U.S. men's schedule, results
Sanneh undergoes procedure for ailing back; Gibbs breaks ribs.
Americans shine in England while U.S. men struggle against Argentina.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Sunday, February 9, 2003) -- On a day when the United States, manned exclusively by Major League Soccer players, produced an anemic performance in a 1-0 loss to Argentina in Miami, Fla., several Americans enjoyed fine days in England.
U.S. striker Brian McBride continued his torrid scoring pace for Everton, but his fourth goal in five matches since being loaned by MLS's Columbus Crew, was not enough to prevent a 2-1 loss to host Charlton United yesterday in England's Premier League.
In a tense match between clubs battling for berths in European competition next season, Charlton went ahead 1-0 on a 19th-minute goal by Radostin Kishishev, a tally that Everton vehemently argued was offside.
Everton, however, came out strong in the second half and soon appeared to have tied the match when McBride's sharply-struck header seemed destined for net only to be cleared off the line by a Charlton defender.
The run of play continued in Everton's favor and, in the 69th minute, McBride made it 1-1 after a fine buildup. A series of quick passes sent Chinese midfielder Li Tie through. His shot deflected off a defender to McBride who put away the rebound from 10 yards.
Fourteen minutes later, Kevin Lisbie scored to give Charlton the win. In the final two minutes, McBride had two good chances, first sending a header inches wide and then having a shot well-saved by Charlton keeper Dean Kiely.
Everton (13-8-6) stands fifth with 45 points, three points ahead of Charlton (12-9-6) which is tied for seventh with Tottenham Hotspur (12-9-6).
U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel's well-earned clean sheet allowed Blackburn Rovers to earn their first league victory since January 1, defeating visiting Southampton 1-0.
Friedel came up big early with two good saves in the space of 45 seconds. First, he denied Chris Marsden who had been sent clear by a fine pass from Jo Tessem. Then, Friedel went low to stop Fabrice Fernandes' booming 25-yard grass skimmer after Rovers had been stripped of possession.
Rovers went ahead 1-0 in the 26th minute on David Thompson's tally and Friedel twice denied dangerous shots by Fernandes in the second half to preserve the win.
"Brad Friedel has been absolutely fantastic against us this season and has cost us five points," Southampton manager Gordon Strachan said of the two meetings between the clubs. "We played well, but I think the difference was Brad today. He had a superman performance against us down on the south coast and he must take the credit for this as well."
Blackburn (9-8-10, 37) is in 11th place, two spots behind Southampton (10-8-9, 39).
U.S. keeper Kasey Keller was also solid for Tottenham which easily dispatched Sunderland 4-1.
Keller did not have a busy afternoon, but made two good stops. He was victimized only once, when Kevin Phillips scored to even the score at 1-1 as the result of Sunderland's only real offensive flurry of the afternoon. After a series of corner kicks, the ball was pushed out to Gavin McCann. His well-placed cross which seemed to catch Keller by surprise and Phillips pounded home the rebound at the far post.
Sunderland (4-16-7, 19), which has been in a downward spiral since U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna went down for the season with a serious knee injury, is in last place and destined for relegation to the First Division.
With striker Geoff Horsfield back for Birmingham City, it looks as if American Jovan Kirovski has fallen to fifth on the depth chart behind Christophe Dugarry, Clint Morrison, Stern John and Horsfield. Kirovski did not dress for yesterday's 3-1 home setback to Chelsea.
In England's First Division, U.S. left wing Eddie Lewis continues to play well for Preston North End and was accorded "Man of the Match honors with a superlative performance that included a goal, assist and a sensational near-goal in a 2-1 home victory over Millwall.
With Preston dominating the early action, Lewis twice came storming down the left side to lay in perfect crosses that caused major problems for the Millwall defense. In the 15th minute, Richard Cresswell's cross found Lewis at the far post and his first-time volley went flying past keeper Tony Warner for a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Lewis eluded two defenders and put the ball onto Lee Cartwright's foot for an easy second goal.
Twice more, Lewis came close to scoring again. In the 35th minute, Lewis launched a long, booming shot that was handled by Warner. Early in the second half, he hit a curling 20-yarder that Warner managed to tip wide.
In the 61st minute, Lewis suffered a hard knock and came limping off the field, replaced by Tyrone Mears.
In England's Second Division, American midfielder John Thorrington did not play yesterday for Huddersfield Town which drew 0-0 at Wycombe.
In Germany's Bundesliga, U.S. striker Conor Casey finally returned to Hannover 96. The young American, out all year from a serious preseason training injury, entered in the 84th minute of a 4-2 decision over FC Nürnberg
With American Steve Cherundolo playing well at left back, Hannover used three first half goals to cruise to an easy win. It was obvious that Casey was far from match fit, but he has been training at nearly full speed since the winter break.
After the game, Cherundolo left to join the U.S. men for Wednesday's friendly in Jamaica.
U.S. defender Tony Sanneh remained sidelined for Nürnberg with back problems. According to press reports, he has also been affected by Nürnberg's financial problems. One of the clubs highest-paid players, he is paid quarterly performance bonuses along with three or four of his teammates.
Reportedly, Sanneh agreed to defer his quarterly bonus for about a month until the club receives its next television payment. Tommy Larsen, Martin Driller and Sasa Ciric have also agreed to the deferral.
U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter played well in a central position for Energie Cottbus which held Hansa Rostock to a 0-0 draw. The match turned extremely physical late and Berhalter picked up a yellow in the 79th minute.
According to press reports, Cottbus asked many of its players to sign contract extensions. Some already have, but the reports said that Berhalter is asking for more money and that negotiations are on-going.
Today, St. Pauli, with American Cory Gibbs in central defense for the first 83 minutes, continued with vastly improved results in the second half and defeated VfB Lübeck 2-0.
In France, U.S. defender David Regis continued his rebirth since the winter break, starting his fifth straight match for last-place Troyes which held solid defense and held Lyon to a 0-0 draw. Despite some recent good play, Troyes seems sure to be relegated, seven points from safety.
American defender Greg Vanney is still in limbo, not dressing for Bastia, but with his expected transfer to Nancy still up in the air. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who did not re-sign for the San Jose Earthquakes' 2003 season, was on the bench, backing up Lens starting keeper Charles Itandje who was sharp in a 2-0 shutuout of Lille.
In the second division, American defender Oguchi Onyewu played this weekend with the Metz reserves rather than travel with the first team to Niort, and did not dress for the first team's midweek 0-0 draw with Wasquehal.