EUROPE: Armenia aims for playoff

October, 4, 2011
10/04/11
4:25
PM PT
Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan wants to lead Armenia to its greatest achievement in the world's game, and a couple of victories in the next week will have the Highlanders on the verge of completing that mission.

They're chasing Ireland (and Russia) as qualifying for next year's European Championship comes to a close, and a showdown next Tuesday in Dublin could determine which heads to a home-and-home playoff next month for a berth in Poland and the Ukraine.

Movsisyan
AP Photo/Boris GrdanoskiYura Movsisyan, who honed his game in Pasadena, has big dreams for his homeland of Armenia.

Armenia (4-2-2, 14 points), which was under Soviet control until 1991 and has since not come close to qualifying for a World Cup or European Championship, also needs to beat Macedonia on Friday in Yerevan. Ireland (4-1-3, 15) plays Friday at minnow Andorra.

Russia (5-1-2, 17) is more or less conceded the top spot in Group B. A win at Slovakia (4-2-2, 14), which also is in the mix, will be enough; there's no way the Russians lose their finale at home to Andorra.

Movsisyan, who was born in Azerbaijan, moved to Pasadena when his family was granted asylum a decade ago and now plays in Russia, has scored four goals in seven qualifying appearances.

“It is possible for us to win the group if we win our last two games and if Russia lose their two, but although it is possible, it is unlikely,” he told Irish daily The Evening Herald. “I can't see Russia dropping points in their last two games, and I have to be realistic. Russia have been lucky so far in some games, but they have got the results they needed, and that's what is important, too. But we can finish in second place, and that is our aim.

“It's hard for me to say too much about Ireland, I've only played against them once. But they have great players in their team, they all play with good English clubs. So it's hard to know how all of the matches over the next week will work out, but I believe we can win our games.”

Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra and Fontana's Maurice Edu, both from Rangers FC, and Manhattan Beach's Michael Bradley, from Italy's Chievo Verona, also are on international duty. The U.S. plays friendlies Saturday against Honduras in Miami Gardens, Fla., and Tuesday against Ecuador in Harrison, N.J.

Also in for these games is former Galaxy forward Edson Buddle, now playing at FC Ingolstadt in Germany's second division. Buddle was called in Monday to replace former L.A. teammate Landon Donovan, who pulled out because of a strained quad.

MAUVE-A-LOUS: Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht are soaring in two competitions. The Mauves are atop Belgium's Jupiler League after nine games and have won both of their contests, quite handily, in the UEFA Europa League.

Anderlecht followed its rout of AEK Athens in mid-September with a 2-0 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow to take command in Group L of Europe's No. 2 club competition. A 1-0 win three days later at Racing Genk sent the Mauves (6-1-2) into first place domestically, a point ahead of KAA Gent and previous leader Club Brugge.

Kljestan, the former Chivas USA captain from Huntington Beach, is playing a more integral role in midfield this season for the Brussels-based club.

TOO EXTREME: Tottenham, with former UCLA All-American Brad Friedel in the nets, won its fourth in a row, beating North London rival Arsenal, 2-1. The clubs banded together afterward to condemn fans for the substance of their chants during the match.

Some Arsenal supporters targeted Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor, a former Gunner who inflamed the club's fans with a postgoal celebration two years ago when he played for Manchester City. Noting the terrorist attack Adebayor survived last year, when Togo's team bus was ambushed in Angola before the African Cup of Nations, some chanted: “It should have been you shot dead in Angola, it should have been you.”

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was apoplectic in his postgame remarks.

“How do you chant something disgusting like that?” he asked reporters. “You can't be right mentally. You need help. There's kids up there. What's that kid going to become? I dread to think. ... It has no place in football, no place in life.”

Other chants were directed at Redknapp and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, and the clubs jointly announced they were “extremely disappointed” and were working to identify those who took part and ban them from the stadiums.

WORTH NOTING: Bocanegra and Edu went the full 90 in Rangers' ninth successive Scottish Premier League victory, a 1-0 decision over Hibernian. The Blues (9-0-1) are already nine points up on second-place (Motherwell) and archrival Celtic, which has played one fewer game, is 10 points back. ... Irvine's Matt Taylor returned to Paderborn's starting XI after sitting out the club's previous two German second-division matches. ... Bradley has gone the full 90 three straight games for Chievo Verona. ... Tottenham won its Europa League game last week, beating Shamrock Rovers, 3-1. Friedel is Spurs' goalkeeper for league matches, not those in Europe.

  • AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
M DANNY BARRERA (Thousand Oaks)
Club:
FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda (Serbia, SuperLiga)
Last week: Was not in the 18 as sixth-place Plavi Golubovi (3-1-3) lost, 4-0, Saturday vs. Jogodina
Season: 0 games
Next: Saturday, Oct. 15, at first-place Partizan Belgrade (6-1-0)

D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes for the first-place Blues (9-0-1) in a 1-0 win Saturday vs. Hibernian
Season: 6 league game (6 starts) with 1 goal; 9 games (9 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions for Rangers; 10 games (10 starts) with 2 goals for all clubs
Next: With the U.S. national team for games Saturday vs. Honduras and Tuesday, Oct. 11, vs. Ecuador; for Rangers on Saturday, Oct. 15, vs. sixth-place St. Mirren (3-4-3)

F TRISTAN BOWEN (Van Nuys)
Club:
KSV Roeselare (Belgium, Tweedeklasse)
Last week: Started, played 45 minutes, as 12th-place KSVR (1-3-3) lost, 3-0, Saturday vs. Royal Antwerp
Season: 3 league games (3 starts); 4 games (4 starts) in all competitions
Next: Sunday at fifth-place RCS Vise (4-2-1)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Chievo Verona (Italy, Serie A)
Last week: 90 minutes as the eighth-place Flying Donkeys (2-1-2) drew, 0-0, Sunday at Cesena
Season: 4 league games (3 starts)
Next: With the U.S. national team for games Saturday vs. Honduras and Tuesday, Oct. 11, vs. Ecuador; for Chievo on Sunday, Oct. 16, vs. first-place Juventus (3-0-2)

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes for the first-place Blues (9-0-1) in a 1-0 win Saturday vs. Hibernian
Season: 9 league games (9 starts) with 2 goals; 13 games (13 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: With the U.S. national team for games Saturday vs. Honduras and Tuesday, Oct. 11, vs. Ecuador; for Rangers on Saturday, Oct. 15, vs. sixth-place St. Mirren (3-4-3)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (UCLA)
Club:
Tottenham (England, Premier League)
Last week: Was not in the 18 for Thursday's 3-1 UEFA Europa Cup Group A victory over Shamrock Rovers (Ireland); 90 minutes for sixth-place Spurs (4-2-0), with four saves, in a 2-1 win Sunday vs. Arsenal
Season: 6 league games (6 starts) with 10 goals against, 28 saves and 2 shutouts
Next: Sunday, Oct. 16, at fourth-place Newcastle United (4-0-3)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 90 minutes in a 2-0 UEFA Europa Cup Group L victory Thursday at Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia); 90 minutes as the Mauves (6-1-2) climbed to first place with a 1-0 win Sunday at Racing Genk
Season: 8 league games (8 starts) with 1 goal; 4 UEFA games (4 starts); 12 games (12 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday, Oct. 15, vs. fifth-place Standard Liege (4-2-3)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: 65th-minute substitute as the ninth-place Bulls (8-10-8) lost, 2-1, Saturday at Dinamo Moscow
Season: 20 league games (13 starts) with 6 goals, 21 games (13 starts) with 6 goals in all competitions
Next: With Armenia national team for games Friday vs. Macedonia and Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Ireland; with Krasnonar on Saturday, Oct. 15, vs. 10th-place FK Rostov-Na-Donu (7-12-7)

D BRAD RUSIN (UCLA)
Club:
HB Køge (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen)
Last week: 86th-minute substitute for the last-place Swans (1-9-1) in a 2-1 loss Sunday at Odense
Season: 6 league games (5 starts) with 2 goals; 7 games (5 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday, Ot. 16, vs. eighth-place Sonderjyske (3-4-4)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: 90th-minute substitute as sixth-place Paderborn (5-2-3) won, 1-0, Sunday at MSV Duisburg
Season: 6 league games (2 starts) with 1 goal; 7 games (4 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Friday, Oct. 14, vs. fifth-place Eintracht Braunschweig (5-1-4)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club:
TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Was not in the 18 for the seventh-place Lions (5-5-0) in a 4-2 loss Sunday vs. Dynamo Dresden
Season: 0 games
Next: Friday, Oct. 14, at 17th-place Hansa Rostock (0-4-6)

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