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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
EUROPE: Maurice Edu's return on the horizon

By Scott French

Fontana's Maurice Edu didn't make the trek to Turkey for Rangers FC's UEFA Champions League finale Tuesday, but he's expected back soon -- possibly this weekend.


The former Etiwanda High School standout has been sidelined since going down with a knee injury in a Scottish Premier League match Nov. 10 against Hibernian, and the club's Web site reported that he "isn't far away from returning to the fray."

He won't play Tuesday in Rangers' meaningless clash with Bursaspor in Bursa, Turkey, but he might return for Saturday's league game at Inverness Caledonian Thistle -- if it goes off.

Tuesday's game counts for nothing: The Blues (1-2-2) have clinched third place in the four-team Group C -- and will drop into the second-tier UEFA Europa League's round of 32 -- and Bursaspor (0-5-0) is last. Edu, the Web site said, is building fitness and recovering from tonsillitis.

Edu has missed only three games, and he can thank the harsh weather that has hit Scotland the past month. Rangers hasn't played since it was eliminated from the Champions League by Manchester United on Nov. 24. Its last two Scottish Premier League matches were postponed because of icy conditions that left fields unplayable.

ANDERLECHT, TOO?: Belgian champion Anderlecht, with Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestan, also is hoping to be in the Europa League's knockout stage, which begins play in February. The Zebras are third in Group G of the Europa League with a 1-3-1 mark following last week's 3-1 loss to Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia and must finish in the top two.

A victory in next week's group finale against Croatia's Hajduk Split coupled with a Zenit victory at second-place AEK Athens (2-2-1) will send Anderlecht through. The Belgians win the tiebreaker with the Greeks on head-to-head play.

VILLA OUT AMID TROUBLE: Former UCLA star Brad Friedel surrendered an 84th-minute winner to Nikola Zigic, and Aston Villa was knocked out of England's League Cup with a 2-1 quarterfinal loss last week at crosstown rival Birmingham City.

Blues fans celebrated by storming the field and rushing toward Villa supporters. Their taunts were met by thrown flares, on-field clashes led to five arrests and 14 people needing treatment at area hospitals, and a local government official demanded an inquiry into security at St. Andrew's Stadium.

ETC.: Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra scored his first goal of the year, heading home a Dimitri Payet free kick, in Saint-Etienne's 2-2 French Ligue 1 draw with Bordeaux. The U.S. national team captain's strike gave Les Verts a 2-1 lead, but Fernando Menegazzo's goal in the 89th minute pulled the Girondins even. ... Manhattan Beach's Michael Bradley also scored, his fourth goal of the season, sneaking a 40-yard free kick through the box and inside the far post in the 17th minute against Hannover 96, captained by his U.S. teammate Steve Cherundolo. Bundesliga basement-dwellers Borussia Moenchengladbach couldn't hold on, giving up goals two minutes apart to Mike Hanke and Didier Ya Konan to lose, 2-1. ... Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan, who has 14 goals this season for Danish club Randers, failed to score in his final five appearances before the winter break. If he doesn't move to warmer climes during the winter transfer window -- Spain is a possibility -- he'll return to league action in March.

D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club:
Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: 90 minutes at left back as Les Verts (5-4-7) climbed to 11th with two draws -- 1-1 Wednesday at Valenciennes and 2-2 Sunday against Girondins Bordeaux -- with Bocanegra scoring the second Saint-Etienne goal Sunday
Season: 12 games (12 starts) with 1 goal in Ligue 1, 13 games (13 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Sunday at 17th-place AS Monaco (2-5-9)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club:
Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany, Bundesliga)
Last week: 90 minutes with a 17th-minute goal as last-place Die Fohlen (2-9-4) lost, 2-1, Saturday to fellow Californian Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96
Season: 15 league games (15 starts) with 3 goals; 17 games (17 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at fifth-place SC Freiburg (8-7-0)

D JAY DENNY (Santa Monica)
Club:
Hednesford Town (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes as the eighth-place Pitmen (8-7-4) lost, 3-2, at Windsor & Eton
Season: 19 league games (17 starts), 23 games (20 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. 18th-place Didcot Town (4-12-4)

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club:
Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: Sunday's game vs. Hearts was postponed on Wednesday because of snow and icy conditions
Season: 12 league games (10 starts) with 1 goal, 4 UEFA CL games (4 starts) with 1 goal, 17 games (15 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday at Turkey's Bursaspor in a UEFA Champions League clash, Saturday at fourth-place Inverness Caledonian Thistle (7-4-4)

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, making 1 save, in a 2-1 loss Wednesday at Birmingham City in a League Cup quarterfinal; 90 minutes, making three saves, as the Villans (4-7-5) fell to 16th with a 3-0 loss Monday at Liverpool
Season: 16 league games (16 starts), 27 goals allowed, 55 saves, 4 shutouts; 2 cup games (2 starts), 3 goals allowed, 7 saves; 18 games (18 starts), 30 goals allowed, 62 saves, 4 shutouts in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. ninth-place West Bromwich Albion (6-6-4)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club:
RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a 74th-minute yellow card, as Les Mauves et Blancs (1-3-1) fell to third with one game remaining in Group G of the UEFA Europa League with a 3-1 loss Wednesday at Zenit St. Petersburg; 90 minutes as RSCA (12-2-4) remained atop the Jupiler League standings with a 2-1 win Sunday at ZulteWaregem
Season: 10 league games (7 starts) with 2 goals, 3 Europa Cup games (3 starts), 17 games (14 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at fourth-place KSC Lokeren (9-3-5)

D DALLAS MOORE (Santa Monica)
Club:
Halesowen Town FC (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: Saturday's game at Chesham United postponed because of poor weather
Season: 12 league games (12 starts) with 1 goal
Next: Saturday at 10th-place Cirencester Town (7-8-4)

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club:
Randers (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen/Superliga)
Last week: 90 minutes as the 10th-place Horses (3-6-10) drew, 1-1, Sunday at Sonderjyske
Season: 17 league games (15 starts) with 5 goals, 25 games (20 starts) with 14 goals in all competitions
Next: March 6 vs. ninth-place Nordsjaelland (6-9-4)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club:
Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany, 3. Bundesliga)
Last week: Saturday's game against first-place Hansa Rostock postponed to Dec. 15 because of snow
Season: 11 league games (11 starts) with 7 goals, 1 cup game (1 start), 12 games (12 starts) with 7 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday at 20th-place Werder Bremen II (3-9-6)