U.S. men's schedule, results
Manchester United, Howard prevail over Fulham, McBride in FA Cup.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Monday, March 8, 2004) -- United States striker Brian McBride contributed to a Fulham goal, but it was Manchester United and its American goalkeeper Tim Howard which prevailed 2-1 on the strength of two Ruud van Nistelrooy goals in an English FA Cup quarterfinal Saturday.
McBride stripped Roy Keane just outside of the penalty area and fed Luis Boa Morte who was taken down by Wes Brown in the box. Boa Morte converted the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute, but two minutes later van Nistelrooy tied the match and he netted the winner in the 62nd minute.
Despite playing behind a defense decimated by injury and suspension, Howard was not seriously tested after the penalty. Fulham was back on its heels for most of the afternoon, leaving Howard to an easy day.
United defenders Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville are suspended, Mikael Silvestre is out with a knee ligament injury and Quinton Fortune was ruled out for a minimum of three weeks with cartilage damage in his knee.
McBride played the first 63 minutes, coming off in favor of Barry Hayles. U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra served the second game of a three-match suspension for Fulham
With 11 matches remaining, United remained tied for second with Chelsea at 18-5-4 with 58 points, trailing Arsenal (20-0-7) by nine points. Fulham (10-11-6, 36) is in ninth place.
Other Americans in the Premier League were idle because their teams had been eliminated from the FA Cup.
In England's First Division, U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis replaced defender Chris Lucketti for Preston North End just before halftime in an effort to create some offense while trailing Burnley 1-0. Graham Alexander did tie the game with a penalty kick in the 58th minute, but North End otherwise didn't do much on attack in the 1-1 draw.
American keeper Marcus Hahnemann was beaten twice, but Lloyd Owusu's second goal came in the 56th minute and gave Reading a 2-2 draw Saturday with host Crystal Palace in a meeting of teams trying to find a spot in the promotion playoff.
Hahnemann was beaten in the 33rd minute by Dougie Freedman and 11 minutes later by Andy Johnson, but he was solid in the second half.
The third-through-sixth teams in the league play off for the third promotion spot and Reading (15-12-8, 53 points) is in a three-way tie for sixth, but only three points below third place. Palace (14-12-9) has 51 points and is one of five teams within four points of Reading.
On Tuesday, Hanhnemann came up with a big game, but David Healey's second goal came in the 89th minute to send Preston past Reading 2-1.
Hahnemann made a number of superb saves, especially ones on Ricardo Fuller, Alexander and Healey. Healey put North End ahead 1-0 in the 35th minute but, despite Reading being reduced to 10 men on Owusu's ejection in the 48th minute, John Salako leveled the score at 1-1 in the 82nd minute.
Lewis again came off the bench, replacing a defender for Preston in the 62nd minute.
In the Netherlands, U.S. defender John O'Brien remained sidelined for Ajax Amsterdam which RKC Waalwijk 1-0 Saturday, the decisive tally coming from an own goal. Ajax (19-4-1, 58) snapped a two-game losing streak and maintained first place in the Eredivisie by six points over PSV Eindhoven (16-4-4).
In France, U.S. defender Greg Vanney dressed, but did not play in Bastia's easy 4-1 win over Marseille. He played earlier in the week in a reserve match and reports said he was "ill" later in the week.
In Belgium, American defender Oguchi Onyewu played 90 minutes for La Louvière which fell 1-0 to ACE Mones. Onyewu has become an offensive threat from the back and that was again true Saturday when he pushed forward late and nearly tied the game in the 88th minute, but saw his blast saved.
Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.