Three Spanish clubs through, Americans crash out in UEFA Europa League

Three Spanish clubs through, Americans crash out in UEFA Europa League

Americans Abroad

Three Spanish clubs through, Americans crash out in UEFA Europa League

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Cherundolo (Getty Images)

Spain's La Liga certainly has a legitimate claim to be called the best league in the world.

After putting two teams in the UEFA Champions League semifinals earlier this week, three more Spanish teams reached the semifinals of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, with all of them crushing the hopes of Americans along the way.

Atletico Madrid eliminated Steve Cherundolo's Hannover with a 2-1 victory, Valencia routed Jozy Altidore's AZ Alkmaar 4-0 and Athletic Bilbao maintained its two-goal aggregate edge with a 2-2 draw with Jermaine Jones' Schalke in the second legs of their respective quarterfinal ties to claim places in the semifinals.

Only one American's team will be represented in the semifinals, as Oguchi Onyewu's Sporting Lisbon advanced past Metalist Kharkiv, getting a massive save of a penalty kick in the second half to eke by with a 1-1 draw and a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Sporting will meet Athletic Bilbao in one semifinal, while Atletico Madrid and Valencia do battle in the other. Given Onyewu's injury timetable, which was said to be eight weeks from the end of February, it's unlikely that he'll be fit for either semifinal leg, with the first one slated for April 19 and the return leg set for April 26. The final will be held May 9 in Bucharest, Romania.

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