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Americans Abroad

Moore continues scoring streak,but Everton is eliminated from FA Cup.

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

(Sunday, February 20, 2000) -- United States striker Joe-Max Moore continued his torrid scoring pace with his fifth goal in six games for Everton of England's Premier League. But his tally wasn't enough as Aston Villa prevailed 2-1 yesterday FA Cup quarterfinal.

Aston Villa had taken the lead in the 17th minute on a goalkeeping blunder. Off a corner kick, England international Steve Stone made a run into the penalty area and headed straight at Thomas Myhre. The Everton keeper allowed the shot to bounce off his shoulder and into the net.

Three minutes later, a moment of indecision on the part of Aston Villa defender Gareth Barry gave Moore an opening to collect a ball and chip it over Villa keeper Peter Enkleman to even the score at 1-1. Defender Steve Stone tried to clear the ball before it crossed the line with a scissors-kick, but it was too late.

Moore played well up front in place of Francis Jeffers. But the finishing around him was left wanting. Moments before the end of the half, Aston Villa scored the decisive goal when Italian striker Benito Carbone put away a deflection for a 2-1 lead.

In Spain, Rayo Valllecano suffered its first home loss in three months when American goalkeeper Kasey Keller was victimized for an 89th-minute goal that gave visiting Racing Santander a hard fought 2-1 win.

With a minute remaining, former Real Madrid midfielder Jose Emilio Amavisca floated a free kick into the Rayo area from the right side and Racing's Argentinian substitute, Claudio Arzeno, met it with a spectacular header to put the ball past a lunging Keller.

Moments earlier, Ismael Ruiz hit the top-right hand corner post with a sensational scissors-kick from just inside the area.

As usual, Rayo started out strong with a half dozen solid chances before Michel I opened the scoring in the 37th minute But Racing struck back quickly, scoring only three minutes later on a curving shot from Ruiz. Ruiz had several earlier chances, but was denied by Keller.

Racing came out strong in the second half and kept Rayo on its heels for most of the last 45 minutes. Pedro Munitis has the best opportunity, coming in alone on Keller in the 56th minute, but he was stopped by the keeper.

In Germany, once again, American midfielders Tony Sanneh and Frankie Hedjuk did not play as Sanneh's Hertha Berlin defeated Hamburg 2-1 and Hedjuk's Bayer Leverkusen tied with F.C. Schalke 1-1.

Hedjuk continues a crowd favorite in Leverkusen. Last week, against Stuttgart, for the first in almost two months, Hedjuk was dressed and on the bench. Leverkusen's starting right back, Thorben Hoffmann was in the doghouse for scoring an own goal the previous week against Bayern Munich and Joerg Reeb started in his place. Hedjuk dressed as backup.

In the second half, fans started chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" wanting Leverkusen coach Cristoph Daum to insert the American, but Hedjuk stayed on the bench.

Hedjuk continues to play in reserve matches and appears to be not that far from making more first team appearances. His problem continues to be that Bayer in the last year has acquired a number of experienced and expensive right-side midfielders and defenders.

In the Netherlands, U.S. midfielder John O'Brien did not play for Ajax which defeated De Graafschap 2-1 at home and continued its recent ascent is in the in the standings.

In the Dutch second division, American midfielder Ernie Stewart and NAC continue their run toward promotion. On Saturday, NAC defeated TOP Oss 1-0. The previous week, it lost to VVV 2-1 on the road.

Stewart played the full 90 minutes in both matches, and played well.

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.

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