Pasadena's Yura Movsisyan says he knows the secret to beating Russia, and Armenia's national team hopes to reap the benefits in next weekend's European Championship qualifier.
The tall striker, one of two players on Armenia's roster who make their livings with Russian clubs, hopes to resume his goalscoring tear as the Lernakanner -- Highlanders -- try to stay in the thick of the Group B race.
“How can we gain victory over Russia? We’ll do it easily!” Movsisyan, who plays for Krasnodar FC, told a Russian website last week ... then broke into a huge grin. “No, of course, it will be a difficult match. But I am sure I will have a good game. I know how Armenia can succeed.”
The Armenians believe they can succeed if Movsisyan is on target. The Azerbaijani-born forward, whose family gained asylum and moved to Southern California during his youth, debuted for the Highlanders last August and has started all five of their Euro 2012 qualifiers, with goals in a draw at Macedonia and wins over Slovakia and Andorra.
A 0-0 draw with Russia in Yerevan last March has Armenia 2-1-2 midway through the group games, two points behind Slovakia, Ireland and the Russians (all 3-1-1). A win Saturday in St. Petersburg would be an upset.
ETC.: England's Daily Mail reports that former UCLA star Brad Friedel, 40, is set to leave Aston Villa to sign with Tottenham. Friedel, a goalkeeper, served as a studio analyst, alongside former U.S. national teammate Eric Wynalda, for Fox's coverage of Saturday's UEFA Champions League final. … Alta Loma's Carlos Bocanegra closed his campaign Sunday with Saint-Etienne, which finished 10th in France's Ligue 1 after a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain. The veteran left back, who captains the U.S. national team, missed only five league matches this season, four after suffering a neck injury in October, and failed to go the distance in only two others.
AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club: Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: 90 minutes at left back as Les Verts (12-13-13) dropped to 10th with a 1-1 draw Sunday vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Season: 34 league games (34 starts) with 2 goals, 36 games (36 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions
Next: Season over
F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club: FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)
Last week: 77th-minute substitute as the 12th-place Bulls (2-4-5) lost, 1-0, Sunday vs. Dinamo Moscow
Season: 6 league games (1 start) with 1 goal, 7 games (1 start) with 1 goal in all competitions for Krasnodar; 25 games (20 starts) with 14 goals for Randers (Denmark)
Next: Friday at 10th-place Rostov (3-5-3)