U.S. men's schedule, results
Keller's threee straight shutouts are key to Hotspur revival.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Monday, October 6, 2003) -- Of the three American goalkeepers playing in England's Premier League, Kasey Keller might have been a bit lost given Brad Friedel's league best play last season and Tim Howard's much heralded arrival at Manchester United this year. However, over the past couple of weeks, Keller has been at the top of his game and has helped lead Tottenham Hotspur back from its poor start this season.
On Saturday, Keller made several wonderful saves to preserve his third straight clean sheet as Spurs defeated Everton 3-0. In the 13th minute, he stopped Tomasz Radzinski, sent a Steve Watson header over the top, and forced Joseph Yobo to shoot wide. He also assisted on a goal when his long goal kick was knocked on by Fredi Kanoute.
Howard, personally, had a better week than did Manchester United which suffered a midweek loss in the European Champions League. On Saturday, Manchester defeated Birmingham City in a league match. United was only up 1-0 when Jamie Clapham came in on him alone after picking up a ricochet, but Howard was able to block his shot.
"They started the second half well and got about us, but Tim Howard made a good save. . . and we were off, " United manager Alex Ferguson said of the play
On Wednesday, United was humbled 2-1 in a Champions League Group E match by Stuttgart in Germany. Howard twice came up big to keep the losing margin to one which might make a difference given the importance of goal differential in group play.
Two bad defensive breakdowns led to the Stuttgart goals with Howard unable to do anything to stop Imre Szabics and Kevin Kuranyi from scoring. Howard came up huge in the 79th minute to stop a penalty kick, guessing correctly to push Fernando Meira's spot-kick around the post.
"When you play so badly in defense, then you deserve what happened," Ferguson said. "We maybe had a bit of fortune with the (penalty-kick) save from Tim Howard because that goal might mean something to us when Stuttgart comes to Old Trafford."
It was another frustrating week for Friedel and Blackburn Rovers who fell 2-1 to struggling Leeds United. Leeds had dropped its past three matches and manager Peter Reid looked to be in deep trouble.
Playing in front of a passionate home crowd, Leeds managed a pair of goals, the first unfortunate for Friedel, the second a bit lucky. In the 10th minute, Friedel made a brilliant save on Mark Viduka only to see the ball go to Seth Johnson who put away the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
Sixteen minutes later, Friedel seemed to have another Johnson shot covered, but it went off the far post and in for a 2-0 advantage.
Friedel made a number of good saves, the best on Viduka early, and later controlling a chip from Alan Smith just after the start of the second half. Robers did not get on the board until Dino Baggio found net in the 85th minute.
U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna made his first league start of the season and went the distance foe Manchester City in a 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton. City did not play well and Wolves keeper Michael Oakes was up to the task when necessary.
Reyna put in a solid effort as a deep midfielder.
U.S. striker Jovan Kirovski again did not play for Birmingham City in Saturday's 3-0 setback to Manchester United after he saw action with the reserves during the week..
In England's First Division, U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis returned after missing three matches with a knee strain, and he played 90 minutes for Preston North End in a 1-0 win over Wimbledon. Lewis spent large portions of the match in the center of the field, rather than his normal left wing post, playing well and serving at the heart of Preston's attack all afternoon. Twice he whistled shots just wide.
Reading, with American Marcus Hahnemann in goal, looked adrift in a 2-2 draw with Bradford. Reading had lost three in a row and is 1-4-1 since manager Alan Pardew left to join West Ham United, leaving the team's coaching situation up in the air.
Reading did not get the tie until Andy Hughes scored in the 77th minute. Hahnemann played well and could do little to stop either Bradford goal. Reading clearly lacks organization and the defense let down on a number of occasions.
In the German Bundesliga, American right back Steve Cherundolo could do little to affect the outcome as Hannover 96 had two players sent off in a 2-1 defeat to Schalke 04. During the week, Hannover's star midfielder, Czech Jan Simak, was put on the ill list suffering from nervous exhaustion and talking of retirement at age 24.
In the match, Cherundolo again moved the ball forward well, but Hannover's midfield was not up to the task, especially after Julian de Guzman was sent off in the 67th minute.
In Bundesliga 2, U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter scored a rare goal for Energie Cottbus which still ended up on the short end of a 3-1 score line against Karlsruher.
Berhalter opened the scoring when he blasted a header into the net off a corner from Ecke von Reghecampf. That was about the last good thing Cottbus did all day as Karlsruher dominated from that point on. American striker Conor Casey, who has been nursing a sore knee, did not dress for Karlsruher.
American Joe Enochs went the distance in midfield for VfL Osnabrück which drew 2-2 with MSV Duisburg.
In third-division Regionalliga Nord, American defender Cory Gibbs and St. Pauli saw a match against the Schalke seserves postponed because of a wet field.
In Regionalliga Sued, Elversberg, with Americans Tim Lawson and Grover Gibson playing 90 minutes, defeated Aalen 1-0. Former U.S. international Michael Mason went 82 minutes for Elversberg while American Jonathan Cummins recorded his first 10 minutes for Aalen.
American John van Buskirk played the whole game for Siegen which fell 2-0 at home to Offenbach.
In France, U.S. defender Greg Vanney was on the bench for Bastia which lost 3-1on the road in Marseille. Last week, Vanney played well over 90 minutes in a 2-0 win over Sochaux after missing several matches with a twisted knee.
Some media reports indicate he came out of the Sochaux match sore and that could account for his reserve status against Marseille.
In Belguim, U.S. defender Oguchi Oneywu played well for La Louviere which could only manage a 1-1 draw with Mons-Bergen.
In Norway, American forward Robbie Russell scored a 14th minute goal for Sogndal which went up 3-0, but could do no better than a costly 3-3 draw with Odd Grenland. Sogndal badly needed a victory to qualify for next year's UEFA Cup.
Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.