Americans seek final push to reach UEFA Europa League knockout stage

Americans seek final push to reach UEFA Europa League knockout stage

Americans Abroad

Americans seek final push to reach UEFA Europa League knockout stage

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Dempsey (Reuters Pictures)

The next two days are rather crucial for a number of Americans abroad, as their quests to reach the UEFA Europa League knockout stage come down to the final game of group play.

Clint Dempsey and Fulham control their own destiny and can advance as the second-place team from Group K with a win over Odense BK on Wednesday (3 p.m., GOLTV). The rest of the Americans whose teams are in action today are already through, with Jermaine Jones' Schalke (which takes on Maccabi Haifa, 3 p.m., DirecTV) and Oguchi Onyewu's Sporting Lisbon (which faces Lazio, 1 p.m., DirecTV) already clinching first place in their respective groups.

Sacha Kljestan's Anderlecht is also through but can improve its chances for the next round by getting at least a point from today's contest with Lokomotiv Moscow (3 p.m., DirecTV) to clinch its group.

With high-powered clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Ajax and Porto dropping down from the UEFA Champions League, this year's Europa League knockout field will provide as stiff a competition as the tournament has seen in recent years, giving any Americans whose teams advance an even better opportunity to showcase themselves on the European stage. 

Here's a breakdown of where Americans and their teams stand heading into the final Europa League matchday:

ALREADY THROUGH

Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, clinched second place in Group B; plays FC Vorskla Poltava on Thursday)

Jermaine Jones (Schalke, clinched first in Group J; plays Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday)

Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, clinched knockout berth from Group L; plays Lokomotiv Moscow with first place on the line on Wednesday)

Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon, clinched first in Group D; plays Lazio on Wednesday)

WORK TO DO

Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar, needs win over Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday or Austria Wien loss to finish second in Group G; can advance with draw and Austria Wien win as long as it doesn't blow +6 goal differential) 

Clint Dempsey (Fulham, needs win over Odense BK on Wednesday or Wisla Krakow loss or draw to advance from Group K)

Jonathan Spector (Birmingham, needs win over Maribor on Thursday and Club Brugge loss to advance from Group H)

Brad Friedel (Tottenham, needs win over Shamrock Rovers on Thursday and Rubin Kazan loss while making up a -5 goal differential to advance from Group A)

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Which Americans do you see going through to the knockout stage? How do you see Dempsey and Fulham faring today?

Share your thoughts below.

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