U.S. men's schedule, results
Reyna, Manchester City romp over defenseless Manchester United 4-1.
and Gary Davidson
(in Washington, D.C.)
(Monday, March 15, 2004) - United States midfielder Claudio Reyna was at the top of his game, helping Manchester City deliver a 4-1 deathblow to the title hopes of crosstown power Manchester United and its American goalkeeper Tim Howard yesterday in England's Premier League.
Reyna was particularly strong in the first half, assisting the second City goal, pushing up into the attack while also effectively dropping back on defense.
After Robbie Fowler put City ahead 1-0 in the third minute, Reyna fed Jonathan Macken who put his first Premiership goal under Howard for a 2-0 lead in the 32nd minute. Macken, born in Manchester, started his career as a United apprentice.
Three minutes later, Paul Scholes pulled United to within 2-1, leading City manager to make two defensive substitutions at halftime, fearing a United comeback. He pulled Reyna in favor of Paul Bosvelt, and put Trevor Sinclair in for Steve McManaman. United, which had numerous chances and a couple of shots rattle the goal frame in the first half, was less of a threat after that.
Trevor Sinclair restored City's two-goal advantage in the 73rd minute and Shaun Wright-Phillips iced the result with a tally in stoppage time.
Howard was left exposed by defensive miscues on each City goal, let down by a back line destroyed by injury and suspension.
United, contending for the EPL crown a month ago, is 0-2-2 in its last four outings and now in third place, 12 points behind Arsenal. On Tuesday, Man. U. crashed out of the Round of 16 in the European Champions League, conceding a last-minute goal at home to lose its series to Porto of Portugal.
United can salvage something from its season April 3 or 4 when it meets Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinals, but Arsenal is on a mission to record a triple by winning the EPL, FA Cup and Champions League and United's defense doesn't appear up to the challenge. United manager Alex Ferguson, responsible for bringing Howard to Manchester, could soon find his job in jeopardy which could adversely affect Howard.
A solid effort by U.S. keeper Brad Friedel was not enough to prevent Arsenal from blanking Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Saturday. Friedel kept Rivers in the match until Thierry Henry beat him with a perfectly-placed free kick that spun just beyond the Americans' outstretched fingertips to put the Gunners ahead 1-0 in the 57th minute. Earlier, Friedel had twice denied Henry with good saves.
Robert Pires secured the triumph with a goal in the 87th minute.
Yesterday, U.S. keeper Kasey Keller registererd a clean sheet, making key saves that kept Tottenham Hotspur in the match before an 86th-minute own goal gave Spurs a 1-0 decision over Newcastle United.
Newcastle was applying pressure in the 26th minute when two Keller saves kept the match scoreless. He cleared Laurent Robert's right-side corner kick and then stopped Olivier Bernard's low drive from 30 yards. The quick shot almost caught Keller wrong-footed, but the Lacey, Washington, native stuck out a leg and deflect it to safety.
Keller was fortunate in the 41st minute when failed to control a shot which fell to Alan Shearer whose shot was blocked by Spurs defender Gary Doherty.
Fulham dropped Leeds United 2-0 Saturday without much contribution from its Americans. Striker Brian McBride did not enter until the 86th minute with the Cottagers ahead 2-0. Defender Carlos Bocanegra was absent, taking the occasion of the third game of his three-match suspension for a foul tackle to play for the U.S. in its 1-1 draw with Haiti Saturday night in Miami, Fla.
In England's First Division, American keeper Marcus Hahnemann injured a knee in the 56th minute of Reading's 0-0 draw with Stoke City. After suffering an initial hit on his right leg early in the match, Hahnemann played on, but was run into by Gifton Noel-Williams after making a save in the second half.
After receiving treatment, Hahnemann tried momentarily to continue, but couldn't. Initial reports indicated the injury would be further evaluated, but it was not considered serious. Still, it will likely keep him out of tomorrow's meeting with Cardiff City with 18-year-old Jamie Young replacing him. Young's brilliant save late Saturday preserved the draw with Stoke.
American defender John Thorrington moved up a step on the ladder, but down in the standings with his loan from Huddersfield Town in the Third Division to the Second Division's Grimsby Town. Huddersfield is in third place and contending not only for the Division Three title, but promotion to the Second Division where Grinmsby stands 18th.
Thorrington stuck with Huddersfield when it was relegated, but was limited to a handful of starts because of injuries. He was immediately inserted into Grimsby's starting side and played 86 minutes of its 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.
In Belgium, American defender Oguchi Onyewu had an MRI exam on his cranky knee and it showed fluid and a minor injury to his meniscus. Responding to treatment, he played the full 90 minutes in La Louvière's 1-0 loss to Lierse and earned a yellow card in the 60th minute.
In France, U.S. defender Greg Vanney is fit after hamstring problems and returned to Bastia's starting lineup and went the distance as part of a string defensive effort in a 0-0 draw with Lens.
In the Netherlands, U.S. defender John O'Brien remained on the sidelines as Ajax expanded its lead over second place PSV Eindhoven to nine points with a 4-2 win over Roda JC Kerkrade in the Eredivisie. PSV lost to Rotterdam allowing Ajax to gain three points.