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Reyna, Keller meeting in FA Cup produces a draw; they'll try again.

Mathis, West sign overseas; Gibbs doesn't.

McBride spurns Rovers, joins Bocanegra at Fulham.

Manchester United, Howard are stunned by lowly Wolves 1-0.

Bocanegra joins Fulham after winning work permit appeal.

Reyna injures leg early as Manchester City draws 1-1 with Charlton.

Howard's saves help Manchester United overcome Aston Villa 2-1 in FA Cup.

Kirovski, Birmingham win duel with Reyna, Manchester City 2-1.

Marcus Hahnemann Q&A

O'Brien returns to Ajax, playing for reserves in Amstel Cup.

Gregg Berhalter Q&A.

Howard works hard for Man. U. in defeat of Manchester City.

Lewis cracks starting lineup, sparks Preston North End twice.

Casey, Berhalter score as their teams draw in Germany.

Keller is key in Tottenham Carling Cup win, is named Spurs' best player.

Howard, Man. U. get the best of Friedel, Rovers before record crowd at Old Trafford.

Hahnemann's shutout leads Reading to 1-0 victory over Millwall.

Friedel, Rovers get back on winning track, 2-1 over Everton.

  • Thornton leaves Chicago Fire, signs with Benfica of Portugal.

    Americans Abroad

    McBride, Mathis score key goals in European debuts.

    Brian McBride
    Brian McBride (left) is congratulated by new teammates Lee Clark after scoring the winning goal in his Fulham debut.
    -- Fulham web site photo --
    By Robert Wagman
    (in Washington, D.C.)
    and Harris King (in Bamberg, Germany)
    SoccerTimes

    (Tuesday, February 3, 2004) -- United States striker Brian McBride needed a about eight minutes to make a name for himself with Fulham.

    Coming off the bench 14 minutes after intermission Saturday to make his first appearance since being obtained via transfer from the Columbus Crew, McBride knocked a rebound past his friend and U.S. teammate Kasey Keller for the decisive tally in Fulham's 2-1 English Premier League decision over Tottenham Hotspur.

    While Fulham paid more than $1 million as a transfer fee to obtain McBride, Hannover 96 of the German Bundesliga signed former MetroStars striker Clint Mathis on a free transfer and the U.S. national team veteran paid immediate dividends Sunday. His goal midway through the first half put Hannover ahead for good in a 3-2 triumph over Hamburger SVin the German Bundesliga.

    In the 67th minute, Keller made a strong save on a header by Ian Pearce, but the ball went directly to McBride's foot for a point-blank finish.

    "Sure, it's an ideal start," McBride said. "The real ideal part is winning the game, and the goal is an added bonus."

    "I was able to make the save and then, unfortunately, it fell right on Brian's foot," Keller said.

    Fulham manager Chris Coleman was effusive in his praise of McBride. "It was great for him to score on his debut, but his all-round play was very good and I am delighted with him," Coleman said. "He is not a replacement for Louis (Saha, the star forward who was sent to Manchester United for a reported $22 million). I wanted to add him without losing anyone, but that was not to be."

    A year ago, on loan from Columbus to Everton, McBride made his Premier League debut by scoring against Keller. He went on to score four goals in eight games for Everton before returning to Columbus.

    "It was all a question of timing," Coleman said. "I was impressed with him when he played at Everton and we were sniffing around in the summer, so we've always had an eye on him. I don't want to get carried away, but I wouldn't have brought him here if I didn't think he could perform at this level. He is very strong in the air, he reads the game well, he has a fantastic attitude, he has proved he can score goals in the Premiership and he will fit into our system."

    Keller was sensational at times and deserved better than to lose. In the 20th minute, he made a brilliant stop on a drive from Barry Hayles, and he made other strong saves, including on McBride who tried to chip over him shortly after entering.

    American midfielder Carlos Bocanegra started and went the distance for Fulham in his second match since being acquired from MLS's Chicago Fire on a free transfer.


    In Germany, Mathis was immediately embraced by Hannover fans when he scored in the 27th minute, giving his side a 2-1 lead that was extended to 3-1 on a goal by Sanchez Jaime in the 77th minute.

    Mathis showed good instincts running toward goal, anticipating a Hamburg defensive error. It came with a weak header back that did not make it back to keeper Stefan Wachter instead landinat the feet of Hannover's Thomas Bdaric. He nudged it between two defenders to Mathis who took the ball in full stride, and coolly pushed it past Wachter for a 2-1 lead.

    "I think he couldn't ask for a better debut -- he showed the things he could do," Hannover coach Ralf Rangnick told Associated Press. "What we did different today was we took advantage of our chances to score. With Clint Mathis, you could see we have more possibilities."

    Mathis celebrated by running toward the stands and holding up the number "four" with both of his hands in apparent acknowledgement to his jersey number 44. Hannover has signed Mathis as a playmaker instead of as a striker and his precision passes and good positioning throughout the game recalled the fact he has played plenty of midfielder in his day.

    Mathis left the game limping in 82nd minute after landing awkwardly on his left ankle. There is no word yet of whether the injury is serious, but Mathis remained on the sidelines for the rest of the game, as well as afterward for the victory celebration.

    American Steve Cherundolo also started for Hannover and put in 90 minutes at his normal back right position. Hannover coach Ralf Rangnick avoided the decision of whether to start Silvio Schröter instead of Cherundolo by starting both players with Schröter in the defensive midfield directly in front of Cherundolo. Hannover plays an offensive brand of soccer with the defensive players always looking to move the ball and themselves forward as quickly as possible. Whether the entertaining style is effective is another question -- Hannover has conceded the most goals in the league.

    Less than a minute after Jaime's goal, Bernardo Romeo pulled Hamburg back to 3-2 and Hannover had to hang on for the victory.

    After the game, Mathis was interviewed for a national television audience with Cherundolo acting as his translator. Mathis is better known in Germany for the Mohawk haircut he sported at the 2002 World Cup, as well for a transfer that didn't happen to Bayern Munich.

    "The level here is a lot higher than what I'm used to," Mathis said in a comparison to MLS. He is temporarily staying with Cherundolo and the pair then rushed home to watch the Super Bowl.

    Kicker, the German soccer bible, voted Mathis as one of its top 11 for the weekend's games, and the top player at his position.

    Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman. Harris King, an American from South Carolina, has lived in Germany for five years. The Business English lecturer at the University of Bamberg. E-mail Harris King.

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