U.S. men's schedule, results
Rovers, Friedel rally to remain in FA Cup; O'Brien remains injured.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Monday, January 27, 2003) -- United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel was victimized by some very poor defending, but Blackburn Rovers Blackburn Rovers are still in England's FA Cup. Late goals by Andy Cole -- his second -- and Dwight Yorke's equalizer in stoppage time gave Rovers a 3-3 draw Saturday with visiting Premier League rival Sunderland, forcing a fourth-round replay on February 5.
A loss would have been the second in Cup action in three days for Rovers who were eliminated in a Worthington Cup semifinal by Manchester United on Wednesday.
Sunderland came out firing and Blackburn found itself behind 1-0 after less than two minutes after Rovers' David Thompson gave the ball away to Sunderland's Julio Arca. Arca ran free down the left side, catching the Blackburn defense completely flatfooted before passing inside to an unmarked Marcus Stewart whose first touch beat a helpless Friedel.
Cole tied the match at 1-1 in the 14th minute with the remainder of the first half seeing a lot of back and forth action, but few real chances. In the second half, Rovers seemed to let down and defensive miscues in the 52nd minute were costly. Defender Andy Todd lost control of the ball in his own penalty area and Sunderland's Kevin Kilbane pounced on it, feeding an unmarked Michael Proctor who beat Friedel from point-blank range to make it 2-1.
Friedel kept the match close in the 60th minute with a brilliant piece of work. Arca broke free through the Rovers defense completely, but Friedel dove to block his shot. The ball came back to Stewart whose rebound, aimed at empty net, was kicked away by Friedel.
There was little the American keeper could do in the 70th minute when Arca's corner kick went to Jody Craddock on the edge of the box. His seemingly innocuous back-heel pass went past two defenders to Kevin Phillips who buried it from inside the six-yard box for a 3-1 advantage.
Three minutes later, Cole cut the deficit to one and Yorke tied it in injury time.
In a meeting of two desperate sides in England's First Division, Preston North End, with U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis in his usual position on the left flank, drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest in a match featuring numerous chances neither side could finish.
North End, 18th among 24 teams with a 7-11-11 record and 32 points, broke a six-match losing streak while Forest is without a victory in its last six outings. Nottingham still stands fourth at 12-8-9 with 45 points.
In the Second Division play, Huddersfield Town produced a big win at home, 1-0 over Cardiff. American midfielder John Thorrington, who has been injured and otherwise out of favor, entered the game in the 74th minute and was involved in the play that led to Town's goal six minutes later.
Thorrington did not make it to the final whistle, departing in the 90th minute after suffering an unspecified injury.
Although Ajax does not resume league play in the Netherlands until Saturday, the news is not good for U.S. defender John O'Brien. Still suffering from an Achilles heel injury that has hampered him all season, O'Brien did not accompany the team to its winter-break training camp in Portugal or to several friendly matches during the break.
Energie Cottbus and U.S. central defender Gregg Berhalter got off to a good start as the German Bundesliga emerged from its winter break. Cottbus scored one of its biggest road victories in recent memory, drubbing of Bayer Leverkusen 3-0.
The triumphed was tempered by the fact the usually powerful Leverkusen is suffering through a terrible season, tied for 13th place at 5-8-5 with 20 points. Cottbus (3-11-4, 13) is tied with Kaiserslautern for last place, 18th and last if you consider its goal differential is minus-22, 10 worse that Kaiserslautern. It will take many more efforts like yesterday to avoid relegation.
Berhalter logged a solid effort, winning duels in the air and on the ground while picking up a yellow card for a rough foul in the process.
American Tony Sanneh returned to FC Nürnberg after his flirtation with West Bromwich Albion of England's Premier League ended essentially with name-calling and finger-pointing between the two sides.
However, it appears that the big right back\midfielder might have medical problems that could keep him sidelined. Nürnberg officials told the German media that Sanneh sought treatment for back problems in Los Angeles over the winter break and he has not been training.
A team spokesperson said Sanneh might be out a month if he takes injections, considerably longer if he needs surgery. A second opinion from the team's German physicians is being sought.
Hannover 96, with American Steve Cherundolo at right back, wasted a two-goal lead Saturday and settled for a 2-2 draw with Hamburg SV. American striker Conor Casey, who reportedly participated in winter-break training after a long rehab from injury, was not on the Hannover bench.
Although he was recalled from the U.S. training camp in Florida, defender Cory Gibbs did not play for St. Pauli which drew 1-1 with Eintracht Frankfurt.
In Coupe de France, struggling Metz defeated Nancy 1-0 with young American Oguchi Onyewu starting as a defensive midfielder. According to press reports, Onyewu helped preserve the win by clearing a ball off the goal line in the 30th minute.
In other news from France, U.S. defender Greg Vanney, reportedly on the outs with his coach at Bastia, has accepted a loan deal that will take him to Nancy in the second division for the remainder of the season.
San Jose Earthquake defender Wade Barrett, unhappy with the new contract he was offered by Major League Soccer, agreed to terms with AGF Aarhus of the Denmark's Superligaen and will join the team early next month with league play resuming March 9.
Meanwhile, Earthquakes teammate, goalkeeper Joe Cannon, signed a six-month contract with Lens which plays in France's Le Championnat.
"I am looking forward to proving myself and proving that a goalkeeper who was developed in Major League Soccer can succeed in Europe," Cannon was quoted on the Quakes’ web site. "I think this will be a great opportunity to measure myself against some great players. This was probably the most difficult decision that I have ever had to make in my life. I am leaving my friends and family, and the organization that has been great to me the past four years."
Lens coach Joel Muller needed a keeper after dropping former starter Guillaume Warmuz and losing current backup keeper Sebastien Chabbert for the season to arm surgery.
The current starter is young and inexperienced Charles-Hubert Itandje, 20.