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UEFA Europa League group stage begins

The UEFA Europa League group stage kicks off Thursday afternoon with all 48 teams across 12 groups getting their campaigns underway, and a few Americans have a stake in the day's action.

Sacha Kljestan has reportedly been nursing an ankle knock, and it's unclear whether he'll be included in the squad for RSC Anderlecht's Group G opener with Zenit St. Petersburg.

Freddy Adu isn't on the gameday roster for Aris Salonika, a team that might have the tallest mountain to climb on Thursday, as it faces defending champion Atletico Madrid in its Group B debut.

Over in Group D, Jozy Altidore is in the starting lineup as Villarreal squares off with Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb.

If you will be watching any or all of Thursday's games either on GOLTV, DirecTV or via Internet feed, feel free to make this your spot to share any thoughts, opinions and play-by-play throughout the day. Enjoy the action (TV/time schedule after the jump):


1 p.m.


  • Juventus vs. Lech Poznan, GOLTV
  • SV Salzburg vs. Manchester City, DirecTV 482


  • Aris Salonika vs. Atletico Madrid, DirecTV 481
  • Bayer Leverkusen vs. Rosenborg, DirecTV 486


  • Levski Sofia vs. KAA Gent
  • Lille vs. Sporting Lisbon, DirecTV 484


  • Club Brugge vs. PAOK Salonika
  • Dinamo Zagreb vs. Villarreal, DirecTV 483


  • AZ Alkmaar vs. Sheriff Tiraspol, DirecTV 488
  • Dynamo Kiev vs. BATE Borisov


  • Lausanne Sports vs. CSKA Moscow, DirecTV 485
  • Sparta Prague vs. Palermo, DirecTV 487

3 p.m.


  • AEK Athens vs. Hajduk Split
  • Anderlecht vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, DirecTV 484


  • Getafe vs. Odense BK, DirecTV 487
  • VfB Stuttgart vs. BSC Young Boys, DirecTV 488


  • Debrecen vs. FC Metalist Kharkiv
  • PSV Eindhoven vs. Sampdoria, DirecTV 482


  • Sevilla vs. Paris-St. Germain, GOLTV
  • Karpaty Lviv vs. Borussia Dortmund, DirecTV 483


  • Liverpool vs. Steaua Bucuresti, DirecTV 481
  • Napoli vs. Utrecht, DirecTV 486


  • Besiktas vs. CSKA Sofia
  • FC Porto vs. Rapid Vienna, DirecTV 485


  1. Aden, like I said you are a hater, every board needs one, as I find it more refreshing then all those fans that put certain people on pedestals like they can do no wrong. You have to look at football as a team game first. If the entire team looks less then impressive, you can’t fault one single player. Thatsaid does Altidore need to improve, yes he does. He should as Villarreal is a great team to grow on. Like I have said before, let him develop one or two years then we can talk.

  2. One can cheer and criticize; however, the next step for Jozy won’t be suddenly lighting up La Liga but regularly scoring against CONCACAF opponents, like in the Gold Cup, as someone pointed out, though not with the far-fetched suggestion of hat-tricks. I don’t think we can put any pressure on him, because what are we to him besides anonymous fools on the series of tubes? Nothing on here will “cut his morale.”

  3. Seems like Jozy’s overall effort has improved. Last year, there were lots of stories of Jozy’s laziness. Now, he is getting minutes with a team that has a lot of talent up front. That says something.

    Being the #4 striker on a Europa league team this year would be good enough at this stage. If they do sell Rossi, we’ll see if he moves up the ranks. Either way, he’s getting minutes and great training. That’s good.

    No one questions Gale Boss sitting on the sidelines with SB because he’s learning and getting great training. He’s less than 2 years younger than Jozy (I think!). Jozy’s accomplished more before 21 than any other American. Let’s let the next 2 years play out and then start worrying about Jozy.

  4. Overall though let’s not put too much pressure on him. We know he stinks at times or he could have scored in the WC and we have every right to criticize him, but let’s not cut his morale. Let’s cheer for him.

  5. We all want Jozy to succeed. He has the talent and skill to become the greatest American striker but of course he will have lots of adversity along the way. He’s the first US outfield player to play in La Liga and for a top5 club, no less. He has to fight day in and day out for even making the bench. He could have scored today or many others but he will make up for it. I believe in the guy. He’s only 20 but so far he;s had 1 full season in the EPL, played at the Olympics, started in the Confed Cup, played in the WC.

    He will succeed. Even if he turns out like McBride that won’t be bad. McBride had decent stats for an aging striker. Jozy has age on his side so he should do swell. Look at him to blow up at the next Gold Cup. Hat tricks galore.

  6. I don’t want him to fail. But he makes it very difficult to like him with all of the poor showings and choices he makes.

    He’s developed the same “lazy” title that Adu was given. And I think that American fans think he is much better than he actually is.

    Personally, I think he is digressing.

  7. I don’t question that he needs to improve. My thought is that you seem to want him to fail so you can make a point. I could be reading that wrong though.
    Either way I do hope he continues to get time and improve on the ball. I only care about the NT and as he is our best forward option I’d love it if he succeeds at the club level as well.

  8. so overall, not bad from Jozy, considering Villareal got absolutely DOMINATED in this game. (surprisingly) But he has to do better in the box when it comes to finshing; same old story i know. he is great in the open field, but there was at least one chance i saw (see comment at 2:28pm) where an average striker would’ve been able to have a better touch to himself and finish. he’s still got a ways to go…let’s just hope his club is patient enough with him.

  9. I’m no defender of Altidore, but Villareal does look terrible. No service on set pieces (limited) nor during run of play and shaky in the back.

  10. I don’t what game you have been watching, but ALL of Villarreal has looked HORRIBLE and while he is not rising above the rest, he is not receiving anything in the way of service.
    Rossi looks horrible.

  11. I’m not sure what game you guys are watching, but Jozy has been playing poorly in my opinion.

    He doesn’t appear to have the skill to compete.

  12. Adu when he was at RSL never impressed me that much. I always thought his attitude and ego were a bit to big for someone who hadn’t shown much on the field. It didn’t help that the press continued to sing his praises. With that being said, I hope he finds his groove and enjoys his football and his life.

  13. Yeah, he’s looked fine, but not spectacular. Has dropped back and linked up well a couple times, but is a bit stagnant up front, as most of the team is.

  14. Jozy has had some good touches and some shaky ones. Villarreal, as a whole, has looked pretty bad. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him yanked in the 2nd half, sadly.

  15. No….it’s diving. I’ve criticized Jozy for diving in the past, as have others. Can’t argue that it doesn’t help the team, but it’s just not honorable.

    Kind of like the Suarez/Scholes handballs on the line.

  16. So is this the official “feel free to post your live commentary as you watch” section? haha. If so…DAMN JOZY…your diving may drive some American fans crazy, but I think its brilliant. It draws fouls, and more American players need to embrace diving. screw American NFL culture! (and yes, i’m a dallas cowboys fan.)

  17. Great news for Jozy. He’s been doing quite well in his limited appearances for Villareal. I believe he scored twice in his last game, albeit it was a friendly game.


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