After facing an extended injury layoff, Benny Feilhaber returned to AGF Aarhus’ starting lineup, playing 90 minutes for the first time in months, and leading the Danish side to a 3-1 victory over Esbjerg fB.By Aaron West
Former UCLA standout midfielder Benny Feilhaber made his triumphant return from a severe knee injury that kept him out for nearly the entire season, starting for the second time in succession against Danish SAS-Ligaen rivals Esbjerg fB and coming on as a substitute in the following match against Randers FC.
With trainer Erik Rassmussen deciding to rest many members of the first team in anticipation of a tough stretch of matches, Benny Feilhaber was handed the start in the centre of midfield for Aarhus. Showing signs of his old form, Feilhaber buzzed around the midfield, creating chances for his team and being a general thorn in the side of Esbjerg.
Despite going down in the first 30 minutes, Feilhaber and his teammates battled back before half, as Jacob Poulsen struck from a tight angle in the 43rd minute. In the 57th minute, Feilhaber created havoc in the opposition area with a cheeky lobbed pass. The resulting scramble ended up with Davit Devdariani latching onto the loose ball to sweep it home and hand Aarhus the lead.
In the 90th minute, Peter Graulund’s diving header from Poulsen’s long cross assured the win for Aarhus, and Feilhaber’s first 90 minutes was a success. Just three days later, Aarhus drew 1-1 with Randers FC, with Feilhaber coming off the bench to replace American teammate Jeremiah White in the 67th minte.
Benny Feilhaber, AGF Aarhus (Denmark)
vs. Esbjerg, 3-1, 90 minutes, yellow card; Away to Randers FC, 1-1, 23 minutes
Next up: vs. Brondby, Sunday, May 24
Oguchi Onyewu, Standard Liege (Belgium)
Away to Gent, 1-0, 90 minutes
Despite giving away a penalty in the second half, Oguchi Onyewu marshaled a depleted Standard defense, helping keep a clean sheet as the Belgian giants forced a playoff with rivals Anderlecht. Axel Witsel’s 45th-minute penalty was enough for the visitors, as they held on to keep their title hopes alive for one last chance. Onyewu and Standard will travel to Brussels on Thursday for the first leg of their playoff with Anderlecht.
Next up: Away to Anderlecht, Thursday, May 21
Michael Bradley, Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany)
Away to Energie Cottbus, 1-0, 90 minutes, Away to Bayer Leverkusen, 0-5, 90 minutes
After their dramatic, last-gasp 1-0 win away to Energie Cottbus courtesy of Dante’s 90th minute goal, Michael Bradley and M’Gladbach were demolished 5-0 at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen over the weekend. Despite the embarrassing defeat, Die Fohlen are still assured safety in the Bundesliga by simply achieving a draw in their last match with Borussia Dortmund.
Next up: vs. Borussia Dortmund, Saturday, May 23
Carlos Bocanegra, Rennes (France)
vs. Caen, 1-0, 90 minutes; Away to Nantes, 1-1, 90 minutes
Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes kept their slim Europa League hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Caen and a come-from-behind draw against Nantes. Continuing his excellent form this season, Bocanegra went the full 90 in both matches, and will look to lead Rennes to victory in their last two matches in Ligue 1 and achieve Europa League qualification.
Next up: vs. Lorient, Saturday, May 23
Goalkeeper Luis Robles had his goal besieged against MSV Duisburg as Kaiserslautern succumbed to a 5-3 loss, ending their promotion hopes with a bang.
Matt Taylor earned a rare start for TuS Koblenz, playing well, and helping his side to a 2-1 victory against FC St. Pauli, keeping their hopes of avoiding relegation alive.
Charlie Davies played the entire 90 minutes but was unable to get on the scoresheet against Orebro SK. However, in the next match home to Malmo FF, Davies netted a goal in the 57th minute to assure a 1-0 victory.
Michael Parkhurst played the full 90 in FC Nordsjælland’s 0-0 draw with Sonderjyske, and will look to do the same as they play tonight against Vejle.
Danny Califf played the full 90 against Aalborg BK as FC Midtjylland achieved a 2-1 victory in the Danish SAS-Ligaen midweek. However, he was unable to help his side beat Esbjerg over the weekend, as they fell 0-1 away.
Marcus Tracy is still sidelined with a nagging hamstring injury.
Jozy Altidore was not included in the squad for Xerez’s 1-0 win over Castellón.
Freddy Adu was an unused substitute over the weekend as Monaco drew 1-1 with Valenciennes.
Aaron West's feature "Americans On The Continent" appears every Monday on Goal.com.