U.S. men's schedule, results
Berhalter returns to action for Cottbus, reclaims his captaincy.
(Monday, September 6, 2004) -- Energie Cottbus received good news this weekend when United States defender Gregg Berhalter returned to action in a friendly against Pogon Szczecin of Poland's first division.
Wearing the captain's armband, Berhalter anchored the Cottbus defense in the game that ended 0-0. After the match, Berhalter expressed how happy he was to finally return to the field and said he was about 95 percent recovered. Cottbus coach Eduard Geyer was also more than satisfied with the performance and left Berhalter in for the entire game after having only planned to use him for a half.
Berhalter, 31, suffered a broken nose and fractured cheekbone May 16. He and teammate Zsolt Löw both went up to head a ball and Löw inadvertently caught his teammate in the face with his elbow. Berhalter gushed blood and was taken to a hospital in Munich for his operation
The 2-0 loss to SpVgg Unterhaching that day pretty much doomed Cottbus' hopes of being promoted out of the 2Bundesliga.
Berhalter suffered a serious setback in July when, on a plane flight to visit his family in Tenafly, N.J., the cabin pressure apparently caused Berhalter nasal complications. He required two more operations to fix the problem. Additionally, Berhalter had surgery to repair a hernia.
In addition to being sidelined for Cottbus, the ailments caused Berhalter, a contender for a central defender roster spot, to be unavailable to the U.S. men for World Cup qualifying. The Americans play Panama Wednesday in the third of six semifinal-round qualifiers with the remaining three games to be played between October 9 and November 17.
Germany's 1Bundesliga and 2Bundesliga had the week off as the FIFA calendar cleared the time for World Cup qualifiers, but several Americans saw action in the third-division Regionalliga.
In the Regionalliga Süd, former U.S. International Michael Mason of SV Elversberg scored two goals, surely pleasing his American coach Brent Goulet in a 3-2 road victory over Kickers Offenbach.
Mason scored in the 28th minute to put his team up 2-0 and then put away the clincher in the 73rd minute. The Offenbach (4-1, 12 points) loss was its first of the season, but the team held onto first place while Elversberg (2-1-2, 8) moved into a tie for eighth place.
American defender Josh Grenier and recently-promoted TuS Koblenz continued to impress, disposing of Bayern Munich Amateurs 2-0 at home in front of 10,025 fans, which was the largest number to see a Koblenz game since the late 1960s when Koblenz was in the 2Bundesliga.
Grenier helped to anchor the extremely disciplined Koblenz back four which didn't allow Bayern a chance to score during the entire match. Grenier also received a cut on his right knee that required 12 stitches after the game. Nonetheless, he put in a full 90 minutes.
Koblenz (3-1-1, 10) is currently in a three-way tie for second place, trailing second-place Darmstadt by one goal in differential. American defender Eric Lukin of Kolblenz did not play.
American defender Pellegrino Matarazzo of SV Wehen did not see action in his team's 1-1 draw against visiting Sportfreunde Siegen. Wehen (2-0-3, 9) is the only team in the league without a loss after five weeks of play, but dropped from third to fifth place.
SSV Jahn Regensburg with American midfielder Grover Gibson won 2-1 over 1. SC Feucht in a regional derby. After a go-ahead goal by Stefan Binder in the fifth minute, Regensburg controlled most of the game, but was unable to add to the lead.
In the 74th minute, Feucht drew even on an Alberto Mendez free kick. Regensburg coach Mario Basler, however, pulled the right strings, and second-half substitute Jahn Hoffman recorded the winning goal in the 89th minute.
After firing its coach after a disastrous start, VfR Aalen finally won a game when it defeated VfB Stuttgart Amateurs 3-2 at home. Aalen (1-4-0, 3) moved up to 17th place in the 18-team league. American striker Jonathan Cummings did not see action for Aalen.
In the Regionalliga Nord, American defender Ian Joy played 90 minutes, but the "young talents" of Hamburger SV lost their first game of the season 1-0 at home to SC Paderborn. A crowd of 11,000-plus made the trip to see Hamburg and Paderborn, in second and third places, respectively. Hamburg (4-1-1, 13) fell into a three-way tie for second while Paderborn (4-0-3, 15) climbed into first, partly because of the benefit of an extra game played.
American midfielder Joe Enochs of VfL Osnabrück did not see action in his team's 2-2 draw at home against Bielefeld Amateurs. Twice, Osnabrück went down a goal, but was able to pull even with Markus Feldhoff notching the last goal of the match in the 52nd minute. Osnabrück (2-1-3, 9) is tied for ninth place.
American striker Jacob Thomas and VfB Lübeck traveled to Wuppertaler SV and drew 1-1. After going ahead on a goal by Markus Kullig in the 49th minute, Lübeck lost the victory in the 88th minute on a strike by Holger Gaissmayer. Thomas went the distance for Lübeck (3-2-2, 11) which is in sixth place.
On Friday, American striker Ryan Coiner and Union Berlin dropped their third match in a row 1-0 to FC St. Pauli before almost 18,000 fans. St. Pauli scored its only goal in the 70th minute after Berlin had been thwarted on several occasions by St. Pauli goalkeeper Achim Hollerieth.
Coiner, who played 90 minutes, had three of his first-half shots on goal parried away by Hollerieth. Berlin (2-4-1, 7) fell to 14th place.
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.