American Exports: Yanks learn their fates in UEFA draws
AMSTERDAM – Several Americans learned their playoff round fates in Friday's Champions League and Europa League draws.
Sacha Kljestan (above) and Anderlecht will kick off their Champions League playoff tie at Cypriot side AEL Limassol on Aug. 22, with the return set for Belgium the following Tuesday. Also facing an opponent for the first time that same day will be Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona, who start the next round at Belarusian champs BATE Borisov.
If Rangers midfielder Alejandro Bedoya – who arrived at Helsingborg for a medical exam on Friday afternoon – can complete a transfer to the Swedish kings, he would be in line to face current Scottish rivals Celtic in the Champions League playoff round. The Reds will host leg one on Aug. 21 before traveling to Parkhead for the decider eight days later.
Over in the Europa League draw, Oguchi Onyewu and 2011 semifinalists Sporting CP are matched up in the playoff round with AC Horsens. The Danes will be at home for the Aug. 23 opener, but then must enter the Lions' den for leg two the following Thursday.
Jozy Altidore's AZ Alkmaar and Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96 are hoping to better last year's quarterfinal finishes when they begin the next round away to Russian cash-flashers Anzhi Makhachkala and Polish outfit Slask Wroclaw, respectively.
Rosenborg and new recruit Mikkel Diskerud will also play leg one on the road, with Polish side Legia Warsaw standing between them and the Europa League group stage. Josh Gatt and fellow Tippeligaen side Molde FK, however, open at home to Heerenveen.
Finally, Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna will take aim at the club's fourth UEFA group stage in eight seasons when they kick off the playoff round away to Greek club PAOK.