American Exports: Champions, Europa preview
AMSTERDAM – Several Americans will be hoping to help their clubs kick off European group-stage play on the right foot. Let's take a quick jog through the pertinent match-ups.
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United vs. Rangers
Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET; on Fox Sports Network/DirecTV
American: Maurice Edu (Rangers)
US midfielder is a good bet for the start as the Light Blues invade
Old Trafford. Safely back at their friendly confines, Sir Alex Ferguson will
bring tabloid fodder Wayne Rooney back into the lineup. The only
Champions League meetings between these two storied clubs resulted in a
pair of clean-sheet United victories seven years ago.
Olympique Lyonnais vs. Schalke 04
Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET; on DirecTV
American: Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04)
A Champions League hero two years ago, Jones is a sure starter for the visitors. The Miners need a turnaround in France, having dropped their first three Bundesliga matches. Lyon, who were semifinalists last year and have reached the knockout phase six straight times, will be missing key defenders Aly Cissokho (injury) and Cris (suspension).
AC Milan vs. A.J. Auxerre
Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET
American: Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan)
Gooch won't dress for the Rossoneri's opener, having not made the roster for the group stages. The Italian side are coming off an embarrassing loss to Serie A newcomers Cesena, so they'll want to gain an early advantage in what is perhaps this year's toughest Champions League group.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Villarreal
Thursday, 1 p.m. ET; on DirecTV
American: Jozy Altidore (Villarreal)
The American striker figures to dress in Croatia, but seeing action may be another matter. The Yellow Submarine are coming off a confidence-boosting weekend win, making changes unlikely. Dinamo's danger man is Brazilian attacking midfielder Sammir, who already has five goals in six European matches this term.
Anderlecht vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Thursday, 3:05 p.m. ET; on UEFA.com
American: Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
It's unclear whether Kljestan will dress or not, but what is obvious is that the Mauves need to put on a make-up performance for their fans after crashing out of Champions League qualifying at home. Zenit are running away with the Russian league, but have won just one of five European road games since raising the 2008 UEFA Cup.