A fine start for Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestan, who scored in his season debut to help RSC Anderlecht bounce back from a stunning defeat in its Belgian Jupiler League opener.
Kljestan (Huntington Beach HS) converted a 26th-minute penalty kick to start Brussels-based Anderlecht toward a 3-1 victory Friday over Mechelen.
The former Chivas USA captain missed the July 29 league opener, a 2-1 loss to promoted Oud-Heverlee Leuven, instead playing in a friendly against minor-league Woluwe the following day.
Anderlecht, Belgium's most storied club, is under pressure to win the Jupiler League after a playoff-round collapse last spring cost the team an expected 31st national title.
BRADLEY GONE?: Bundesliga minnow Borussia Mönchengladbach stunned Bayern Munich in the German league's opener, and Michael Bradley was not involved. He won't be.
Bradley “wants to leave and doesn’t play a role here anymore,” Mönchengladbach manager Lucien Favre told Kicker magazine.
Bradley, whose family lives in Manhattan Beach, went to Aston Villa on loan last January, but the English club declined its option, and the 24-year-old U.S. national team midfielder returned to Germany. Bradley turned down a move to Spartak Moscow, and reported interest from clubs in Italy, France and Turkey has withered over Mönchengladbach's demands.
Bradley has another year on his contract, but 'Gladbach sporting director Max Erble told Kicker that his desire to depart makes for a “precarious situation.” If a move is to be made, it must be done before the transfer window closes at the end of the month -- or Bradley could sit, or play in reserve-league games, until the next window opens in January.
RANGERS SLIP: Two red cards and a late conceded goal ended Scottish champ Rangers FC's UEFA Champions League run right at the start -- a 1-1 draw last week in Sweden was enough to send Malmö FF, a 1-0 winner in the first leg, through to the competition's pre-group playoff.
Fontana's Maurice Edu whipped in a cross for Nikica Jelavic's strike in the 23rd minute, which pulled Rangers even in the third-qualifying-round series, but they were down to nine men when Jiloan Hamad scored the decisive goal for Malmö.
Rangers drops into the second-tier UEFA Europa League playoff and will face Slovenia's NK Maribor in a home-and-home series, with the winner advancing to the group stage, which begins in mid-September.
Kljestan and Brad Friedel (Tottenham) also will be involved in Europa League playoff series Aug. 18 and 25. Anderlecht plays at Turkey's Bursaspor in the first leg, and Spurs opens at Hearts, from Edinburgh, Scotland.
WORTH NOTING: Friedel makes his official Tottenham debut in Saturday's English Premier League opener against Everton, which, of course, also has an American in the nets (Tim Howard). ... Carlos Bocanegra was in central defense as Saint-Etienne opened French Ligue 1 play with a 2-1 win at Bordeaux.
AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club: Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: 90 minutes as Les Verts won, 2-1, at Girondins Bordeaux in Sunday's league opener
Season: 1 league game (1 start)
Next: Saturday vs. 13th-place Nancy (0-1-0)
M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany, Bundesliga)
Last week: Not on the 18-man roster for Sunday's 1-0 victory at Bayern Munich in a league opener
Season: 0 games
Next: Saturday at first-place VfB Stuttgart (1-0-0)
M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club: Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes, with an assist on Nikica Jelavic's goal and a 37th-minute yellow card, in a 1-1 tie Wednesday at Malmö FF (Sweden) in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League's third qualifying round, with Malmö advancing on aggregate, 2-1; sustained a calf strain in Sunday's 3-0 loss in a friendly vs. Chelsea (England) and pulled out of the U.S. friendly Wednesday vs. Mexico
Season: 2 UEFA games (2 starts); 4 games (4 starts) in all competitions
Next: Saturday at 12th-place Inverness Caledonian Thistle (0-2-1)
M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club: RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a 26th-minute penalty kick, as the sixth-place Mauves (1-1-0) won, 3-1, Friday vs. KV Mechelen
Season: 1 league game (1 starts) with 1 goal
Next: Sunday at 15th-place Lokeren (0-1-1)
F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club: FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: Started, played 69 minutes, as the ninth-place Bulls (6-5-8) won, 2-0, Sunday at FK Amkar Perm'.
Season: 14 league games (9 starts) with 4 goals, 15 games (9 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday vs. 16th-place PFK Samara Kryliya Sove (2-10-7)
F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: SC Paderborn 07 (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Started, played 68 minutes as Paderborn (1-1-1) lost, 3-0, Friday at Union Berlin
Season: 3 league games (1 start) with 1 goal; 4 games (2 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. fifth-place SpVgg Greuther Fürth (0-1-1)
F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club: TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2.Bundesliga)
Last week: Was on the 18-man roster but did not play for the Lions (2-1-0) in a 5-0 win Saturday at Energie Cottbus
Season: 0 games
Next: Sunday vs. 10th-place FC Erzgebirge Aue (1-1-1)