Friday, March 16, 2012

American success in Europa League

With Manchester United and Manchester City crashing out of the Europa League, Chelsea remains as the only English team competing in Europe - as they still remain in the UEFA Champions League for the moment.

What's even more interesting is that with a solid performance this week in the Europa League, there might be more Americans currently competing in European competition than English players-

* Steve Cherundolo started for Hannover 96 in what turned out to be an easy night at AWD-Arena. Mohammed Abdellaoue had the home side up within four minutes, and it was 2-0 Hannover when Liege put the ball into the back of their own net in the 21st. Hannover would be the recipients of another own goal in the 73rd, with Sergio Pinto scoring their fourth in stoppage time.

* Jozy Altidore started for AZ, and where Udinese may have won on the night at the Stadio Friuli, it wasn't enough to overcome the first-leg. Antonio Di Natale seemed to have AZ's number, opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the third minute and scoring from the run of play in the 15th. Fortunately for AZ, that was it for the Udinese offense. AZ's Erik Falkenburg scored in the 31st, with AZ failing to convert from the penalty spot in the 64th minute.

* Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had a hat-trick, but it was Jermaine Jones scoring the goal that put Schalke in the next round. Schalke trailed on the night from the 14th minute, with Huntelaar equalizing in the 29th and putting Schalke ahead from the penalty spot in the 57th minute. Jones scored in the 70th, with Huntelaar getting his third goal of the game in the 81st minute. Jones assisted on the Huntelaar goal, subbing out in the 88th.

* Sporting advanced over Manchester City with a 3-3 aggregate, and expects to have standout defender Oguchi Onyewu back for the next leg.

With the American success in the Europa League, coupled with the prominent roles that Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Tim Howard (Everton) and Michael Bradley (Chievo) have had this season in their respective teams, US Soccer has earned it's seat at the table among Europe's elite.

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