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Americans Abroad

Reyna, Rangers have easy time with Motherwell; Sanneh, Hejduk sit.

By Robert Wagman

(Monday, August 16, 1999) -- It was not a particularly eventful weekend for Americans playing in Europe.

United States midfielder Claudio Reyna and his Glasgow Rangers had an easy time notching their third straight Scottish League victory. Midfielder Tony Sanneh played only a few minutes for Hertha Berlin, but that was more than midfielder Frankie Hejduk played for Bayern Leverkusen. And in Spain, goalkeeper Kasey Keller still awaits his Spanish league debut.

In Glasgow, it was all Michael Mols for the Rangers. The Dutch striker scored all four Rangers goals as Glasgow easily rolled over league opponent Motherwell 4-1. Reyna played a full 90 minutes and contributing to two of Mols' goals.

The most spectacular play of the match came in the 70th minutes when Reyna split the Motherwell defense with a pinpoint 40 year pass right to the foot of Moles, who smartly slotted the ball between the legs of advancing Motherwell keeper Andy Goram.

The Rangers and their supporters were probably still emotionally wrung out from their Champions League qualifier victory over Parma midweek. The matter-of-fact nature of the victory shows how far ahead of most of the Scottish league Rangers are.

In the German Bundesliga, Sanneh is still not completely fit at Hertha Berlin. He has been plagued with a series of nagging leg problems all summer, and had to come out of Hertha's preseason warmup against Barcelona a week ago in the first half.

On Sunday, Hertha had an easily time in its Bundesliga opener defeating Hansa Rostock 5-2. Sanneh remained on the bench for most of the match, finally replacing Sebastian Deisler in the 79th minute. By that time all seven goals in the match had been scored.

On Friday in Leverkusen , Hejduk got only three minutes of playing time in Bayer's opener, a hard fought 0-0 draw with MSV Duisburg. Hejduk came on in the final minute of regulation for Brazilian Robson Ponté.

It appears that Hejduk is going to have a tough fight for playing minutes this season. Leverkusen is currently carrying 12 midfielders on its roster including three Brazilians Ponte, Ze Roberto and Emerson, German internationals Stefan Beinlich, Michael Ballack and Bernd Schneider, and Belguim international Hans-Peter Lehnhoff.

In Spain, Kasey Keller and his new club Rayo Vallecano, will face a major test next weekend when they face crosstown rival Atletico de Madrid in their Spanish league opener. Keller may be facing a busy season as newly-promoted Rayo faces traditional powers like Real, Barcelona, and Atletico with a roster almost unchanged from last season when it finished tied for third in the Second Division.

Meanwhile, back in Germany Jovan Kirovski may be a man without a team. Last season his Borussia Dortmund team lent him to Second Division Fortuna Cologne for the season. He hoped to be able to make the starting team this season, but despite his impressive play in the Confederations Cup he has not been able to win a place yet.

Now it is going to be more difficult. Dortmund is on the verge of signing Brazilian midfielder Evanilson, in a multi-million dollar transfer.

While in Mexico for the Confederations Cup, Kirovski said he was looking at other teams he might move to including Austrian power Sturm Graz.

Finally there will be one more American playing abroad this week. D.C. United and national team defender Jeff Agoos is in South Africa to represent the U.S. on a FIFA international all-star team that will face the South African national team in a tribute match for Nelson Mandela.

Robert Wagman is a regular contributor to SoccerTimes and can be e-mailed at SoccerWag1@aol.com.

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