KANSAS CITY, Kan. — How many clubs in the world experience fan protests … during preseason?
AS Roma, for one.
The Giallorossi are already under plenty of pressure a full month before the start of the new Serie A campaign on August 25 — a direct result of a sixth-place league finish and an Italian Cup final loss to archrivals Lazio.
Although the club has just three league titles to its name, with the last one coming in 2000-01, AS Roma's massive fan base continues to set expectations sky high. And Wednesday night's AT&T MLS All-Star Game (9 pm ET on ESPN2, TSN/RDS, UniMas) is seen as a chance for the team to change the narrative ahead of the upcoming season.
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"Roma has to reemerge from the recent years that have been negative," midfield veteran Daniele De Rossi said. "And we start from here. We start with preseason. It's the preparation for a revival ahead of an important season.
"The club has always been strong, even in the years that things didn't go well," De Rossi continued. "But something is missing or else we wouldn't have had these seasons that were not so positive. But we will discover what's missing. Something will be missing. But what I think is missing is a little enthusiasm, Winning a few games in a row could be the launching pad to have an important season that Roma deserves."
De Rossi, who has been rumored to be on his way out for several months, is expected to play in his first preseason match following an extended vacation due to his participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup with the Italian national team, a competition which he credits with keeping him sharp.
And there's no place De Rossi would rather be playing this match than in the US, a country of which he spoke effusively after Tuesday morning's practice at Sporting Park. He says he's been to New York at least 20 times.
"I feel great here, as usual. It's a country I love," De Rossi said. "It's a fantastic experience just to live in this country … As far as life, society and organization, for me it's 10 years ahead of Italy and Europe."