CHAD WINGER - Friday, August 31, 2007
Ten Americans now know their path to the UEFA Cup group stage, but only nine can potentially move on as for the second straight round there will potentially be a battle between countrymen.
After Charlie Davies and Brian West were adversaries in the previous phase, this round sees Danny Califf and Aalborg drawn with Italians Sampdoria who employ countryman Gabriel Ferrari, although the Under-20 striker is far down the pecking order and most likely will see no action.
As a reward for Davies and his Swedish mates eliminating West and Fredrikstad in the last second of their home-and-home series, Stockholm-based Hammarby were paired up with Portugal's SC Braga.
Tim Howard and Everton were handed a long trip to Ukraine to battle Metalist Kharkiv, while Standard Liege and Oguchi Onyewu will also travel to the former USSR after being matched up with Zenit St. Petersburg.
Long-term injury victim Ramiro Corrales might be available when Brann battle Club Brugge, but Brad Friedel is definitely first choice for Blackburn who will play Greek Cup winners FC Larissa.
The first match of each of the 40 two-game series will be played on September 20th with the return game played on October 4 with the winners from each series will being distributed into eight groups of five.
UEFA Cup First Round Draw
FK Rabotnicki - Bolton Wanderers
Everton - FC Metalist Kharkiv
Hamburg SV - Litex Lovech
Brann - Club Brugge
Heerenveen - Helsingborg
Sampdoria - Aalborg BK
Hammarby - SC Braga
FC Larissa - Blackburn Rovers
Zenit St. Petersburg - Standard Liege