Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan went the distance as Armenia's national team battled Russia to a scoreless draw that keeps the Highlanders in the mix for Euro 2012.
Armenia (2-1-2) are fourth in qualifying Group B for next year's European Championship, just two points behind Ireland, Russia and Slovakia (all 3-1-1). Nine group winners and the best second-place team will join co-hosts Poland and Ukraine in the 16-nation tournament, and the remaining second-place teams will play home-and-home playoffs for additional berths.
Movsisyan, an Armenia born in Azerbaijan whose family received asylum and moved to Southern California about a decade ago, starred at Pasadena High School and Pasadena City College, then played in MLS before heading to Europe after Real Salt Lake's 2009 MLS Cup triumph. He moved in January to Russia's FC Krasnodar from Denmark's Randers FC and has scored 15 goals this season for the clubs, one in three appearances with Krasnodar.
He accepted last summer an invitation to play for Armenia's national team, traditionally a European minnow, and has since made six appearances, scoring three goals.
The second half of the Highlanders' qualifying campaign will but much more difficult than the first half; four of their final five matches, including the games with the three teams ahead of them, will be played on the road. The next match is June 4 at Russia. Armenia has never come vaguely close to qualifying for Europe's nations championship.
LOCALS IN U.S. TIE: Three Europe-based locals featured in the U.S. national team's 1-1 draw Saturday night with Argentina. Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu were part of the midfield triangle in coach Bob Bradley's 4-2-3-1 alignment, and captain Carlos Bocanegra was in his usual spot at left back.
Juan Agudelo's 59th-minute goal for the U.S. came on a rebound after Argentina goalkeeper Mariano Andujar turned aside Bocanegra's header off a corner kick.
Sacha Kljestan was on the game-day roster but didn't feature; Benny Feilhaber hopes to play Tuesday against Paraguay in Nashville.
ETC.: Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht will begin the playoff stage of the Belgian season Sunday against Standard Liege, with U.S. teammate Oguchi Onyewu. … England's Hednesford Town, with Santa Monica's Jay Denny, is just four points out of the Southern League's Premier Division lead after its ninth straight victory, a 2-1 decision over Oxford City. The Pitmen (22-8-4) have a game in hand against first-place Salisbury City (22-5-8) and second-place Truro City (22-7-6), which is two points back.
AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club: Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: 90 minutes at left back, with the shot that led to Juan Agudelo's goal and an end-of-game yellow card, in the U.S. national team's 1-1 draw Saturday vs. Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J.
Season: 24 league games (24 starts) with 2 goals, 26 games (26 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday for U.S. against Paraguay in Nashville; Sunday vs. 16th-place Valenciennes (7-9-12)
M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes in central midfield in the U.S. national team's 1-1 draw Saturday vs. Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J.
Season: 2 games (1 start) in all competitions for Aston Villa; 22 games (20 starts) with 4 goals for Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)
Next: Tuesday for U.S. against Paraguay in Nashville; Saturday at eighth-place Everton (9-8-13)
M/D JAY DENNY (Santa Monica)
Club: Hednesford Town (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes as the Pitmen (22-8-4) jumped to third with a 2-1 win Saturday over Oxford Town
Season: 34 league games (32 starts) with 1 goal, 42 games (40 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday vs. 18th-place Didcot Town (6-19-8), Saturday at 12th-place Evesham United (11-16-8)
M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club: Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes in central midfield, with a first-half yellow card, in the U.S. national team's 1-1 draw Saturday vs. Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J.
Season: 22 league games (16 starts) with 2 goals, 36 games (29 starts) with 5 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday for U.S. against Paraguay in Nashville; Saturday vs. fourth-place Dundee United (12-7-10)
M BENNY FEILHABER (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: AGF Aarhus (Denmark, 1.Division)
Last week: Was in camp but not on the game roster for the U.S.-Argentina game; Aarhus' game Sunday at Hvidovre was postponed until April 28 because of players missing on international duty
Season: 15 league games (15 starts) with 4 goals, 18 games (17 starts) overall with 7 goals
Next: Tuesday for U.S. against Paraguay in Nashville; Sunday vs. 13th-place Kolding (4-7-6)
G BRAD FRIEDEL (Bay Village, Ohio/UCLA)
Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier Division)
Last week: Idle
Season: 30 league games (30 starts), 51 goals allowed, 90 saves, 5 shutouts; 35 games (35 starts), 61 goals allowed, 108 saves, 5 shutouts in all competitions
Next: Saturday at eighth-place Everton (9-8-13)
M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club: RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: Did not play in U.S. national team's 1-1 draw Saturday vs. Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J.
Season: 18 league games (13 starts) with 2 goals, 26 games (21 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday for U.S. against Paraguay in Nashville; Sunday in league playoff opener against sixth-place Standard Liege (15-11-4)
D DALLAS MOORE (Santa Monica)
Club: St. Neots Town FC (England, UCL Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, assisting a Dan Jacob goal, as the first-place Saints (27-1-5) won, 5-1, Saturday over last-place Rothwell Corinthians
Season: 9 league games (9 starts) with 1 goal, 11 games (11 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions for St. Neots Town; 13 games (13 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions for Halesowen Town (England)
Next: Tuesday at sixth-place Stewarts & Lloyds Corby (17-8-7), Saturday vs. 19th-place Sleaford Town (7-20-7)
F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club: FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: 90 minutes at forward for Armenia's national team in a 0-0 European Championship qualifying draw against Russia on Saturday in Yerevan
Season: 2 league games (0 starts) with 1 goal, 3 games (0 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions for Krasnodar; 25 games (20 starts) with 14 goals for Randers (Denmark)
Next: Sunday at fifth-place CSKA Moscow (1-0-0)
F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany, 3. Bundesliga)
Last week: Idle
Season: 21 league games (21 starts) with 13 goals, 22 games (22 starts) with 13 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. FC Saarbruecken
F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club: TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2. Bundesliga)
Past week: Joined U.S. under-20 team for CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala
Season: 5 league games (0 starts), 23 games (14 starts) with 7 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday with U.S. U-20s vs. Suriname, Saturday with U-20s vs. Panama; Sunday at ninth-place Alemannia Aachen (10-9-8)