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Americans On The Continent: Onyewu Leads Standard to Title

By Aaron West

Former Clemson standout Oguchi Onyewu stood tall in the centre of Standard Liege’s defense over two legs, helping his side concede just one goal against fellow Belgian giants Anderlecht.  Despite being “called a monkey several times” in the first leg (according toYanks Abroad), the American went about his business calmly, managing to avoid being one of the many Liege defenders going into the referee’s book. 

Although he was unable to save his side conceding a goal in the first leg, Onyewu’s presence was crucial as he came to young goalkeeper Sinan Bolat’s rescue, clearing from the goal line after the 20-year-old Belgian/Turk fumbled a shot.  The first stage of the two-legged tie in Anderlecht finished 1-1, and the sides headed back to Liege for the final match.

Despite the importance of the match, Onyewu and his defensive partners were rarely troubled in the back.  In an exceedingly hard-fought match, the deadlock was broken by a controversial 40th-minute penalty taken by young Belgian international midfielder Axel Witsel, who calmly stroked the game-winner home from the spot. 

Despite Jelle Van Damme and Onyewu clashing yet again as the Belgian went in dangerously with a high boot to the big American’s head, Standard was rarely in any real danger.  It was a rough and tumble affair, with eight yellow cards being shown on the night, with les Mauves relieved to finally hear the final whistle blow.  In what was his last match for the club, Oguchi Onyewu was able to proudly help his Standard side to their second consecutive league title. 

Oguchi Onyewu, Standard Liege (Belgium)

Away to Anderlecht, 1-1, 90 minutes; vs. Anderlecht, 1-0, 90 minutes,

See above.

Season’s End 

Michael Bradley, Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany)

vs. Borussia Dortmund, 1-1, 90 minutes

Needing only a draw to secure their place in the German Bundesliga for next season, Michael Bradley and Borussia Monchengladbach fought their way to a 1-1 result against Die Schwarzgelben of Dortmund.  After being denied by the post just before the half from a corner, Brazilian defender Dante again struck from a corner to head Die Fohlen into the lead on 57 minutes.  However, their lead only lasted seven minutes before a terrible clearance from M’Gladbach goalkeeper Logan Bailly gifted Jakub Blaszczykowski a chance from barely 12 yards out which he finished with aplomb.  Despite Dortmund’s attempts to push for a winner, the visitors were stymied as M’Gladbach held fast for their survival hopes.

Season’s End 

Carlos Bocanegra, Rennes (France)

vs. Lorient, 3-1, 90 minutes 

Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes maintained their hopes of entering the Europa League tournament as they beat Lorient handily by a 3-1 scoreline.  Playing at his customary left back spot, the strong American went the full 90 before a capacity crowd cheering on the Brittany side.  With this result, Les Rouges et Noir travel to Marseille needing a victory and a Paris Saint-Germain loss to book their pass into the Europa League.

Next up: Away to Marseille, Saturday, May 30 

Square Passes

Benny Feilhaber and Jeremiah White started in the midfield for AGF Aarhus in their 1-0 victory over Brondby.  White played the full 90 minutes, but Feilhaber was substituted in the 66th minute as he works to regain full match fitness.

Charlie Davies did not feature in Hammarby’s last two matches against Brommapojkarna and Halmstad, respectively.

Michael Parkhurst played the full 90 in FC Nordsjælland’s 4-1 home win against Vejle, but came off the bench to play 17 minutes in the 3-2 victory over AC Horsens.

Danny Califf played the full 90 as FC Midtjylland drew 1-1 with Odense BK.

Marcus Tracy is still sidelined with a nagging hamstring injury.

Hapless goalkeeper Luis Robles was unable to keep his side from conceding four goals on the final day of the season as Kaiserslautern fell 4-3 to SC Freiburg.

Matt Taylor and injured goalkeeper David Yelldell played no part in TuS Koblenz’s 4-0 loss to relegated Karlsruhe SC.  Despite the loss, Koblenz will continue in the 2. Bundesliga for next year’s campaign. 

Jozy Altidore was not included in the squad for Xerez’s 2-1 loss to Gimnastic.

Freddy Adu was not on the bench for Monaco’s 1-0 loss to Bordeaux.  He will not feature for the side any more this season and will leave early for U.S. National Team camp in Florida 

Aaron West's feature "Americans On The Continent" appears every Monday on Goal.com.

For more on American player in Europe visit Goal.com's Americans Abroad page.