DeMerit is solid, Watford gains first Premier League point; Johnson scores in Wolves debut.
By Gary Davidson (in Washington, D.C.)
and Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, August 23, 2006) - American defender Jay DeMerit made his first start and turned in a strong effort, helping Watford earn its first English Premier League points in a 1-1 draw with visiting West Ham United Tuesday before 18,344 at Vicarage Road Stadium.
DeMerit and Hameur Bouazza, who came off the bench at halftime and gave Watford's back-line a lift in Saturday's opening 2-1 setback at Everton, both started today.
DeMerit made his presence known in a big way in the 17 th minute when West Hamm striker Marlon Harewood, headed for goal, but DeMerit forced him wide and then blocked his shot from a bad angle
Three minutes after Watford forward Marlon King hit the post with a shot, DeMerit produced another defensive gem. After Watford forward Ashley Young mis-kicked an attempted clearance, DeMerit used a superb sliding tackle to block a shot by Nigel Reo-Coker.
King put the Hornets ahead 1-0 in the 62nd minute with a drive from 25 yards. It took the Hammers a minute to equalize with striker Bobby Zamora scoring from five yards, splitting DeMerit and Danny Shittu to run onto a cross from midfielder Paul Konchesky
Johnson delivers in Wolves debut
American striker Jemal Johnson provided a quick dividend for Wolverhampton with an early goal in a 1-0 victory at Burnley in the second-tier English League Championship.
Johnson, who was acquired by Wolves last week from the Premier League's Blackburn Rovers, showed explosive speed in his debut and a nice piece of finishing to put his side ahead 1-0 in the 19th minute. Johnson ran onto a long clearance by Wolves defender Gary Breen, outraced a pair of defenders and chipped the ball over keeper Brian Jensen.
U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis started on the left flank for Leeds United, which continued its slow start to the new season by losing to Cardiff 1-0 on a late goal.
On three occasions, Lewis sent well-placed crosses or corner kicks into the box, but none were converted. After Cardiff went ahead in the 83rd minute, French winger Seb Carole was inserted for Lewis in a late attempt to pull even.
Cardiff is now 3-0-1 with 10 points, while Leeds is in a three-way tie for 18th place in the 24-teams league at 1-2-1 with four points.
American Frank Simek went the distance in the defensive midfielder for injury-riddled Sheffield Wednesday (1-2-1, 4 points), which won for the first time 2-1 over Plymouth
Wednesday's top five strikers were all out injured, meaning forwards and midfielders were called in from the reserve team.
Burton O'Brien's foal proved to be the margin of victory for Wednesday.
Keller shines in loss
In the German Bundesliga Friday night, U.S. keeper Kasey Keller was strong, but visiting Borussia Mönchengladbach (1-1, 3) could not overcome a sixth-minute goal from Markus Schroth and fell 1-0 to FC Nürnberg (2-0, 6) at easyCredit Stadium.
On a cross, Schroth laid out and headed a ball past Keller's outstretched hand.
Keller then shut down the hosts, stopping good shots from Jan Kristiansen and Eugen Polanski. Yet, G'ladbach was not able to solve Nürnberg keeper Raphael Schäfer who earned his second clean sheet in as many matches.
Hannover 96 has gotten off to an awful start this season losing its second in a row to Hertha Berlin 4-0 Saturday in Berlin. After losing last week's opener at home to Werder Bremen, Hannover hoped and got off to a good start, by Hertha took charge after the first quarter hour and was furthered hampered when Michael Tarnat was sent off with a red card in the 50th minute.
U.S> defenfer Steve Cherundolo played well enough on the left side, but once Hertha started pushing forward he was rarely able to move the ball up the flannk into the attacking zone.
Besaley, Bradley sit
In the Dutch Eredivisie, American midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Bradley did not see action last weekend. Beasley, who has not been in full training due to a hamstring strain, did not dress for PSV Eindhoven which opened its season with a 3-1 decision over NEC Nijmegen.
Bradley was dressed, but did not enter for Heerenveen which defeated ADO Den Haag 3-2 on a stoppage-time goal. American attacker Lee Nguyen did not dress for PSV and will likely start for the reserve side this week against Young Vitesse. Beasley also might play in that match.
In Belgium, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu was back in Standard de Liège's lineup after missing the first two matches of the season with a ankle sprain. With him marshalling a more organized defense, visiting Standard posted a 1-1 draw with Gent, which dropped out of first place.
Ivan Bosnjak put the home side ahead in the 31st minute, but Milan Jovanovic answered for Standard (0-2-1, 1 point) three minutes later. After that, Onyewu helped the defense shut Gent (2-0-1, 7) down.
Additional reporting by Matt Wells in Watford, England.
Gary Davidson is SoccerTimes publisher and managing editor. Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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