Club futures come into focus for Americans playing abroad
With most soccer leagues in Europe either finished or within a few games of finishing, the future is becoming even more clear for the contingent of Americans playing overseas.
Steve Cherundolo's hopes of competing in the UEFA Champions League vanished over the weekend after Hannover 96's loss left the club five points out of the final Bundesliga spot in the competition with one match remaining in the season. He'll still have a place in Europe, as the team cemented a UEFA Europa League berth by guaranteeing, at worst, a fifth-place finish in the league. All things considered, it's not a bad accomplishment for a team that barely escaped relegation last season.
Sacha Kljestan's Champions League hopes seem to be dwindling as well, after Anderlecht fell in the seventh game of its 10-match playoff campaign in Belgium. Anderlecht trails Standard Liege by three points and a 13 goal-differential for second place and its accompanying Champions League qualifying spot with three matches remaining. Anderlecht is in prime position to at the very least join Hannover in the Europa League.
Maurice Edu could easily return to the Champions League as Rangers continues to lead the Scottish Premier League table with two games remaining. Edu's side controls its own destiny and would win the domestic title with victories over Dundee United and Kilmarnock over the next two weekends.
As for those in the promotion hunt, Robbie Findley could be on the fast track to the Premier League after Nottingham Forest clinched a spot in the League Championship promotion playoff. Should Forest win the four-team competition, he'd join already-promoted Zak Whitbread and Norwich City in England's top flight.
One American who they could supplant in the Premiership is Jonathan Spector, whose West Ham faces a do-or-die relegation clash with Wigan Athletic this weekend. The Hammers need a win just to have a chance at staving off relegation in the season's final week.
Over in Turkey, Freddy Adu helped his Caykur Rizespor team get into the promotion picture with a goal over the weekend. The tally was Adu's fourth since joining Rizespor and second in as many matches, and the club will take part in the promotion playoff with a win or a Boluspor loss in this weekend's regular-season finales.
Adu wasn't the only American to score over the weekend, as Edson Buddle, Alejandro Bedoya and Matt Taylor also found the back of the net. Here's how they and the rest of the Americans playing abroad fared over the past week (statistics encompass all competitions):