<
>

EUROPE: Rot Weiss Ahlen facing the drop

Will all of Matt Taylor's goals have been for naught?

The Irvine-bred striker has been huge this season for Rot Weiss Ahlen in Germany's third division, scoring 15 goals in 28 games, but a late-season skid -- and a costly administrative violation -- could force the Muensterland club to one of the fourth-tier Regionalliga.

Saturday's 3-0 defeat at VfR Aalen dropped Rot Weiss (10-17-9) -- or “red/white” -- to 18th among 20 clubs in the 3.Bundesliga, in one of three relegation slots, one point behind SV Wacker Burghausen (9-17-10) with two games to play.

Rot Weiss has been blown out in its last two matches and lost six of its last eight league games, but it would be two points above Burghausen -- above relegation -- if not for the three points subtracted from its total last week for violating a league financial regulation. The climb to 17th or higher won't be easy.

Rot Weiss, which is 7-3-2 when Taylor scores, closes with games Friday against fourth-place Rot Weiss Erfurt (17-12-7) and May 14 at second-place Hansa Rostock (23-8-5). Both clubs scored shutout victories in the first meetings this season.

MINOR-LEAGUE FINALS: Jay Denny's Hednesford Town fell just short, but Dallas Moore's St. Neots Town added another trophy to its collection in competitions well below England's top tiers.

The veterans from Santa Monica found different fortunes Monday. Hednesford Town, with Denny in midfield, watched a lead in overtime disappear before falling to Salisbury City on penalties in the Southern League Premier Division promotion final. Victory would have sent the Pitmen to the second level of the Conference, the sixth tier of the English game.

Further down the pecking order sits St. Neots Town, which added the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup crown to the United Counties League Premier Division title it clinched last week. The Saints, with Moore in central defense, beat St. Ives Town, 2-0, to win the tournament for the 36th time. They face Kempston Rovers in the season-ending Hinchingbrooke Cup final Friday.

ANDERLECHT OFF PACE: Huntington Beach's Sacha Kljestan was back in RSC Anderlecht's lineup for Sunday's clash Belgian Jupiler League playoff-round clash with Club Brugge, but the fading Mauves' inability to score dropped them to third in the top flight.

A 0-0 draw left RSCA (21-5-10) three points behind Racing Genk (23-6-7) and behind Standard Liege (20-11-5) on goal difference with four games to play, but the Brussels giant can vault back to the top with a four-goal victory Friday at Racing. Anderlecht is 2-0-1 in the first three meetings this season.

ETC.: Rangers FC' Scottish Premier League lead probably disappears for good this week. The Blues (27-5-3), with Fontana's Maurice Edu in midfield, routed Motherwell, 5-0, to keep a one-point advantage on archrival Celtic, but the second-place Bhoys (26-3-5) will play their game in hand this week and ought to be two points ahead with two games to go come Sunday. … Michael Bradley was on Aston Villa's bench for the first time in five games but did not play in a 2-1 English Premier League loss Saturday at West Brom.

  • 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 (11-10-12) dropped to ninth place with a 1-1 draw Sunday vs. AS Monaco

Season: 29 league games (29 starts) with 2 goals, 31 games (31 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions

Next: Saturday at last-place Arles (1-21-11)

M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)

Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier League)

Last week: Did not play in Saturday's 2-1 loss at West Bromwich Albion

Season: 2 games (1 start) in all competitions for Aston Villa; 22 games (20 starts) with 4 goals for Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)

Next: Saturday vs. 18th-place Wigan (7-14-14)

M/D JAY DENNY (Santa Monica)

Club: Hednesford Town (England, Southern League Premier Division)

Last week: 90 minutes as the Pitmen (27-9-6) won, 3-1, Thursday vs. Leamington in the SLPD promotion semifinals; 120 minutes in a 2-2 draw, followed by a 3-2 loss on penalties, Monday vs. Salisbury City in the SLPD promotion final

Season: 42 league games (42 starts) with 1 goal, 54 games (53 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions

Next: Season over

M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)

Club: Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier League)

Last week: 90 minutes as the Blues (27-5-3) won, 5-0, Saturday at Mothwerwell

Season: 30 league games (30 starts) with 2 goals, 44 games (37 starts) with 5 goals in all competitions

Next: Saturday vs. third-place Hearts (18-8-9)

G BRAD FRIEDEL (Bay Village, Ohio/UCLA)

Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier Division)

Last week: 90 minutes with 2 saves as the Villans (10-14-11) dropped to 13th with a 2-1 loss Saturday at West Bromwich Albion

Season: 35 league games (35 starts), 58 goals allowed, 104 saves, 6 shutouts; 40 games (40 starts), 70 goals allowed, 123 saves, 6 shutouts in all competitions

Next: Saturday vs. 18th-place Wigan (7-14-14)

M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)

Club: RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)

Last week: 90 minutes as Les Mauves (21-5-10) dropped to third place with a 0-0 playoff-round draw Sunday vs. Club Brugge

Season: 21 league games (16 starts) with 2 goals, 29 games (24 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions

Next: Friday at first-place Racing Genk (23-6-7)

D DALLAS MOORE (Santa Monica)

Club: St. Neots Town FC (England, UCL Premier Division)

Last week: 90 minutes in the final league game for the champion Saints (33-1-6), a 1-1 draw Saturday at Long Buckby AFC; 90 minutes in a 2-0 victory over St. Ives Town in the Huntingdonshire Senior Cup final

Season: 15 league games (15 starts) with 2 goals, 3 cup games (3 starts) with 0 goals, 18 games (18 starts) with 2 goals in all competitions for St. Neots Town; 13 games (13 starts) with 1 goal for Halesowen Town (England)

Next: Friday vs. AFC Kempston Rovers in the Hinchingbrooke Cup final

F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)

Club: FC Krasnodar (Russia, Russian Premier League)

Last week: Did not play because of injury as the eighth-place Bulls (2-1-4) drew, 0-0, Sunday vs. Zenit St. Petersburg

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 10th-place Rubin Kazan (2-2-3)

F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)

Club: Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany, 3. Bundesliga)

Last week: 90 minutes for Rot Weiss (10-17-9) in a 3-0 loss Saturday at VfR Aalen that, coupled with a three-point penalty for violating league financial regulations, dropped them into into the relegation zone

Season: 28 league games (28 starts) with 15 goals, 29 games (29 starts) with 15 goals in all competitions

Next: Saturday vs. fourth-place Rot Weiss Erfurt (17-12-7)

F BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)

Club: TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2. Bundesliga)

Last week: Did not dress, because of an ankle injury, as the seventh-place Lions (13-9-9) won, 2-1, Friday at first-place Hertha Berlin

Season: 5 league games (0 starts), 23 games (14 starts) with 7 goals with all 1860 sides

Next: Sunday vs. 13th-place Ingolstadt (9-14-9)