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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.

Friedel records another shutout as rising Rovers slip past Arsenal 1-0.

Oneywu scores in draw, but Standard drops from Jupiler lead.

Hahnemann's play for Reading stands up to any keeper in Europe.

Keller records easy shutout, G'ladbach ends slide 2-0 over FC Köln.

Reading loses for first time in over six months, falls 3-2 to Luton Town.

Hahnemann shines, Convey assists, Reading draws with Sheffield United 1-1.

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

    Americans Abroad

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

    By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)

    (Sunday, March 26, 2006) -- These are heady times for Blackburn Rovers, who continued their march towards a place in European competition next season with a narrow 1-0 road victory over Sunderland in the English Premier League before 29,593 Saturday at Stadium of Light.

    Blackburn, which finished 15th among 20 teams the last two seasons, has won three in a row and five of its last six. Where Rovers were once excited about the possibility of qualifying for the second-level UEFA Cup next season, now they are in position to possibly make it into the first-tier Champions League.

    In the 15th minute, Ryan Nelsen, the former defender for Major League Soccer's D.C. United, sent a pass to midfielder Steven Reid who ran through the Sunderland defense and put the ball behind keeper Kelvin Davis for a 1-0 lead.

    Nelsen and the Rovers' back-line turned in a strong performance to protect the advantage. When they faltered, United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel was up to the task, making a pair of crucial saves. Three minutes into first-half injury time, he dove full-length to keep out a header by Sunderland midfielder Rory Delap header.

    In the 52nd minute, Sunderland striker Chris Brown was put in alone on Friedel and triggered a low hard shot, but the keeper turned the ball away with his leg, keeping it from finding a corner.

    Rovers (16-11-4) shares fourth place with Tottenham Hotspur (14-6-10) with 52 points, but Tottenham owns a game in hand and its goal differential is plus-15 to plus-6 for Rovers. Arsenal (15-10-5, 50 points) is in sixth place and also has played one less game than Blackburn. Bolton Wanderers (13-7-9, 48) are in seventh place, but have two games in hand on Rovers as the battle for invitations to next year's top two European tournaments heats up.

    The top two EPL finishers advance into the Champions League while the third- and fourth-place enter into its qualifier round. If either of those teams do no qualify, they drop back into the UEFA Cup. The fifth and sixth EPL finishers go into the UEFA Cup, as does the FA Cup winner. If the FA Cup champion winner is one of the top six, then the seventh-place team qualifies for the UEFA Cup.

    Chelsea (first place), Liverpool (third) and West Ham United (ninth) are in the FA Cup semifinals, while the quarterfinal between Charlton Athletic (11th) and Middlesbrough (14th) is pending.

    Fulham remained the only team in England's top five divisions without a road win, but the Cottagers did manage to gain a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Villa Park, thus easing the club's relegation worries.

    U.S. forward Brian McBride, who is playing with a sports hernia that will eventually require surgery, went the distance and had a strong match for Fulham. Early in the second half, he flicked a free kick onto the foot of Steed Malbranque, but his open shot went wide.

    For the third match in a row, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra was not dressed. After missing a game with a yellow-card suspension, he has not dressed for the last two outings, apparently with a thigh contusion, as he explained at halftime on the team's radio broadcast. He does not appear on Fulham's weekly injury list.

    Whether Bocanegra still has a job when he recovers might be open for debate with manager Chris Coleman praising his central defenders Saturday. "We have looked more solid and big Ian Pearce deserves a lot of credit for that," he said. "He has been terrific, along with Zat Knight, and we now look as if we have got a platform to build on."

    Fulham is 0-13-4 on the road. After four straight losses, the Cottagers shocked league-leading Chelsea 1-0 a week ago and have earned four standings points in its last two matches. Fulham (10-6-6, 36) is in 15th place, but 12 points above the drop zone with six games left.

    Yesterday, American defender Jonathan Spector was on the bench for Charlton which defeated Newcastle United 3-1.

    U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna was in the stands for Manchester City's 2-0 loss to Chelsea. Reyna will miss at least two or three more weeks for Manchester City with a dislocated left shoulder.

    American goalkeeper Tim Howard was in his usual place on Manchester United's bench in a 3-0 triumph over Birmingham City.

    Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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