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Americans Abroad

Lewis earns starting nod for Fulham; Reyna is again a right back.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
Willie Calderon (in Bristol, England)
Arne van Kalsbeek (in Amsterdam) and
Matthias Schneider (in Leverkusen, Germany)

(Monday, April 3, 2000) -- It was a good weekend in England for a couple of Americans. In addition to striker Joe-Max Moore's sensational day at Everton, scoring two goals in a 4-2 triumph over Watford, midfielder Eddie Lewis broke into the starting side at Fulham.

Following recent his performances as a second-half substitute, Lewis earned a starting role and played all 90 minutes for Fulham in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Following the midweek firing of Fulham manager Paul Bracewell, new boss former German international Karlheinz Riedle, who was the team's starting wing midfielder, left himself out of the lineup in favor of the American.

Lewis was just as impressive over the 90 minutes as he has been in his previous two appearances. He caused problems all day on the left flank. His give-and-go combinations with Steve Finnan resulted in an assist on Geoff Horsfield's 17th minute goal.

With the win, Fulham have moved within eight points of the final playoff promotion spot with only six games to play.

In the Premier League, American goalkeeper Ian Feuer sat on the bench for West Ham United on Saturday and can count himself lucky. The London club was blasted by Manchester United 7-1.

Doubts may surface over the play of Canadian keeper Craig Forrest but it was the play of West Ham's defense that gave him little cover.

In Scotland, Claudio Reyna was again in his unaccustomed role as a defender as he played the entire 90 minutes in Glasgow Rangers' 1-1 draw with Aberdeen.

As he had a week ago, Reyna found himself as an replacement at right back because of injuries. He again played a strong game making several fine defensive stops.

The draw moved Rangers to an insurmountable 16 point lead over second place Celtic. This has led U.S. coach Bruce Arena to assume Rangers will not mind losing Reyna for a few days so he has called him up for the Americans’ April 26 midweek meeting with Russia. There are already statements coming out from the Rangers’ camp this might make him unavailable the following Saturday because he will have missed midweek practices.

Some potentially troubling news out of Amsterdam. U.S. midfielder John O'Brien was injured and did not make the trip as Ajax, under interim coach Hans Westerhof, lost on the road to Roda JC 3-0. Word is the injury is not serious and O'Brien should be fit by the CONCACAF Olympic trials later this month in Hershey, Pa.

In Germany, the news was the usual. Neither American midfielders Tony Sanneh nor Frankie Hedjuk played as Sanneh's Hertha Berlin defeated FC Schalke 04 2-1 and Hedjuk's Bayer Leverkusen downed 1860 Munich by the same score.

The news from the Leverkusen reserve squad was also the same. Landon Donovan played a solid 90 minutes but the team lost again to LR Ahlen 3-1. The setback leaves the Leverkusen reserves in 16th place and in danger of relegation out of the third division.

In Spain, Rayo Vallecano got a much-needed point against Numancia in a 0-0 draw in a driving rainstorm in Madrid. Again U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller did not play because of his fractured collarbone and his replacement Julen Lopetegui recorded another shutout.

According to news reports Keller is chaffing to get back into action, but his manager does not think he is ready and Lopetegui continues to perform impressively.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at SoccerWag1@aol.com. Willy Calderon, an American living in Bristol, England, can be e-mailed at willy@netcity.co.uk. Arne van Kalsbeek lives in Amsterdam and writes for the English language web site Ajax Mania. Matthias Schneider lives in Leverkusen, Germany and is employed by Bayer Leverkusen as an English-language translator.

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