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Reyna keeps it brief in Manchester City debut.

Fulham manager Coleman is irate over loss of Reyna to Manchester City.

One error ruins Howard's great effort, Man. U.'s perfect mark.

In surprise, Sunderland transfers Reyna to Manchester City.

Casey scores twice to give Karlsruher 2-1 victory over Ahlen.

Four U.S. goalkeepers shine in England; three win.

Obtaining a work permit is part of the process for Americans seeking to play in England.

Howard stops two penalties, leads Manchester United past Arsenal.

Blackburn seriously looking at Reyna as possible acquisition.

Americans Abroad

Keller faces 24 shots, leads Spurs 0-0 draw with Reyna's City.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)

(Tuesday, September 30, 2003) - It has been an eventful two weeks for Tottenham Hotspur and its American goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

After their worst start in decades, Spurs sacked manager Glenn Hoddle who had fought to acquire Bobby Convey from Major League Soccer's D.C. United, only to fail when the midfielder was denied an English work permit.

Under interim manager David Pleat Sunday, Spurs played a 0-0 draw against visiting Manchester City and U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna. Keller faced 24 shots, many not difficult, but made fine saves on Paulo Wanchope, Nicolas Anelka and Steve McManaman.

The potent midfielder combination of Anelka and McManaman has so far kept Reyna on the bench in Premier League matches. He replaced McManaman Sunday in the 84th minute.

Tottenham was 1-3-2 in league after losing 3-1 to Southampton September 20 with Keller not having one of his best days. He sliced an easy clearance early, giving up a corner kick which led to James Beattie's crashing header for a 1-0 lead in the second minute.

Beattie made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute, beating Keller with a well-placed 25-yard free kick. Kevin Phillips made it 3-0 in the 59th minute before Frederic Kanoute got Spurs on the board two minutes later.

Hoddle was fired September 22, the day before Keller produced a shutout in a 3-0 victory over host Coventry of the First Division in the second round of the Carling Cup (formerly the Worthington Cup).

Pleat, who is essentially the club's general manager, won't say if he wants to return to coaching full-time and rumors are that either former Bayern Leverkusen boss Klaus Toppmoeller or Martin O'Neill, Keller's former manager at Leicester City, will move to White Hart Lane as Hoddle's successor.

Reyna did get his first start in impressive fashion for Manchester City midweek in their 3-2 UEFA home leg win over Belgium side Sporting Lokeren. It was tough sledding for Man City who needed a late penalty kick to pull out the win. Reyna did much of the heavy work in midfield for most of the match playing well at both ends of the field. He was selected as man-of-the-match. Last week, against Fulham, Reyna did not dress for the 2-2 draw.

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard continues to start and play well for Manchester United as he did Sunday in an easy 4-1 win over Leicester. With the match was still close. Leicester nearly scored when Gerry Taggart directed an outswinging Muzzy Izzet free-kick on net, but Howard held the low header. Howard could do little with Frank Sinclair's 73rd minute header off a Izzet corner.

A week ago, in a face-off of the Premier League's top two teams, Howard had a relatively easy time in a pressure packed, fight filled 0-0 draw with Arsenal. On Wednesday, Howard will face a challenge when Man. U. travels to VfB Stuttgart for a Champions League showdown.

U.S. keeper Brad Friedel and Blackburn Rovers lost their third consecutive game at home Sunday, falling victim to Fulham's speedy strikers 2-0. Luis Boa Morte opened the scoring for Fulham in the fifth minute on a cross from Steed Malbranque that was misplayed by Friedel and defender Martin Taylor, either of whom could have easily cleared the ball.

There was little Friedel could do in the 56th minute when Fulham's Louis Saha outran two defenders and put the ball under him.

Rovers could well have been tired after a falling 3-1 at Genclerbirligi of Turkey in the first leg of a UEFA Cup first-round series. Friedel managed to keep the match scoreless until late in the first half. In the 42nd minute, he raced off his line to head a ball away, but Rovers were not able to control and Josip Skoko lobbed a shot home from 30 yards for a 1-0 lead.

Souleymane Youla made it 2-0 a minute later from a sharp angle after beating a defender. Three minutes after Brett Emerton narrowed Rovers' deficit to 2-1, Youla added another goal, outrunning a tiring defense and slotting a shot home for a 3-0 advantage in the 60th minute.

Rovers host the return leg October 15.

On September 20, a late save by Friedel on Steve Stone saved three points for Rovers in a 2-1 road victory against Portsmouth.

U.S. striker Jovan Kirovski finally made an appearance with Birmingham City's first team, coming on as a late substitute in a shocking 1-0 loss to Blackpool in the Carling Cup's second round. He came on in the 85th minute, but could not help overcome the deficit. Kirovski has been playing for Birmingham's reserves, but has not dressed for EPL matches.

In England's First Division, Reading, without a coach and under caretaker manager Kevin Dillon, is having an up-and-down season. On Sunday, American keeper Marcus Hahnemann could do little with a booming shot from Julio Arca and, minutes later, a crashing downward header from John Oster in a 2-0 setback to Sunderland.

A week earlier, Reading dropped a 2-1 decision to Coventry. With the match tied at 1-1 in the late going, Hahnemann pushed a lob from Andy Morrell over the top and then stopped a drive from Patrick Suffo, but he could do little to stop a 30-yard rocket from Morrell for the game-winnrt.

Last Wednesday, Reading had better luck in a 3-1 Carling Cup with over second-division Oxford United. Reading, which qualified for an unsuccessful promotion playoff run last season, is 4-5-2 (14 points) and tied for 10th place.

It looks like U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis is at least a week away from returning to Preston North End after missing the past two weeks with a strained knee. He has returned to training and will test his fitness this week in a reserve match.

American defender Oguchi Onyewu looks like he claimed a starting spot for La Louviere in Belgium. He started the past four matches and won a great deal of praise from La Louviere boss Ariel Jacobs.

This weekend, he put in a strong effort in a 2-0 victory at Standard Liege. In the first half, Onyewu cleared a ball off his goal line. A week ago, he went 90 minutes in a surprising 1-1 draw with Portuguese giant Benfica in the home leg of a UEFA Cup first-round series.

In Germany, Hannover 96 (3-2-2, 11 points), with American Steve Cherundolo at right back, continues to exceed expectations, sitting in seventh place in the Bundesliga after splitting two outing over the past two weekends.

On Saturday, Hannover lost 1-0 to host FC Kaiserslautern when Miroslav Klose scored in the 89th minute. On September 20, Cherundolo was instrumental in the first goal of a 2-0 decision over Borussia Mönchengladbach. He stripped the ball from an attacker, leading a counterattack and sending in a perfect cross that was converted.

In the Bundesliga 2, Energie Cottbus, with American Gregg Berhalter excelling in central defense, moved into first place and is beginning to entertain promotion hopes. This weekend Cottbus defeated LR Ahlen 3-2 after drawing 0-0 with RW Oberhausen the previous weekend.

American striker Conor Casey has not had a good two weeks with Karlsruher. First, he was subbed out near the end of a 3-1 loss to Arminia Bielefeld. Then, he had a good first half, but seemed to tire in a 90-minute effort in a 0-0 draw with SVW Burghausen. In the German third division, St. Pauli has shaken off an awful start and climbed into a three-way tie for sixth place in Regionalliga Nord by defeating SC Paderborn 07 2-0 Saturday and Chemnitzer FC 2-1 a week earlier. Rising U.S. defender Cory Gibbs is playing in the midfield because of injuries and he scored twice in the past three St. Pauli matches, including the game-winner against Chemnitzer.

There is finally some good news from the Netherlands about U.S. defender\midfielder John O'Brien. He is back training with Ajax and is reportedly running well and shooting. Last week, Ajax assistant coach Ruud Krol told reporters O'Brien could be back in action in about six weeks.
In Norway,
Robbie Russell continues to play well for Sogndal, going 90 minutes this weekend in a 2-1 loss at home to Lyn.

American defender Wade Barrett has not played in the last three matches for AGF in Denmark. The team is on a winning streak, so his immediate future is not clear.

Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent and can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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