Healthy Reyna sparks Manchester City to exhibition victory.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
| Claudio Reyna was impressive, playing the first half and scoring the only goal of Manchester City's 1-0 preseason decision over Bradford.|
-- Manchester City web site photo --
(Sunday, July 30, 2006) -- Midfielder Claudio Reyna, recovered from the leg injury he suffered in the United States' 2-1 World Cup elimination by Ghana, scored the only goal for Manchester City in the English Premier League side's 1-0 victory over third-tier Bradford in a preseason visit yesterday to Valley Parade.
Reyna, who retired June 23 from the U.S. team he captained, looked fit and was dominant in the midfield before departing at intermission with two of his teammates, beginning a flood of substitutions.
In the seventh minute, City's newly-arrived Italian striker Bernardo Corradi eluded defenders and fed Trevor Sinclair who found Reyna on the six-yard line. Holding off defenders and with little space, Reyna put the ball behind Bradford goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
City now leaves for Far East and two more preseason contests, one against Shanghai Shenhua Friday in China before visiting Japan's Kashima Antlers two nights later.
U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel and Blackburn Rovers had an awful time, embarrassed by Greek champion Olympiakos 5-0 in a friendly match at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.
At times, Friedel look good in making a number of saves, including stopping a pair on shots from Brazilian veteran Rivaldo. But the defense crumbled in front of him and he gave up goals to Michalis Konstantinou, Pantelis Kafes, Giannis Taralidis, Predrag Djordjevic and Ioannis Okkas in Blackburn's worst defeat during Mark Hughes' tenure as coach.
Earlier in its Austria-Germany training swing, the team looked better in a 1-1 draw Germany's Hamburger SV in Kupfstein, Austria. Both teams played a number of substitutes, but Friedel went the distance making several good stops, the best on a drive by Benny Lauth in the 30th minute.
With a number of Hamburg starters rested, American Benny Feilhaber opened on the right side of midfield and responded with a strong effort over 90 minutes. After the match, Hamburg coach Thomas Doll praised Feilhaber and said he is progressing toward getting more playing time with the first team.
Meanwhile, defender Ryan Nelsen, who captained D.C. United to the 2004 Major League Soccer championship, has returned for a second season with Rovers. The New Zealand native was a hot item on the transfer market, including attracting a reported offer of $5.1 million from EPL foe Portsmouth.
Portsmouth "put in a bid for me and Blackburn turned it down, and that's about it really," Nelsen told the Lancashire Telegraph. "We are in the UEFA Cup this year, it's an awesome club with a great manager, and I'm definitely really happy here."
U.S. keeper Tim Howard played the first half of Everton's 5-4 exhibition loss in penalty kicks to Mexico's Club America following a 1-1 draw in Dallas.
Howard made two very good saves in giving up no goals while playing for the first half. He got a hand on Matias Vuoso's 34th-minute header and made a great save to deny Alejandro Arguello just before the break.
Watford warmed up for its first Premier League campaign with a surprisingly difficult 5-2 decision over Boreham Wood of the sixth-tier Ryman League.
U.S. defender Jay DeMerit played 75 minutes of the match which saw Watford down 2-0 at intermission against what essentially is a semi-professional team. A stern halftime lecture from manager Aidy Boothroyd apparently made a difference for Watford.
American midfielder Eddie Lewis contributed to David Healy's tally in the second minute for Leeds United which defeated Nottingham Forest 3-2 in another preseason game.
Forest rallied back for a 2-1 lead by halftime when Lewis and a number of regulars on both sides departed. Leeds came back to pull even on an Eirik Bakke goal and then win on an own goal by Nottingham's Wesley Morgan in the 80th minute.
Neither U.S. striker Brian McBride nor defender Carlos Bocanegra have played in Fulham's preseason matches, the last a 0-0 draw with Real Madrid in Irdning, Austria. Neither made the trip to Austria where Fulham also defeated Macabi Peteh Tikva.
Next up for Fulham is a trip to Germany and a meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach and U.S. keeper Kasey Keller. Defender Franck Queudrue, newly-signed from Middlesbrough, played well against Real Madrid, giving Bocanegra cause for concern about his starting job.
Frankie Simek went the distance and looked sharp in the midfield for Sheffield Wednesday and the club from the second-division English League Championship played even which the Premiership's Middlesbrough for almost an hour before falling 2-1.
Wednesday, after avoiding relegation from the League Championship with a late-season surge last season, is hoping for better this year and has looked good in training.
Reading, which like Watford was promoted to the Premiership, gave time off to its two U. S. internationals, midfielder Bobby Convey and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, but both are now back training. Neither was dressed for Reading's 1-1 draw yesterday at Swindon Town of the fourth-tier League Two.
Zak Whitbread remained on the bench for Millwall's in a 0-0 home draw with Crystal Palace.
Keller looks sharp
Keller looked sharp in his first preseason action for Mönchengladbach and the German Bundesliga team drew 1-1 with visiting Turkish power Galatasaray of Istanbul.
It was a tale of two halves with Galatasaray dominating play in the first 45 minutes, requiring Keller keeping to make one great save and alertly smother several other chances to keep his club close.
Mönchengladbach made several key halftime substitutions and drew level at 1-1 on an amazing, acrobatic goal by Oliver Neuville.
Beasley with Eindhoven in England
U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley was with PSV Eindhoven for its week long preseason training in England, but he did not dress for new coach Ronald Koeman in a 3-2 triumph over Newcastle United before about 20,000 at St. James' Park.
PSV received goals from Phillip Cocu, André Ooijer and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. It's not clear how Beasley fits into Koeman's plans for the coming season.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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