American Exports: Jones, Schalke cruise in Europa win
Courtesy of FC Schalke 04
AMSTERDAM — A handful of American Exports took part in Europa League action on Thursday, with Jermaine Jones notching the winning assist in Schalke's 5-0 cruise through Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.
Midway through the first half, the midfielder's splitting pass put Lewis Holtby into space for a long range bomb that opened the scoring. The win lifted Schalke into first in Group J midway through the group stage.
Elsewhere, Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht stayed perfect through three games atop Group L with a 2-0 win at Sturm Graz.
With the former Chivas USA ace working his now customary 90 minutes in midfield, the Mauves got late second-half strikes from Guillaume Gillet and Matías Suárez sandwiched around a red card that put the Austrian champs down to 10 men.
Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo returned to his usual right back slot for a 2-2 share with Danish kings FC Copenhagen. The Reds twice took the lead only to surrender it each time, remaining second to Group B pace-setters Standard Liège on goal differential.
AZ Alkmaar top scorer Jozy Altidore worked from the bench to help the hosts fight back for a 2-2 draw with Austria Vienna. The US striker entered with his side down two in the 74th minute. Despite the late rally, the Cheese Farmers slipped to second place in Group G.
Jonathan Spector saw yellow during a full shift at right back as Birmingham City moved level on points with Group H leaders Club Brugge by rallying for a 2-1 victory in Belgium.
Three Americans were left out of their club's Thursday affairs. Oguchi Onyewu missed out with a groin knock as 100 percent Group D leaders Sporting CP stayed hot with a 2-0 victory over Romanian side FC Vaslui.
Meanwhile, Clint Dempsey was given a Group K night off as second place Fulham dropped a 1-0 decision at Wisła Kraków and Brad Friedel took his usual Europa League powder as Tottenham grabbed the Group A penthouse with a 1-0 defeat of Russian visitors Rubin Kazan.