Clark, Cooper return to action for their clubs in Germany.
By Robert Wagman
(in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, December 22, 2010) -- Heavy snow cancelled play, mostly in England, this past weekend, but there were still some important moments for Americans playing in Europe.
Two occurred in Germany, where United States midfielder Ricardo Clark received his first league start of the Bundesliga season, while American striker Kenny Cooper, back from an ankle injury that occurred last July, saw his first minutes of the year for TSV 1860 Munich.
Clark went the distance and triggered two shots for a banged-up Eintracht Frankfurt which won 1-0 over Borussia Dortmund in Clark's first league appearance in more than a year.
Cooper, meantime, came off 1860's bench to play the final 20 minutes of a 1-0 loss to SC Paderborn 07 in the second-tier 2.Bundesliga. Cooper has been back in training for several weeks, now fully recovered from a serious ankle injury suffered early in training camp this past summer.
Another player back in full training is U.S. forward Charlie Davies at Sochaux of France, finally recovered from the near-fatal car accident suffered during World Cup qualifying more than a year ago.
Davies has been playing with Sochaux's fourth-division team as he tries to reach match fitness. But this past weekend, Sochaux's coach Francis Gillot returned him to the club's first-team roster although he remained on the bench in a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux.
Davies' problem now is to find playing time on a team whose attack has been going well and has depth on the front line. Gillot has said he might loan Davies out in January when the transfer window opens in order to find him a spot where he can play and continue to rehab from his long list of injuries.
While most of the matches in England were postponed by heavy snow, games involving three Americans were played, albeit in poor conditions.
On Monday, Manchester City's City of Manchester Stadium was cleared of snow, but the home team fell 2-1 to Everton, which had American Tim Howard in goal in the Premier League.
Howard made four saves and turned in a solid effort, as did his defenders. Everton scored a pair of goals by the 19th minute and made the lead stand up with Howard only surrendering an own goal by Phil Jagielka in the 72nd minute. Howard's best save came on Carlos Tevez in stoppage time.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector started and played for nearly an hour for West Ham United, which drew 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden, who has excelled recently for Bolton Wanderers, went the distance Saturday in a 1-0 loss to Sunderland.
In England's second-tier League Championship, games that would have featured American forward Conor Doyle and defender Zak Whitbread were played without either player in attendance. Doyle was with the U.S. under-20 national team and this absent for Derby County in its 2-1 loss Saturday to Reading.
Whitbread is still nursing a serious calf injury and was unavailable Norwich City, a 2-1 winner Saturday over Coventry City.
It was cold and blustery with some snow, but most matches were played in Germany Friday and Saturday with the heavy snow not arriving until late Sunday.
U.S> defender Steve Cherundolo did not have a good afternoon for red-hot Hannover 96, responsible for an own goal in a 3-1 upset at the hands of host FC Nürnberg 3-1 Saturday at EasyCredit-Stadion.
Cherundolo played 90 minutes and received a yellow card, but his worst moment came in the 28th minute when he inadvertently turned an Ilkay Gundogan shot into his own net while trying to clear it. It was the first goal of the match and Hannover, which had won five straight, went down by three goals before finally scoring.
U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley did not dress for Hannover.
Michael Bradley went 78 minutes and assisted the lone goal for last-place Borussia Mönchengladbach, which lost 2-1 to Hamburg SV on Friday.
In the 48th minute, Bradley worked a give-and-go on the left side and ended up driving toward the end-line just outside of the penalty area. At the last moment, he rifled a perfect cross across the goal mouth to an unmarked Igor De Camargo, who easily headed it into an open net for a 1-1 tie.
Mönchengladbach should have gone ahead in the 70th minute when Bradley held off a defender and put Thorben Marx in alone, but his shot was off. Two minutes later, Piotr Trochowski scored the winner for Hamburg.
Yesterday, Mönchengladbach was eliminated from the DFB Pokal Round of 16 when Bundesliga foe, host TSG Hoffenheim prevailed 2-0.
German-American Jermaine Jones is still on the roster of FC Schalke 04 II, the reserve team playing in the fourth division, which had its final match before the two-month winter break snowed out.
American goalkeeper Daniel Williams did not dress for SC Freiburg, which drew 2-2 Sunday with Bayer Leverkusen.
In the 2.Bundesliga, American keeper David Yeldell made three saves for MSV Duisburg in its 1-0 loss Friday to VfL Bochum.
American keeper Luis Robles and Karlsruhe had a rough night Monday, taking a 1-0 lead at halftime and winding up with a 3-1 setback to FC Union Berlin.
American defender Amaechi Igwe is recovering from a knee injury and unavailable to FC Ingolstadt, a 2-1 loser Sunday to VfL Osnabruck.
In France, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra played 90 minutes for St. Etienne in its 2-0 victory Saturday over Arles.
In the second division, American keeper Quentin Westberg dressed, but did not play for Evian Thonon Gaillard, which tied Troyes 1-1
In Belgium, U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan played 90 minutes for RSC Anderlecht in its 2-0 triumph Sunday over Club Brugge.
American defender Hunter Freeman is leaving Norway and returning to the United States to play in Major League Soccer with the Houston Dynamo. The Texas native spent 2009 and 2010 with IK Start. His rights were acquired by Houston in a trade with the New York Red Bulls, who had retained his rights while Freeman was in Norway.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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