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Americans Abroad

Keller, Rayo lose in Spain; Moore misses chance to be hero for Everton.

(Wednesday, January 5, 2000) -- Lowly Oviedo is near the bottom of the Spanish Premier League and likely headed for relegation, but it did not play like it at home against Rayo Vallecano, beating the Madrid club and American goalkeeper Kasey Keller 2-0.

Rayo did not look itself tonight. In only the eight minute, Roberto Pompei put Roberto Losada in alone on Keller, and he slotted the ball under the charging American.

Then only six minutes later Losada again beat Keller with a header, only to see it rebound off the crossbar. In the 37th minute, he had a seeming goal disallowed for a questionable offside.

Rayo pressed through most of the second half trying for an equalizer, but could not connect. Finally, in the 90th minute Ivan Iglesias beat Keller to put the match away.

In England, on Monday in a New Year's holiday match, United States striker Joe-Max Moore played 20 solid minutes for Everton. But he had a chance to be the hero, but could not convert the opportunity.

Everton, at home, thought it had a golden chance with Leicester City, which has played poorly on the road this season. In the 70th minute with the match was all even at 2-2, and wanting to get some fresh legs into the attack, Everton manager Walter Smith inserted Moore for Francis Jeffers at forward.

Playing what amounted to a wing forward, or a midfielder at times, Moore did well. He had several good touches, but by this time the match had deteriorated into a defensive struggle. In the 78th minute, he had a golden opportunity to score the match winner and his first Premier League goal, but could not take advantage. He was alone dead center in the box when a ricochet came right to him. But the ball was moving with pace and bounced off his chest and over the end line really before he could react.

Everton still is having a great deal of trouble scoring with 23 fewer goals than at this point last season. If Moore could find a scoring touch, he could make an immediate impact at Goodison Park.

In other English action on Monday, American keeper Brad Friedel did not dress for Liverpool.

At Nottingham Forest, Trinidad & Tobago forward Stern John, most recently of the Columbus Crew, did not score as Forest was badly beaten by Charlton 3-0.

Speaking of Friedel, news reports coming out of Liverpool say that Friedel has been in contact with Norwegian club Rosenborg to see if a transfer can be arranged. It is clear that Friedel is not happy sitting on the bench at Liverpool. Rosenborg appears to need some goalkeeping help.

The Norwegian team's goalkeeping coach, Ola ByRise confirmed the team is considering acquiring Friedel. "He is a candidate for us. As far as I understand it, he wants to leave Liverpool, and he has talked to (Rosenborg manager) Veggard Heggem about our club."

If he moves to Rosenborg, he would be into the Champions League. Rosenborg made it through to the second round. Under UEFA rules, Friedel would have to sign by January 31 to be eligible to play in the rest of the second-round action.

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