U.S. men's schedule, results
Meeting between trio of U.S. field players produces drab 0-0 draw between Man. City, Fulham.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Sunday, March 28, 2004) -- An oddity occurred at the City of Manchester stadium in England yesterday. For 20 minutes, three Americans were on the field at the same time and none of them was a goalkeeper.
United States midfielder Claudio Reyna, back from a minor ankle injury that kept him sidelined for two matches, started and went 90 minutes for Manchester City while U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra went the distance for Fulham. When American striker Brian McBride came off the bench in the 70th minute, he brought the U.S. contingent to three in a match that turned out to be a dull 0-0 draw in the Premier League.
Neither team could generate much attack. Bocanegra was solid on defense, but he was not able to push the ball forward. Reyna played well and several times set up teammates, but they could not finish. McBride received little service and was not a factor in the closing minutes.
As has happened on a number of occasions this season, U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller was terrific in goal for Tottenham Hotspur, but his teammates did little offensively and Spurs lost to Southampton 1-0.
The only goal Keller allowed was in the 64th minute, an amazing overhead kick by Rory Delap for his first Premiership goal in almost two years. Claus Lundekvam headed into the box and Delap, 12 yards from goal, slammed the winner past Keller into the roof of the net.
Keller was credited with nine saves, including a great stop on a blast from James Beattie just before the half, and saves on Paul Telfer and another on Beattie.
It was not much of a day for Blackburn Rovers or their American keeper Brad Friedel Saturday. Playing at home, Friedel gave up a late goal and Rovers went down to Portsmouth 2-1.
This too was a dull match with Friedel only facing four shots. Nigerian Aiyegbeni Yakubu was the hero for Portsmouth, getting the ball to an unmarked Teddy Sheringham who put it past Friedel for a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
Kerimoglu Tugay tied the match for Rovers at 1-1 in the 37th minute but, as the match progressed, the combination of Yakubu and Sheringham caused Blackburn numerous problems. On one occasion, Yakubu fed to ball to Sheringham in full stride, but Friedel came rushing out and took the ball off Sheringham's foot. Later, Yakubu received the ball inside Blackburn's penalty area and hammered a hot shot at goal which Friedel just managed to palm around the post.
However, in the 82nd minute, Portsmouth substitute Lomana Lua-Lua made a run on goal. The ball was tackled away by Lucas Neill, but squirted directly to Yakubu who bent it past Friedel for the winner.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard was on the bench watching Roy Carroll do a good job in goal for Manchester United which drew Arsenal 1-1.
The two Americans playing in England's First Division continue out with injuries. Midfielder Eddie Lewis is sidelined after hernia surgery and will not be available to Preston North End for some time. Preston went down to Rotherham 1-0 Saturday.
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann will miss several more Reading matches with a knee injury. Reading, with 18-year-old Jamie Ashdown in net, downed Coventry 2-1.
In England's Second Division, American midfielder\defender John Thorrington was on the bench for Grimsby Town which scored twice in the final three minutes, but also give up two late penalty kicks, the latter in stoppage time, in a 4-4 draw with Chesterfield.
In France, U.S. defender Greg Vanney played well, but Bastia fell to AC Ajaccio 1-0 in the Corsica derby. Bastia played the final half hour a man down and came close several times near the end, but could not draw level.
If the Dutch soccer press is to be believed, U.S. defender John O'Brien's career at Ajax Amsterdam might be coming to an end. O'Brien started in Ajax's youth program as a teenager, rose through the reserve team to the full squad where he was a starter and twice has worn the captain's armband. But over the past two seasons, he has played only sporadically, beset with a range of injuries, including to his Achilles heel, both knees and his hamstrings.
According to reports this week, Ajax is in the process of extending contracts to all of its current players whose contracts expire at the end of this season and that the club has not decided whether to offer O'Brien an extension. If he does not sign an extension, he would become a free transfer.
Yesterday, Ajax drew 1-1 with AZ Alkmaar on the road.
The long winter break is over in Denmark and, last week, American Wade Barrett came off the bench and into the midfield late to assist on two AGF Aarhus goals in the last three minutes in a 3-3 draw with league-leading Esbjerg.
Today, Barrett played 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Herfølge BK.
OB Odense of Denmark released goalkeeper Matt Jordan from his contract and he returned to Major League Soccer and the Columbus Crew as a free transfer.
Serving a three-match suspension -- two games for a red card and one for accumulated yellow cards -- American defender Oguchi Onyewu returned to the U.S. for a quick visit and to get treatment on his ailing knee. Now, he reportedly is having trouble returning to his team because of visa problems.
Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.