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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
EUROPE: Much Edu about Rangers' success

By Scott French

Fontana's Maurice Edu was in rare form last weekend as Rangers FC, already off to a fine start in its bid for a fourth straight Scottish Premier League title, romped to a 4-0 triumph at Dunfermline.

Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra made his imprint, too.

Both Americans scored early goals for the Glasgow giant, which followed with a 2-0 victory Tuesday over Kilmarnock -- with Edu assisting the second goal -- to open a seven-point lead on archrival Celtic barely two months into the season.

Bocanegra headed home Steven Davis' corner kick in the ninth minute, his second goal for the Blues since arriving from France's Saint-Etienne, and Edu doubled the advantage with an impressive 20-yard blast eight minutes later.

Edu, who has exhibited erratic form since joining Rangers in 2008, was superb all afternoon, and manager Ally McCoist singled him out for praise.

“I'm delighted with Maurice,” McCoist, a former star striker for Rangers and Scotland, said on the club's website. “I'm just pleased for him, because there have been a couple of times when his form hasn't been great. He has had a little bit of criticism, as everybody does when you sometimes warrant it and things aren't going well. I did say that the one thing he would do would be play his way out of it and keep going, and he has to keep doing that.

“He's that type of player, and he has to use his athleticism and aggression. He's a mean footballer when he uses those two attributes. I think the best qualified people to talk about Maurice Edu are his teammates, and they are all pleased for him.”

Edu kept it up Tuesday, providing the return pass for Greg Wylde's 66th-minute goal.

GUNNING FOR RIVAL: Former UCLA All-America (and one-time U.S. national team goalkeeper) Brad Friedel has played his part in three successive victories that have sent Tottenham from last in the English Premier League to sixth.

After conceding eight goals in losses to Manchester's powers, United and City, to start the campaign, Friedel has shut out Wolves and Liverpool and made the saves he needed in a 2-1 triumph last weekend at Wigan.

He faces his biggest yet for Spurs on Sunday: the North London Derby against hated Arsenal, which has won three in a row, all competitions, following a nightmare start to its EPL campaign.

WORTH NOTING: Michael Bradley stayed in the starting lineup for Chievo Verona, which toppled Genoa, 2-1, knocking it from atop Italy's Serie A to third place. The Flying Donkeys also are 2-1-1. ... Belgian power Anderlecht, with Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestjan, is in Russia for a UEFA Europa League showdown Thursday with Lokomotiv Moscow. Both won their Group L openers two weeks ago. ... Tottenham is home against Ireland's Shamrock Rovers in Group A, but Friedel doesn't figure to play. ... Former UCLA standout Brad Rusin returned from a groin injury, coming on in overtime of HB Køge's Danish Cup victory Wednesday at Esbjerg. M DANNY BARRERA (Thousand Oaks)
Club:
FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda (Serbia, SuperLiga)
Last week: Was not in the 18 as fifth-place Plavi Golubovi (3-0-3) won, 3-2, Saturday at OFK Belgrade
Season: 0 games
Next: Saturday vs. 12th-place Jogodina (1-3-2)

D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes for the first-place Blues (8-0-1), with a ninth-minute goal, in a 4-0 win Saturday at Dunfermline; 90 minutes in a 2-0 win Tuesday over Kilmarnock
Season: 5 league game (5 starts) with 1 goal; 8 games (8 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions for Rangers; 9 games (9 starts) with 2 goals for all clubs
Next: Saturday vs. 10th-place Hibernian (1-4-3)

F TRISTAN BOWEN (Van Nuys)
Club:
KSV Roeselare (Belgium, Tweedeklasse)
Last week: Did not play as 11th-place KSVR (1-2-3) lost, 2-1, Saturday at Lommel United
Season: 2 league games (2 starts); 3 games (3 starts) in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. seventh-place Royal Antwerp (3-2-1)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Chievo Verona (Italy, Serie A)
Last week: 90 minutes as the seventh-place Flying Donkeys (2-1-1) won, 2-1, Sunday vs. Genoa
Season: 3 league games (2 starts)
Next: Sunday at last-place Cessena (0-4-0)

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes for the first-place Blues (8-0-1), with a 17th-minute goal, in a 4-0 win Saturday at Dunfermline; 90 minutes, with an assist, in a 2-0 win Tuesday over Kilmarnock
Season: 8 league games (8 starts) with 2 goals; 12 games (12 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. 10th-place Hibernian (1-4-3)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (UCLA)
Club:
Tottenham (England, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes for sixth-place Spurs (3-2-0), with two saves, in a 2-1 win Saturday at Wigan
Season: 5 league games (5 starts) with 9 goals against, 24 saves and 2 shutouts
Next: Thursday in a UEFA Europa Cup Group A game vs. Shamrock Rovers (Ireland); Saturday at 15th-place Wigan (1-2-2)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 90 minutes as the second-place Mauves (5-1-2) won, 3-2, Sunday vs. Germinal Beerschot
Season: 7 league games (7 starts) with 1 goal; 10 games (10 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Thursday in a UEFA Europa Cup Group L game at Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia); Sunday at fifth-place Racing Genk (3-1-4)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: Was not in the 18 as the ninth-place Bulls (8-9-8) lost, 2-0, Sunday vs. Spartak Moscow
Season: 19 league games (13 starts) with 6 goals, 20 games (13 starts) with 6 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday at third-place Dinamo Moscow (14-6-5)

D BRAD RUSIN (UCLA)
Club:
HB Køge (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen)
Last week: Was not in the 18 for the last-place Swans (1-8-1) in a 0-0 draw Sunday vs. Sonderjyske; 97th-minute substitute in a 3-1 overtime victory Tuesday at Esbjerg in a Danish Cup third-round match
Season: 5 league games (5 starts) with 2 goals; 1 cup game (0 starts); 6 games (5 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at seventh-place Odense (4-4-2)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: In the 18 but did not play as seventh-place Paderborn (4-2-3) won, 4-1, Friday vs. Paderborn
Season: 5 league games (2 starts) with 1 goal; 6 games (4 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at 16th-place MSV Duisburg (1-5-3)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club:
TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Was not in the 18 for the sixth-place Lions (5-4-0) in a 2-0 loss Sunday at SpVgg Fürth
Season: 0 games
Next: Sunday vs. 13th-place Dynamo Dresden (2-6-1)