All-Star: Two more AS Roma players face the MLS question on eve of matchup vs. All-Stars
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — If you're a soccer player based overseas and you're good enough to be on your national team, you'll likely get the usual question when you play on US soil.
"So, would you consider a future in MLS one day?"
After Francesco Totti on Monday, it was the turn of AS Roma teammates Nicolás Burdisso and Federico Balzaretti after their final open training session ahead of the 2013 MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday (9 pm ET on ESPN2, TSN/RDS and UniMas, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
"I never close the door, obviously," said Burdisso, a central defender for the club. "My challenge is in Italy right now, but it's a league that's growing so much and in the future it's going to be one of the most competitive leagues."
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"The experience overseas is something stimulating and very, very nice and naturally in my future it's something that even I would like to do," Balzaretti said. "It enriches you on a personal level and you can speak a language perfectly that can be used in the future."
Balzaretti is expected to be a starter at left back for the Giallorossi on Wednesday, while Burdisso is likely to start on the bench in favor of center back pairing Leandro Castán and new signing Mehdi Benatia.
Right back Maicon is following a customized reconditioning program and was not on the practice field on Tuesday. Forward Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was also absent for what was described on Tuesday as an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, new Roma manager Rudi Garcia continues to work on implementing his 4-3-3 formation which features plenty of positional interchanging.
"Offensive," said attacking midfielder Miralem Pjanic when describing the club's playing style for the 2013-14 season. "The coach tries to play with style and the most important thing is that we prepare well this preseason."
The MLS All-Star Game will be the first in a three-game North American tour which will see Roma also face MLS club Toronto FC and English Premier League giants Chelsea.
Roma have already played three preseason matches thus far, the last one coming in a 2-1 win over Greek side Aris on July 26 which featured American midfielder Michael Bradley scoring the game-winner.
"We're making progress," Burdisso said. "We started at zero three weeks ago and we're in the middle of this stage of our growth. [Wednesday] is going to be a good measuring stick as to where we're at.
"It's a high-quality game," continued Burdisso. "We're playing against the best players of a league that's growing a lot. Aside from putting on a show, it's a game that we're trying to win."
Projected AS Roma Lineup (4-3-3): GK Morgan De Sanctis -- LB Federico Balzaretti, LCB Leandro Castán, RCB Mehdi Benatia, RB Vasilis Torosidis — LCM Kevin Strootman, CM Daniele De Rossi, RCM Michael Bradley — LW Francesco Totti, FW Miralem Pjanic, RW Erik Lamela