Americans Abroad: Europa League

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The final playoff round of the UEFA Europa League is set to get underway on Thursday, and up to a dozen Americans could be in action as a result.

Carlos Bocanegra is one of the players who may see playing time as Rangers is hoping to field him in the first leg of its series against NK Maribor. Having captured Bocanegra's signature on Wednesday, Rangers manager Ally McCoist is hoping to use his one wild card addition to the Europe League gameday roster on Bocanegra. That means it is likely that the U.S. men's national team captain and Maurice Edu will be the only two Americans available for selection, while recent signee Alejandro Bedoya will be forced to sit this one out.

Bocanegra isn't the only player scheduled to make a debut with a new club. Brad Friedel should play in his first competitive match for Tottenham Hotspur as it takes on Heart of Midlothian. Tottenham is the favorite in the series, but that shouldn't stop Friedel from starting.

Here's who the Americans Abroad play in Thursday's Europa League matches:

Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 play HJK Helsinki.

Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar play Aalesund.

Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play Bursaspor.

Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjaelland play Oguchi Onyewu and Sporting Lisbon.

Clint Dempsey and Fulham play Dnipro.

Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 play Sevilla FC.

Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City play CD Nacional de Madeira.

Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Heart of Midlothian.

Maurice Edu, Alejandro Bedoya and Carlos Bocanegra play NK Maribor.

Dominic Cervi and Celtic play FC Sion Sitten.

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What do you think of these matches? Which team with an American do you think has the best chance to win the tournament?

Share your thoughts below.

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16 Responses to Americans Abroad: Europa League

  1. OmarVizquel says:

    If you squint your eyes it looks like Carlos has a ponytail…

    Interested to see how Friedel does. Wish he had been at Tottenham last year.

  2. tom says:

    Looking at the picture on my phone I thought “what usmnt member has a pony tail?”…a little part of me was disappointed it wasn’t real.

  3. Alexi says:

    I thought Celo was back, minus the facial hair.

  4. EDB says:

    is europa on tv anywhere?

  5. swoopy says:

    a very little part of me too

  6. Silver says:

    Hopefully Specter can find some play time in this competition and impress enough to make it onto the starting line up.

  7. OldpuebloFC says:

    What is going on with Jones? Doesn’t even make the bench again. Is he hurt?

  8. Aaron in StL says:

    It looks like an “Olive Oyl” wig from Popeye.

  9. OT says:

    Not until the Match Day 1 of the Group Stage, when DIRECTV will air 16 matches live.

    GOLTV is the sublicensee in the U.S. and will have 45 matches live or delayed throughout the season.

    DIRECTV has “1st pick” on Match Days 1, 3, and 6.

    GOLTV has “1st pick” on Match Days 2, 4, and 5.

    ==

    Unlike last season (Liverpool and Juventus), there are currently no “brand name” clubs entered in the Europa League group stage.

    That could change if Arsenal were to slip up next week at Udinese.

  10. predicto says:

    Just starting – nice stream of Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht playing Bursaspor

  11. NateinSF says:

    what about Jozy?

  12. jonk says:

    Deuce just scored to put Fulham up 2-0 on Dnipro

  13. jonk says:

    Greg Seltzer suggested it had to do with the artificial turf. Also, apparently Schalke fielded a reserve heavy side and lost.

  14. JSmiley says:

    Friedel

    Dolo – Gooch – Boca – Spector

    Kljestan – Edu – Jones – Bedoya

    Jozy – Deuce

    I’d take that lineup.

  15. torporindy says:

    Dempsey has a brace.

  16. torporindy says:

    And the BBC Football Live ticker reported that American “Marcos” Bocanegra is starting for Rangers today. Respect.