AMSTERDAM – The Europa League group stage was drawn on Friday afternoon, lining up several US internationals for direct clashes with compatriots.
Back after a quarterfinal run in last year's tourney, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 ended up in a difficult Group L along with Alejandro Bedoya's Helsingborg. Filling out the pool are FC Twente and Levante, who failed this week in an attempt to lure Sporting CP defender Oguchi Onyewu.
The US defender has drawn widespread attention since being transfer-listed by new manager Ricardo Sá Pinto at Sporting, who were drawn into Group G with Basel, Genk and Hungarian side Videoton.
Group K will have plenty of attention from stateside fans, what with it containing two American goal heroes from Thursday's playoff-round closers. Terrence Boyd (above) and Rapid Vienna and Mikkel Diskerud's Rosenborg will be battling against David Yelldell's Bayer Leverkusen and returning quarterfinalists Metalist Kharkiv.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham are in Group J with Lazio, Slovenian side Maribor and Panathinaikos. Meanwhile, Molde FK will put Josh Gatt's roadrunner act up against FC Copenhagen, Steaua Bucharest and Stuttgart.
Injured midfielder Bryan Gerzicich will miss September 20's Matchday 1 for Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona, who must find a way out of a tough Group I that contains 2012 runners up Athletic Bilbao, Lyon and Sparta Prague.
EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP DRAW
Molde (Josh Gatt)
Sporting CP (Oguchi Onyewu)
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona (Bryan Gerzicich)
Tottenham (Brad Friedel)
Bayer Leverkusen (David Yelldell)
Rosenborg (Mikkel Diskerud)
Rapid Vienna (Terrence Boyd)
Hannover 96 (Steve Cherundolo)
Helsingborg (Alejandro Bedoya)