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Americans Abroad

Reyna gets a needed rest; Keller is bombed.

(Sunday, December 5, 1999) -- Bad weather brought good news for American midfielder Claudio Reyna and his battered Glasgow Rangers teammates. Their league match yesterday against St. Johnstone was snowed out.

Rangers have a critical UEFA Cup away match scheduled for Tuesday in Germany against Dortmund. The team has lost two straight and is suffering through a rash of injuries. Finnish international striker Jonatan Johansson is out four months after damaging his ankle in Wednesday's surprise 1-0 defeat by Aberdeen in the League Cup. He joins a casualty list which already includes Rod Wallace, Gabriel Amato and Michael Mols.

Rangers will have Wallace back on Tuesday night and they will need him. They have a two-goal lead to protect in the two-match series.

In Spain, United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller and his Rayo Vallecano teammates might have wished it snowed, but it didn't, and they went down to their fourth straight defeat 3-2 at the hands of Deportivo. The win, the fifth in a row for Deportivo, moved it into first place in the Primera Division.

Keller had a day to forget, giving up three in the first quarter-hour. Dutch striker Roy Makaay opened the scoring at the sixth minute when he caught Rayo defense napping and got off a strong shot that eluded Keller. Then only two minutes later, Keller could not control a blast from Makaay, and the Argentinean striker Turu Flores smashed home the rebound. Finally at the 15-minute mark, a lovely through pass put Pauleta in alone on Keller and he made it 3-0.

Both Rayo and Keller steadied after the horrible start. The American keeper made several fine saves to prevent further damage and Rayo got two goals back by the 50th minute. But that was it and the club fell further behind the Primera's leaders.

In Germany, American midfielder Tony Sanneh returned to Hertha Berlin's lineup yesterday after missing four matches with a leg injury. He came in for Ante Covic in the 76th minute of Hertha's much-needed 3-0 win over SSV Ulm. The win, only Hertha's fourth in 14 league matches, moved it into 10th place in the Bundesliga.

Surprisingly, Hertha is still alive in the Champions League and it plays host to Porto on Wednesday in a must-win situation.

Also in Germany on Saturday, American midfielder Frankie Hedjuk did not play as Bayer Leverkusen held off Werder Bremen 3-2. The victory kept Bayer in a tie with Bayern Munich at the top of the league.

In the Netherlands, U.S. forward John O'Brien did not play for Ajax which was surprised by RKC Waalwijk 2-1. Despite the loss Ajax stays at the top of the Dutch Premier Division a point ahead of PSV which it plays at home on December 15 in a key match.

In France, U.S. defender David Regis did not play for Metz which earned a point on the road in a 1-1 draw with AJ Auxerre.

In England, U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel did not play as Liverpool defeated Sheffield Wednesday 4-1. The victory moved Liverpool up to fifth in the Premier League.

Also in England, former Columbus Crew Stern John failed to score for a second straight match and Nottingham Forest lost again, this time to Ipswich Town, 1-0. But John is playing hard. He received his first yellow card in the English First Division.

Finally, again in England, American striker Joe-Max Moore did not play for Everton which was crushed by newly crowned "World Champion" Manchester United 5-1. Supposedly, Man. U. was tired from their quick round trip to Tokyo where it defeated Brazil's Palmeiras 1-0 to win the mythical championship. But Manchester didn't play like a tired team.

Moore received his British work permit from the Department of Overseas Labour on Friday, but he was still in transit to Goodison Park when his new teammates took the field. Actually he would still not have been eligible to play because his registration papers had not been received from FIFA which was waiting for his clearance to arrive from MLS and the United States Soccer Federation.

It is expected that Moore will start for the Blues in next weekend's F.A. Cup Third Round match with Exeter City. Right now Moore has been penciled in by Everton manager Walter Smith as his first replacement forward, and likely eventually a starter in early round Cup matches.

"We are pleased he has been granted the work permit so quickly," Smith told reporters. "It means that we can go ahead and register the player and hopefully he will be with us within the next week or so."

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