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Convey assists one goal, sets up another as Reading rolls with 5-2 decision over Cardiff.

Cherundolo, Casey meet; Hannover draws 0-0 with FC Mainz.

McBride goal and possible Fulham road win wash away.

McBride goal and possible Fulham road win wash away.

Rossi's 29th goal leads Man. U. reserves' 6-0 rout of City, title hopes..

Watford, Leeds lose ground in their pursuit of promotion.

Keller's strong game helps G'ladbach post 2-1 win over Dortmund.

McBride can't help Fulham from falling 3-1 to Portsmouth; Bocanegra ails.

Cherundolo could be leaving Germany for EPL's Bolton.

Casey scores first goal of season, FSV Mainz draws Hertha 2-2.

Friedel, Blackburn edge Sunderland 1-0, continue to rise in Premier League.

Convey, Hahnemann help Reading draw with Leicester, secure promotion.

Reyna is out 3-4 weeks with shoulder injury; Beasley is hurt.

DeMerit aids Watford climb to third in English League Championship.

Convey goal allows Reading to draw 1-1 with Wolverhampton.

With ailing McBride going 90 minutes, Fulham snaps losing streak, stuns Arsenal 1-0.

Cherundolo's chip helps Hannover 96 to 1-0 win over Colgne.

Friedel makes six saves, Blackburn blanks Aston Villa 2-0.

Lewis goal in 90th minute gives Leeds 2-2 draw with Norwich.

Onyewu must sit out key game for Standard against Anderlecht.

Reyna returns from layoff for Man. City's 2-1 decision over Sunderland.

Convey scores early, Reading rolls to 3-0 win over Burnley.

Reyna returns to action, playing in Manchester City reserves' win.

Lewis nets decisive tally for Leeds in 2-1 decision over Luton.

Americans Abroad

Controversial goal diverts Rovers' run to European play.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
and Gary Davidson (in Washington, D.C.)

(Sunday, April 16, 2006) -- Blackburn Rovers drive to European competition next season took a detour today with a 1-0 setback to visiting Liverpool before 29,142 who witnessed one of the most highly-contested goals of the English Premier League season.

At Ewood Park, striker Robbie Fowler scored in the 29th minute on a play where teammate Djibril Cisse was at least four yards offside and clearly obstructing Rover's American goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

When the linesman did not raise his flag, he was charged by several enraged Blackburn players, leaving referee Alan Wiley to quell the disturbance.

Otherwise, Friedel played well on the afternoon, twice stopping Cisse one-on-one.

While Rovers (16-12-6, 54 points) are in good position to qualify for the second-tier UEFA Cup, their hopes to make the Champions League play-in round were dealt a blow. With four matches to go, Blackburn is in sixth place, two spots and seven points behind Tottenham Hotspur (17-7-10) for the second of two berths in the Champions League opening round. (Teams that are eliminated in the Champions League play-in round are then entered in the UEFA Cup.)

As things stand, Rovers would earn the final UEFA Cup spot, but West Ham United (14-13-7, 49) is on their heels. Meanwhile, third-place Liverpool (22-6-7, 71) will be in the Champions League play-in, unless it overtakes Manchester United (23-4-7, 74) for full entry.

Fulham (11-17-6, 39 points) ended its relegation fears using goals by Luis Boa Morte in the 15th and 30th minutes for a 2-1 decision over Charlton Athletic.

U.S. striker Brian McBride went the distance and had a particularly good second half for Fulham, while American defender Carlos Bocanegra did not dress because of a thigh injury. U.S. defender Jonathan Spector played 90 minutes for Charlton.

Fulham (11-17-6, 39) is tied for 15th place with Aston Villa (9-13-12).

Charlton, which is in 12th place at 12-14-8 with 44 points, was eliminated from the FA Cup quarterfinals with a 4-2 loss Wednesday to Premier League foe Middlesbrough. Spector also went 90 minutes in that game, though he limped back to the bench for the closing moments after a clash with Stuart Downing.

U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna went 89 minutes for Manchester City (12-18-4, 40 points) which continued its lackluster late-season play by dropping a 1-0 decision to West Ham.

Reyna received a rare yellow card for dissent in the 35th minute, arguing after Trevor Sinclair's equalizing chip into the net was negated, ruled to have been touched before crossing the goal-line by offside Micah Richards

Reading has clinched the English League Championship title and promotion to the Premier League, but manager Steve Coppell continued to use his starters Saturday in a 1-1 draw at Leeds United.

Coppell was fulfilling his promise to field his strongest team as long as matches had important implications in the race for other teams seeking promotion to the Premiership. So American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and midfielder Bobby Convey went the distance for the Royals.

When reserve midfielder Stephen Hunt scored an equalizer for Reading in the 85th minute, it mathematically eliminated Leeds from contention for second place and automatic promotion.

United States midfielder Eddie Lewis was one of several Leeds players who did not play because they were recovering from the flu.

American defender Jay DeMerit played 90 minutes for Watford which saw its automatic promotion hopes die Friday night when it drew 1-1 at Wolverhampton. Sheffield United (25-8-10, 85 points) clinched second place with a 1-0 road triumph over Cardiff Friday evening.

With three matches left, including a round of Bank Holiday games tomorrow, Reading is 29-2-12 with 99 points. The Royals need to two victories and a draw in their remaining contests to better the England second-division record of 105 points in a season.

Leeds and Watford, tied for third place at 20-9-14 with 74 points, will participate in the four-team playoff for a third promotion berth with Preston North End (18-6-19, 73) and Crystal Palace (20-12-11, 71). The pairings await the final standings.

Sheffield Wednesday (11-20-12, 45 points) took a huge step toward avoiding relegation with a 1-0 home victory over Norwich.

American Frank Simek, turned in a solid performance in Wednesday's defensive midfield.

Wednesday (11-20-12, 45) is in 21st place, one position and seven points above the relegation zone and can clinch its return to the League Championship with one win in its final three matches. Among other possibilities, Wednesday avoids relegation if none of the three teams below it -- Brighton (7-19-17, 38), Crew (8-21-14, 38) and Millwall (7-20-16, 37) -- win out.

American defender Zak Whitbread went the whole way for Millwall in a 1-1 tie at Plymouth.

Early, Whitbread went up on a corner kick to put a header on goal, but keeper Romain Larrieu made the save.

Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent. Gary Davidson is SoccerTimes publisher and managing editor.

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