CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Friday, April 1, 2011
Carlos Bocanegra and Saint Etienne's pursuit of European competition adds another chapter this weekend as the US national team captain and company welcome in Valenciennes.
AS St. Etienne – Valenciennes FC
Ligue 1 action resumes this weekend with St. Etienne picking up their pursuit of a Europe-bound finish at home against lagging Valenciennes.
Following his two-game stint with the US national team, Carlos Bocanegra will resume his role in the Stephanois backline.
The 31-year old played a full ninety as captain in the Americans' 1-1 draw against Argentina, before coming on in the 41st minute in a 1-0 loss to Paraguay.
Coach Christoph Galtier knows his men should claim all three points at home, which can help their waning chances of a Europa League spot.
With ten games to go, the Green and Whites currently sit in sixth with 39 points, still ten adrift from the coveted fourth spot guaranteeing them a spot in the Europa League.
No major injury changes face the St. Etienne squad.
Philippe Montanier's Northerners meanwhile are hovering in 16th with 33 points, and with relegation on their tail. Fortunately for the coach, midfielder Rémi Gomis is the only long-term absentee due to injury for Sunday's game.
In their previous meeting last December the two found the back of each other's nets in a 1-1 draw.
Quentin Westberg will mind the back-up position for fellow keeper Bertrand Laquait when FC Evian TG host Nîmes Friday night to fight through a tight race at the top of Ligue 2.