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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
EUROPE: Rangers adds red, white to blue

By Scott French

It appears Ally McCoist has a thing for America. Or at least our players.


The first-year Rangers FC manager already has one Yank in his lineup -- Fontana's Maurice Edu, a regular in midfield -- and now you can add Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra.

And their U.S. teammate Alejandro Bedoya.

The Blues, reigning Scottish champions, made a big splash Wednesday, acquiring Bocanegra -- the U.S. captain under former coach Bob Bradley -- on a $660,000 transfer from French club Saint-Etienne and finalizing an arrangement to bring in Bedoya five months early on a $495,000 transfer from Swedish side Örebro.

Former UCLA All-American Bocanegra, 32, is an experienced defender capable of playing at left back, his primary position in France, or in the middle, his preferred post. Rangers is hoping he can make his debut Thursday night in Slovenia against NK Maribor in a UEFA Europa Cup match.

Bedoya, 24, from New Jersey, is a rising figure within the U.S. national team after making the preliminary roster but not the final list for last year's World Cup.

EUROPA, EUROPA: Three clubs with local players have UEFA Europa Cup playoff-round openers Thursday -- the winners in the home-and-home series will advance to the group stage.

There's Rangers, who dropped down to the continent's No. 2 club competition after a quick ouster from UEFA Champions League play. Belgium's RSC Anderlecht, featuring Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestan, also heads east for an encounter with Turkish club Bursaspor. And former UCLA star Brad Friedel leads London's Tottenham against Edinburgh's Hearts in an England/Scotland showdown.

WORTH NOTING: Edu experienced highs and lows in Rangers' 2-0 win last weekend at Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He scored the second goal, knocking in a rebound in the 68th minute after Nikica Jelavic failed to  convert his second penalty kick of the afternoon, then was red-carded seven minutes later, after picking up his second yellow card. ... Officials at FC Utrecht says a European television report that the Dutch club was about to acquire Michael Bradley from Borussia Mönchengladbach is untrue. ... Friedel's Tottenham debut was pushed back by the riots in north London, so his first chance will be in the Europa League clash Thursday in Scotland. His first league test will come Monday at Manchester United.

D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: Did not play in Saint-Etienne's 1-0 French Ligue 1 victory Saturday over Nancy; transferred Wednesday to Scottish champion Rangers
Season: 1 league game (1 start) for Saint-Etienne
Next: Thursday at NK Maribor (Slovenia) in a UEFA Europa League playoff first leg; Sunday at first-place Motherwell (3-0-1)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany, Bundesliga)
Last week: Not on the 18-man roster for Saturday's 1-1 tie vs. VfB Stuttgart
Season: 0 games
Next: Friday vs. fifth-place VfL Wolfsburg (1-1-0)

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: Started, scored a goal in the 68th minute and was sent off with yellow cards in the 44th and 75th minutes in the Blues' 2-0 win Saturday at Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Season: 3 league games (3 starts) with 1 goal; 5 games (5 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Thursday at NK Maribor (Slovenia) in a UEFA Europa League playoff first leg; Sunday at first-place Motherwell (3-0-1)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (UCLA)
Club:
Tottenham (England, Premier League)
Last week: EPL opener vs. Everton was postponed because of London riots
Season: 0 games
Next: Thursday at Hearts (Scotland) in a UEFA Europa League playoff first leg; Monday at third-place Manchester United (1-0-0)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 90 minutes as the second-place Mauves (2-1-0) won, 1-0, Sunday at Lokeren
Season: 2 league game (2 starts) with 1 goal
Next: Thursday at Bursaspor (Turkey) in a UEFA Europa League playoff first leg; Sunday at fourth-place RAFC Bergen (1-0-2)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes as the ninth-place Bulls (6-6-8) lost, 2-1, Sunday vs. PFK Samara Kryliya Sove
Season: 15 league games (10 starts) with 4 goals, 16 games (10 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at ninth-place Lokomotiv Moscow (8-6-6)

D BRAD RUSIN (UCLA)
Club:
HB Køge (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a yellow card, as the last-place Swans (0-5-0) fell, 2-0, at FC Nordsjaelland
Season: 4 league games (4 starts) with 1 goal
Next: Sunday vs. 10th-place Silkeborg (1-2-1)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: 68th-minute substitute as 11th-place Paderborn (1-2-1) lost, 1-0, Saturday vs. SpVgg Greuther Fürth
Season: 4 league games (1 start) with 1 goal; 5 games (3 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at ninth-place Dynamo Dresden (1-2-1)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club:
TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Was on the 18-man roster but did not play for the second-place Lions (3-1-0) in a 4-0 win Sunday vs. FC Erzgebirge Aue
Season: 0 games
Next: Friday at sixth-place Fortuna Düsseldorf (2-0-2)