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Americans end scoring drought, stun Germany 3-0 behind Kirovski, Sanneh and Reyna.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Saturday, February 6, 1999) -- The United States stunned Germany this afternoon, getting goals from Jovan Kirovski, Tony Sanneh and Claudio Reyna in a 10-minute span early in the first half to defeat the reigning European champion 3-0 before 17,259 witnessing the friendly match at Alltel Stadium.

All three American scorers are based in the German Bundesliga -- Kirovski with Fortuna Cologne, Sanneh about to join Hertha Berlin and Reyna with Vfl Wolfsburg -- as the U.S. registered its first victory ever over a German side. The American are now 1-3 against a unified Germany after losing two 1990 meetings with East Germany and a 1972 match against West Germany.

"It’s a very good win, but we’re not going to blow it out of context," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena who recorded his first victory after playing scoreless ties with Australia and Bolivia. "This was just a friendly in February. What I’m looking forward to is improvement and what we saw today was improvement."

In the second game of a doubleheader, Germany edged the U.S. 1-0 in a meeting of Olympic teams.

The U.S. ended a scoring drought of 288 minutes when Kirovski’s blast from the top left of the penalty area found the top right corner.

The play started when defender Jeff Agoos tackled loose a ball from the German attack. Robin Fraser picked up the ball and returned it to Jeff Agoos who advanced up the center of the field. He passed left to corner of the box where Kirovski, cut back to his right, inside defender Markus Babel and launched his shot beyond outstretched goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

"I have not been concerned about goals," Arena said. "I knew they would come. We just as easily could have had three against Bolivia."

Eight minutes later, it was Sanneh who took the ball away from midfielder Jens Jeremies for an unimpeded run at goal. Kahn came six yards off his line, but was helpless to stop Sanneh who rolled a hard shot from near the penalty spot inside the left post for a 2-0 advantage.

"We went on the field today expecting to win," Sanneh said. "Our game plan was to go at them. On this team, everybody knows his role and today we did it."

Sanneh’s job is to attack down the flank an with a large television audience watch in Germany, he served notice that he plans to contribute to his new club. "At least now I won’t just be an American," he said. "Maybe now I can start on an even keel."

Sanneh started a quick combination that led to Reyna’s tally and a 3-0 lead in the 26th minute. He passed to Kirvovski standing, back to the goal on the 18-yard line. Kirovski neatly touched it back to Reyna who looped a pass into deep into the left side of the box to midfielder Eddie Lewis. Lewis returned the ball to a totally unmarked Reyna, who easily placed a six-yard shot into the empty net.

"It was good to have a great game. It felt great to play this way," said Reyna, the U.S. captain today who hopes to revive his flagging fortunes with Wolfsburg. "Today, we had a perfect balance. Everyone played their role. It wasn’t just the goals. We played well all over. We talked all week that we had to out from the first and pressure them and not give them the kind of respect we did in (the World Cup in) France. That was the difference."

The Germans seemed disinterested from the start and now have to head home to a public increasingly dissatisfied with their national side. After a second straight quarterfinal exit from the World Cup, Germany lost to Turkey and struggled to defeat Malta 2-1 in qualifying for the opportunity to defend its European championship

"We were just not on a par with the U.S. today," Germany coach Erich Rebbeck said. "They were more aggressive, more agile, more determined. When they scored the second goal, the match was essentially over."

The two nations meet again in July 3-0 in the Confederations Cup in Mexico where the eyes of the world will be watching. "I know we’ll have a job on our hands," Reyna said. "We have to earn back (the soccer world’s) respect (after a dismal World Cup performance) and days like this are a start."

Bob Wagman wrote a nationally syndicated political column for Scripps-Howard for many years. At the same time he has covered soccer in North America for British and South African newspapers since the days of the North American Soccer League. His "Football In America" column now appears regularly in British newspapers. He can be e-mailed at MobileWag@aol.com.

SoccerTimes managing editor Gary Davidson contributed to this report.

United States 3, Germany 0

Lineups: United States - Tony Meola, Robin Fraser, Jeff Agoos, C.J. Brown, Eddie Lewis (Frankie Hejduk 77), Chris Armas, Claudio Reyna, Tony Sanneh, Jovan Kirovski (Joe-Max Moore 86), Cobi Jones (Roy Lassiter 86), Brian McBride; Germany - Oliver Kahn, Lothar Matthaus, Markus Babbel, Marko Rehmer, Alexander Zickler (Marco Bode 46), Jens Jeremies, Carsten Ramelow (Christian Nerlinger 46), Lars Ricken, Andreas Moller, Michael Preetz, Olaf Marschall.

Scoring:
United States - Jovan Kirovski (Agoos) 26;
United States - Tony Sanneh (unassisted) 24;
United States - Claudio Reyna (Lewis) 26.

Shots: United States 17, Germany 8. Saves: United States 2, Germany 6. Corner kicks: United States 3, Germany 6. Fouls: United States 10, Germany 14. Offside: United States 3, Germany 2. Yellow card caution: United States - Sanneh 42, Armas 50; Germany - Zickler 42; Moeller 50.

Referee: Gilberto Alcala (Mexico). Assistant referees: Francisco Ramirez (Mexico), Juan Vasquez (Mexico). Attendance: 17,259 at Alltel Stadiun in Jacksonville, Fla. Weather: 72 degrees, sunny and clear.

Copyright© 1999 Davidson News Group. All Rights Reserved