with St. Mirren on Saturday. SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts, 2 goals

MEXICO

Primera Division

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Puebla -- Started, played 90 minutes in Puebla's 1-0 victory over Queretaro on Sunday. SEASON: 12 games, 12 starts, 2 goals

Jonathan Bornstein, D, Tigres UANL -- In the 18, did not play in Tigres' 2-0 loss to Morelia on Friday. The appearance on the bench was the first for Bornstein since Aug. 27. SEASON: 0 games

Edgar Castillo, D, Club America -- Not in the 18 for America's 3-0 victory over Monterrey on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 5 starts

Joe Corona, F, Tijuana -- In the 18, came on as an 86th-minute substitute in Tijuana's 3-2 victory over Pachuca on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Michael Orozco Fiscal, D, San Luis -- In the 18, did not play in San Luis' 1-1 draw with Cruz Azul on Saturday. SEASON: 9 games, 8 starts

Herculez Gomez, F, Estudiantes Tecos -- In the 18, came on as a 68th-minute substitute and scored in the 73rd minute of Tecos' 5-2 loss to Chivas de Guadalajara on Saturday. Gomez latched onto a bending ball in the center of the box and one-timed the cross home for a consolation goal. SEASON: 12 games, 5 starts, 6 goals

Sonny Guadarrama, M, Atlante -- Not in the 18 for Atlante's 1-1 draw with Jaguares on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game

Adrian Ruelas, F, Jaguares -- Not in the 18 for Jaguares' 1-1 draw with Atlante on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

SWEDEN

Allsvenskanliga

Ryan Miller, D, Halmstads BK -- Not in the 18 for Halmstads' 3-1 loss to Djurgarden IF on Monday. SEASON: 18 games, 12 starts

Samuel Petrone, F, Mjallby -- Not in the 18 for Mjallby's 2-1 victory over Trelleborg FF on Sunday. SEASON: 4 games

DENMARK

Superliga

Clarence Goodson, D, Brondby IF -- Started, played 90 minutes in Brondby's 1-0 loss to FC Midtjylland on Sunday. SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts

Conor O'Brien, M, Sonderjyske -- In the 18, came on as an 87th-minute substitute and picked up a yellow card in Sonderjyske's 3-1 victory over HB Koge on Sunday. SEASON: 10 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Nordsjaelland -- Started, played 90 minutes in Nordsjaelland's 1-0 victory over Aalborg BK on Saturday. SEASON: 15 games, 15 starts

Chris Rolfe, F, Aalborg BK -- Started, played 90 minutes in Aalborg's 1-0 loss to Nordsjaelland on Saturday. SEASON: 13 games, 11 starts, 2 goals

Brad Rusin, D, HB Koge -- In the 18, came on as a 60th-minute substitute in Koge's 3-1 loss to Sonderjyske on Sunday. SEASON: 8 games, 6 starts, 2 goals

NORWAY

Tippeligaen

Sean Cunningham, D, Molde FK -- Not in the 18 for Molde's 0-0 draw with Odd Grenland on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Mikkel Diskerud, M, Stabaek -- Started, played 90 minutes in Stabaek's 1-1 draw with Lillestrom on Saturday. SEASON: 28 games, 28 starts, 3 goals

Josh Gatt, M/D, Molde FK -- Started, played 12 minutes and exited with a reported hamstring injury in Molde's 0-0 draw with Odd Grenland on Sunday. SEASON: 27 games, 19 starts, 5 goals

 
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