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McKenzie, Aaronson among Americans set for European group stage involvement


An additional nine American players learned their fates for the upcoming UEFA Europa and Conference League group stages.

Mark McKenzie, Paxten Aaronson, and Djordje Mihailovic are among the U.S. men’s national team players who will be a part of the respective competitions. In addition, Timmy Chandler, George Bello, Erik Palmer-Brown, Dante Polvara, Christian Cappis and Henry Wingo are also set for European involvement.

McKenzie and Genk outlasted Adana Demirspor in penalty kicks on Thursday to reach the Conference League group stage. They will be joined by Wingo and Ferencvaros in Group F, along with Fiorentina and Čukarički. 

Mihailovic and AZ Alkmaar also reach the competition’s group stage and will meet Aston Villa, Legia Warsaw, and Zrinjski in Group E.

Aaronson earned his first start for Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday in Conference League qualifying as the Bundesliga side defeated Levski Sofia 3-1 on aggregate. Aaronson and Chandler will face Polvara and Aberdeen in Group G, as well as PAOK and HJK Helsinki.

A trio of USMNT players will be in Group B after PSV was paired with Sevilla, Arsenal, and Lens. Sergino Dest featured twice for PSV in UCL qualifying this month as the Eredivisie giants eliminated Rangers 7-3 on aggregate.

Bello and LASK advanced into the Europa League group stage, where they will be joined by EPL heavyweights Liverpool, Belgian side Union St. Gilloise, and French side Toulouse in Group E. The former Atlanta United defender made a permanent move to LASK earlier this summer.

Erik Palmer-Brown and Greek side Panathinaikos have been paired with Villarreal, Rennes, and Maccabi Haifa in Group F of the Europa League.

Cappis, who joined Norwegian side Molde on loan Friday, will enter the Europa League group stage later this month. Molde received a tough draw with German club Bayer Leverkusen, Qarabag, and Hacken joining them in Group H.

The UEFA Europa League and Conference League group stages begins on September 21 and will run through mid-December.

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