EUROPE: Michael Bradley awaits Villa debut
Michael Bradley took the field, where he was greeted with cheers by Aston Villa's faithful, but was in suit and tie for Saturday's English Premier League clash with visiting Fulham.
The U.S. national team midfielder, whose family lives in Manhattan Beach, had to put off his debut with his new club until his International Transfer Certificate arrives from Borussia Moenchengladbach.
So he instead was introduced the crowd before kickoff, saluting all three sides of Villa Park, and then watched U.S. teammate Clint Dempsey beat former UCLA goalkeeper Brad Friedel to lift Fulham to a 2-2 draw.
“I have spoken to people, and the first thing they always say about Villa Park is the heritage of the ground,” Bradley told Aston Villa's Web site. “They talk about Villa Park being a traditional stadium, with a great atmosphere, and they always say the fans are tremendous, they make loads of noise and they are really loud.
“I can't wait to play to get out there and play now. I am just excited to be here and ready to get going. That's why I have come to play in the Premier League. I want to play at the highest level and test myself in the biggest of games.”
He'll likely make his club debut Saturday at Blackpool and hope to make his first home appearance two weeks later against Blackburn. His goal: Make the kind of impact former Irish star Roy Keane made in the EPL.
“I have watched all sorts of games from when I was little, and watched midfielders, obviously,” Bradley told the Guardian. “The one I looked up to was Roy Keane and the job he did at Manchester United. The way he was able to be the engine and heart of their team and help them be successful was something to aspire to.”
Friedel, who at 39 years, 260 days became the oldest player ever to take the field for Villa in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Manchester United, was beaten by Dempsey's header after failing to come up with the ball after charging off his line for a corner kick in the 78th minute.
EDU IN STRIDE: Fontana's Maurice Edu appears to have reached full fitness, or something close, after going 90 minutes for the third time in eight days in Rangers FC's 2-2 draw Sunday with archrival Celtic FC in the Scottish Cup round of 16.
The result forces a replay, on March 2 -- meaning seven showdowns in the “Old Firm” rivalry -- with the winner advancing to a quarterfinal meeting March 12 or 13 at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Edu, who has played in eight games since returning a month ago from a knee injury, has started four of Rangers' five games since Jan. 22.
FINE START: Santa Monica's Dallas Moore debuted at St. Neots Town in the ninth-tier United Counties League Premier Division with a goal in a 6-0 rout of Yaxley. Moore played a role in another goal, too.
His move from Halesowen Town was a step down -- the Southern League Premier Division is the seventh tier of the English game.
ETC.: Saint-Etienne (with Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra) leapfrogged Lyon and Montpellier into fifth place in France's Ligue 1 with a 2-1 win at Montpellier. Les Verts are 4-4-4 on the road with just one loss in their last six away games. … Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestan made his first appearance for Belgian leader RSC Anderlecht since December, coming on late in a 2-0 victory over St. Truiden. … Irvine's Matt Taylor left in the 40th minute of Rot Weiss Ahlen's 3. Bundesliga loss at SV Babelsberg after aggravating a calf injury. … Santa Monica's Jay Denny scored in the 51st minute of Hednesford Town's Southern League Premier Division win over Hemel Hempstead Town. … Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan will be looking for his sixth cap Wednesday when Armenia takes on Georgia in Cyprus. He's scored in his last three appearances for the Armenians. ... American forward Jozy Altidore went to Bursaspor in Turkey on loan from Spain's Villarreal.
- AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club: Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a 44th-minute yellow card, as the Verts (9-5-8) jumped to fifth with a 2-1 victory Saturday at Montpelllier
Season: 18 league games (18 starts) with 1 goal, 20 games (20 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. sixth-place Lyon (9-5-8)
Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier League)
Last week: Was not eligible for the 14th-place Villans (7-11-8) in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Manchester United nor Saturday's 2-2 draw with Fulham
Season: Has not played for Aston Villa; 22 games (20 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions for Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)
Next: Saturday at 15th-place Blackpool (8-13-4)
D JAY DENNY (Santa Monica)
Club: Hednesford Town (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a yellow card, as the fifth-place Pitmen (13-8-4) on Wednesday beat Bashley, 1-0; 90 minutes, with a goal in the 51st minute, in a 2-0 win Saturday vs. Hemel Hempstead Town
Season: 25 league games (23 starts) with 1 goal, 32 games (29 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday vs. Stourbridge in the Southern League Cup quarterfinals; Saturday at third-place Cambridge City (15-5-6)
M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club: Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes as the second-place Blues (17-3-2) on Wednesday beat Hearts, 2-0; 90 minutes in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Celtic in the Scottish Cup round of 16
Season: 17 league games (12 starts) with 2 goals, 4 domestic cup games (4 starts) with 1 goal, 25 games (19 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. eighth-place Motherwell (8-11-4)
M BENNY FEILHABER (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: AGF Aarhus (Denmark, 1.Division)
Last week: League is on winter break
Season: 14 league games (14 starts) with 4 goals, 17 games (16 starts) overall with 7 goals
Next: March 20 vs. Hobro (5-7-3)
G BRAD FRIEDEL (Bay Village, Ohio/UCLA)
Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, with seven saves, as the 14th-place Villans (7-11-8) were beaten, 3-1, Tuesday at Manchester United and drew, 2-2, Saturday vs. Fulham
Season: 26 league games (26 starts), 45 goals allowed, 85 saves, 5 shutouts; 30 games (30 starts), 52 goals allowed, 98 saves, 5 shutouts in all competitions
Next: Saturday at 15th-place Blackpool (8-13-4)
M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club: RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: Was 84th-minute substitute as the first-place Mauves (17-2-6) on Saturday beat St. Truiden, 2-0
Season: 14 league games (10 starts) with 2 goals, 22 games (18 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. 10th-place Westerlo (8-9-7)
D DALLAS MOORE (Santa Monica)
Club: St. Neots Town FC (England, UCL Premier Division)
Last week: Debuted by going 90 minutes, with a goal in the 59th minute, as the first-place Saints (19-1-3) on Tuesday routed Yaxley, 6-0; 90 minutes Saturday as they lost for the first time this season, 4-2 to Kings Lynn Town
Season: 2 league games (2 starts) with 1 goal for St. Neots Town; 13 games (13 starts) for Halesowen Town (England) with 1 goal
Next: Tuesday at 13th-place St. Ives Town (10-9-4), Saturday at Kings Lynn Town in F.A. Vase round of 16
F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club: FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: League is in preseason
Season: 25 games (20 starts) with 14 goals for Randers in all competitions
Next: Wednesday with Armenia's national team in friendly vs. Georgia in Limassol, Cyprus; Russian season opener March 12 at Anzhi Makhachkala
F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany, 3. Bundesliga)
Last week: Wednesday's game vs. VfB Stuttgart II was postponed because the field was frozen; started, played 39 minutes before departing with a calf injury, as 14th-place Rot Weiss (5-8-8) were beaten, 1-0, Saturday at SV Babelsberg
Season: 15 league games (15 starts) with 10 goals, 16 games (16 starts) with 10 goals in all competitions
Next: Wednesday vs. second-place Hansa Rostock (15-4-2), Saturday vs. 15th-place Wacker Burghausen (5-11-7)
BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club: TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2. Bundesliga)
Past week: 88th-minute substitute as ninth-place 1860 (8-5-8) tied, 1-1, Monday against Fortuna Duesseldorf
Season: 2 league games (0 starts), 20 games (13 starts) with 7 goals in all competitions
Next: Monday at fifth-place FC Erzgebirge Aue (11-6-4)