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Americans Abroad

Keller, Friedel could be changing addresses in Europe; Donovan excels.

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

(Sunday, May 21, 2000) -- The United States' top two goalkeepers, Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel, could both be changing teams now the European season has drawn to a close.

In Spain, Keller and his Rayo Vallecano side ended their season on a high note. Keller made several fine saves for Rayo which defeated relegation-bound Seville 3-2.

In recent days, Keller has been vocal in his unhappiness over being benched after recovering from a broken collarbone. This has led to speculation that he might move on. The British press has indicated a number of Premier League sides might be interested in Keller returning to England.

Friedel also has been much in the British press over the past week. First there were reports that the backup Liverpool keeper would move across town to join American striker Joe-Max Moore at Everton. These reports have been denied by Everton chief executive Micheal Dunford.

Friedel has another year to run on his lucrative contract with Liverpool. But there is some question whether his British work permit will be renewed given the fact he played in so few matches this season.

Dutchman Sandor Westerveld was the first keeper for Liverpool, which has indicated it wants to keep Friedel, but might entertain offers for him if a significant transfer fee is involved. This will not happen unless Friedel gets his work permit renewal, or obtains a passport from a European Union country.

Other reports say that Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier is pursuing both Middlesbrough's Ben Roberts, as well as Pegguy Arphexad who replaced Keller at Leicester City, as possible back-up keepers should Friedel lose his work permit leave or be transferred.


American midfielders Tony Sanneh and Frankie Hejduk watched their teams end the season on a sour note.

Hertha Berlin needed to defeat Dortmund to have a chance to return to the European Championís League next season, but was drubbed 3-0.

Sanneh was inserted at halftime for midfielder Michael Hartmann.

The loss dropped Hertha into sixth place in the Bundesliga and into the second-level UEFA Cup competition next fall. As Saturday unfolded, it turned out even if Hertha had won, it would have wound up tied for fourth with 1860 Munich, which would have grabbed the final Championís League qualifying spot on goal differential.

All Bayer Leverkusen needed to do was draw with SpVgg Unterhaching to win its first Bundesliga title. Leverkusen, however, came out flat and fell 2-0. The loss, coupled with Bayern Munich's victory, meant the two teams ended the season with 73 points each with Bayern winning the championship with a better goal differential (plus-45 to plus-38).

Hedjuk did not dress for the match.

Some good news out of Leverkusen, however. Their reserve side won an important tournament thanks largely to the play of American striker Landon Donovan. The Leverkusen reserve side defeated Fortuna Duesseldorf 1-0 with Donovan getting "Man of he Match" honors.

Donovan set up the one goal and narrowly missed scoring himself on a spectacular bicycle kick that hit the post.

Sometime in the next week, Donovan will likely hear what Leverkusen's plans are for him. He could be moved onto the first team or be loaned out to another team next season.

There have been reports that Leverkusen offered to loan Donovan to MLS this year, but the American league declined because of a policy against accepting loan players, plus it did not want to pay Donovan's salary which is high by MLS standards.

Also, in Germany, former University of Maryland standout, Tyler Twellman played a strong first half for 1860 Munich's amateur/reserve side as they defeated Schweinfurt 05. Twellman had several scoring oppoprtunities before being substituted for in the second half. Reports from Munich indicate the team thinks Twellman has a bright future in Germany.


In Scotland, Glasgow Rangers finished the regular season with their second league loss, 2-0 to Motherwell. It was the championsí only road loss of the season and first setback since January.

The match had no real meaning other than to get ready for next week's Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen at Hampden Park.

American midfielder Claudio Reyna played the full 90 minutes in a defensive midfield role and did well though his team was flat and produced little offense.

Note: With the European season at an end, "Americans Abroad" will not appear on a regular basis again until league play starts again in August.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.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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