Michael Bradley's emerging role 

October, 12, 2012

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- There is a silver lining to the storm clouds gathering above the U.S. national team on its high-stakes visit to this tiny Caribbean nation (figuratively and literally, as rain is forecast for Friday's pivotal World Cup qualifier): his name is Michael Bradley.

The veteran midfielder missed the Yanks' last two games, a win and a loss against Jamaica, with a strained calf. With projected starters Landon Donovan (knee) and Fabian Johnson (flu) out against Antigua and Barbuda (population 90,000) and striker Jozy Altidore controversially left off the American roster, Bradley's return to the heart of Jurgen Klinsmann's lineup couldn't come at a more crucial time.

To read more about Bradley's new role, and Jeff Cameron's remarkable start in the EPL, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.

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