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O'Brien appearance for U.S. in doubt because of hamstring injury.

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

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

Americans Abroad

Mathis has goal, assist for Hannover in 2-2 draw with Leverkusen.

By Harris King (in Bamberg, Germany)
SoccerTimes

(Monday, February 16, 2004) -- If Hannover 96 fans were uncertain about the signing of United States striker Clint Mathis, they should now be convinced of his skills. In three games, Mathis has become the team's playmaker and scored two goals.

He scored the opening goal and added an assist Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga. He finished a solo run from midfield in the 40th minute with a 20-yard rocket past defender Jens Nowotny, and goalkeeper Jörg Butt to make it 1-0. The score was reminiscent of his goal for the MetroStars against the Dallas Burn that was named the 2001 Major League Soccer "Goal of the Year."

Clint Mathis
Clint Mathis (left) has become Hannover's playmaker and had a goal and assist in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen. Here he scores the opening goal.
-- Hannover 96 web site photo --

Hannover went up 2-0 in the 48th minute after Hannover captain Kostas Konstantinidis redirected a Mathis shot into the back of the net at close range.

However, Leverkusen tied the game with goals by Dimitar Berbatov in the 65th minute and Francoalda Franca six minutes later. Hannover's American defender Steve Cherundolo was, along with new arrival Abel Xavier, directly responsible for Leverkusen's equalizer. After Xavier headed the ball weakly back toward his own goal, Cherundolo stepped in front of charging goalkeeper Marc Ziegler and cleared the ball to Franca who lobbed the ball back over Ziegler into the net.

Cherundolo was replaced in the 75th minute by striker Mohammadou Idrissou.

Mathis left the game in the 79th minute in favor of Sanchez Jaime and was named "Man of the Match." In further support of his quick transition to the German league, Kicker, the German soccer bible, voted Mathis for the second time in three weeks as one of its top 11 players for the weekend's games, and the top player at his position.

In the 2Bundesliga, American midfielder Joe Enochs scored a goal to help VfL Osnabrück snap a five-game losing streak by defeating visiting Wacker Burghausen 3-0 Friday night.

Enochs scored the second Osnabrück goal, directing a free kick with the back of his head past the diving Burghausen keeper. Osnabrück (5-11-4, 19 points) remains in last place, but is only four points behind four teams tied for 12th place in the 18-team league. The bottom four teams will be relegated to the Regionalliga at the end of the season.

U.S. striker Conor Casey and Karlsruher SC were unable to follow up last week's strong play and lost 1-0 on the road to first place Rot-Weiss Oberhausen which won for the fifth straight outing.

Both teams performed below expectations. Casey played the full 90 minutes, but had few opportunities in front of the goal.

For his efforts in a 2-0 road victory against Alemannia Aachen, U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter of Energie Cottbus was selected by Kicker as one of the top 11 for the weekend's 2Bundsliga games.

Berhalter went the distance and also received a yellow card in the game. Cottbus (10-5-5, 35), three points below Oberhausen, moved into second place and is in position for promotion back into the top flight of German soccer despite recent uneven play.

Cottbus management offered coach Eduard Geyer a two-year contract extension, an offer that he is expected to accept, giving the team some needed stability.

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

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