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U.S. men's schedule, results

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Hannover, with Mathis, Cherundolo, falls to Bayern Munich; Casey, Berhalter score in victories.

Friedel saves Rovers' badly needed 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, giving Souness respite.

Keller lives nightmare, Spurs are eliminated by Man. City 4-3 in FA Cup; Bocanegra excels for Fulham.

McBride, Mathis score key goals in European debuts.

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.

Americans Abroad

Howard leads Man. U. past Reyna, Man. City 4-2 in FA Cup.

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

(Saturday, February 14, 2004) -- Four Americans played in England's FA Cup fifth round today, led by goalkeeper Tim Howard who earned "Man of the Match" honors for Manchester United which recorded a 4-2 decision over visiting Manchester City, the employer of United States midfielder Claudio Reyna.

Fulham, with United States defender Carlos Bocanegra and strikerBrian McBride going the distance, was fortunate to come out of its fifth-round match against West Ham United with a 0-0 draw.

Howard, who has come under some criticism lately, seemed to want to make up for a sub-par performance Wednesday when United shockingly dropped a league match 3-2 to visiting Middlesbrough at Old Trafford. In that match, Howard gave up two weak goals to Brazilian Juninho and, after United rallied to erase its two goal deficit, surrendered the decisive tally to Middlesbrough forward Joseph-Desire Job in the 80th minute.

Today, an undermanned United, playing a man down with Gary Neville sent off in the 39th minute for a head butt, moved easily to a 2-0 lead. Howard then stood up to a City onslaught. He stopped Robbie Fowler with a feet-first save just before halftime.

Early in the second half, Howard denied Shaun Wright-Phillips and then made one of his best saves since joining Man. U., blocking a point-blank blast from Joey Barton who first timed Antoine Sibierski headed ball into the box.

Howard is starting to hear criticism after giving up three goals in each of three successive matches before today. The criticism is that he gives up soft goals while at the same time makes marvelous saves. That was in evidence today when, leading 4-1 in the 86th minute, he was not well positioned and gave up a free kick goal to Fowler.

Reyna played well in the midfield, but was forced to drop back and help on defense for long periods today. He was victimized on Paul Scholes' opening goal in the 34th minute. United midfielder Ryan Giggs sent a low ball across the goal-mouth. Reyna feared turning it into his own net and hesitated. Scholes ran onto the ball and poked it home from about two yards out.

"The atmosphere was great and we won again," Howard said. "We were inspired in the second half when Gary was off. There was a lot of pressure on us in the second half. They were a man ahead ."

Asked about his miraculous save on Barton, Howard said: "As long as we win, I'll say yes. It was just reaction. A lot of keepers are like me -- the ball hits you and you get lucky."

Before the match, Howard was asked about the pressure and the criticism. "If I was a good goalkeeper when I came here, I need to be exceptional. It's trying to better myself as a goalkeeper across the board," he said. "I'm in the process of doing it, no question. I'm not a finished product yet but, hopefully, getting there."

Howard has become indirectly involved in a growing feud between manager Alex Ferguson and the club's major shareholders, racehorse owners John Magnier and J.P. McManus. Much attention is being paid Howard's $3.6 million transfer from Major League Soccer. A substantial finder's fee was allegedly paid to an agent who is a business partner of Ferguson's son, Jason.

In the other FA Cup encounter today, West Ham of the First Division outdueled the Premier League's Fulham, which was saved only by the outstanding goalkeeping of Dutch international Edwin van der Sar.

Bocanegra was one of the Fulham's better players. He made a few errors, at one point getting yelled at by van der Sar, but also ranged far forward from his left back position to be an offensive threat. In fact, he had Fulham's best chance on the day, a curving shot from the left side that hit off the far post.

McBride played 90 minutes, but was never a factor for Fulham, receiving little service or help from the Fulham midfield that was outplayed for most of the match.

Bocanegra has generated headlines in most English newspapers since Wednesday went he was sent off after a brutal two-footed tackle on Aston Villa's Mark Delaney in Fulham's 2-1 league Premier League loss.

Bocanegra's two-footed lunge against Delaney came in the 75th minute. Villa coach David O'Leary called it a "disgusting tackle," and said Delaney was lucky his leg wasn't broken.

"I would like to say to Mark in public that I am sorry. I spoke to him on the team bus after the game and he was feeling a little better," Bocanegra said, "His leg was wrapped up, but they think he is going to be all right, and I hope it works out for him. Hopefully, he will heal quickly. But there was no intent (to injure) whatsoever. I was going for the ball."

Bocanegra is suspected to be suspended for at least three league matches, and could be fined also by the Football Association. "Carlos went and apologized to Mark so what more can I say to him?" Fulham coach Chris Coleman said. "Carlos isn't malicious or a bad boy and plays the game the right way. It was a rush of blood and a badly miss-timed challenge."

In a Tuesday league match, Reyna played a solid 68 minutes as Manchester City went down to Liverpool 2-1. Reyna came out in favor of another attacker as City tried to draw level with Liverpool which bunkered its defense. City is 0-8-6 in its last 14 Premier League outings.

U.S. goalkeepers Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel fared better in midweek league matches. Keller and Tottenham Hotspur got a much needed win, 4-2 over Charlton.

In the 32nd minute, Keller saved a goal when he out raced Carlton Cole to a squared ball. Eight minutes later, he tipped a blast from Graham Stuart just around the post.

Friedel, meanwhile, kept Blackburn Rovers in the match with a series of fine saves on the way to a hard earned 1-1 draw with Newcastle United. He started with two quality saves on shots from Gary Speed within the space of a minute. Then, he denied Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy, after the latter had put Newcastle ahead 1-0 in the 52nd minute.

In the First Division today, U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis went the distance, but Preston North End generated little offense in a 2-0 loss to Watford. Lewis twice forced Watford keeper Lenny Pidgeley into good saves and played well.

Preston lost for the second time in three games after going 4-0-3 in its prior seven.

Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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