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Americans Abroad

Olsen, Stewart contribute key goals in victories; Friedel start delayed.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
Willy Calderon (in Bristol, England)
Christopher Courtney (in Wuerzburg, Germany)
and Mark Flannery (in Montpellier, France)

(Tuesday, November 7, 2000) -- Ben Olsen scored his first goal playing British soccer shortly after being brought on as a half-time substitute in Nottingham Forestís much needed 3-1 win over Preston North End.

Needing more offense, Forest manager David Platt brought on Olsen for defender David Prutton, but played him at a wing midfield position. It took the D.C. United player 13 minutes to notch his first goal. Olsen played with great energy and it was rewarded in the 58th minute. He took a shot from just outside the area which was blocked. The rebound went to Jack Lester who slotted the ball back to Olsen who was nestled between two defenders just inside the penalty area. With Preston goalkeeper David Lucas charging out, Olsen calmly chipped the ball just over the keeper and watched it bounce ever so slowly into the open net.

As reported on the official Forest recap of the match: "The ball bobbled and bounced itís way towards the net so slowly that Olsen had almost turned and walked away, assuming that it would either go wide or be scooped up by the keeper. But somehow it didnít and the ball just kept up enough momentum to find itself over the line."

After the goal, the match became extremely physical. In the 65th minute, Prestonís Eric Meijer violently brought down Forestís Marlon Harewood. Fists started flying with most of the players, including Olsen, joining in. When the dust settled, Preston was down to nine men.

Olsen almost had his second goal near the end, and this one would have been a picture strike. Harewood put a great ball through to him, and his shot at full pace was just over the bar.

After the match Platt said of Olsen, "I thought looked terrific. He is obviously an intelligent player -- looking for the chances and taking them well."

At Blackburn, manager Graeme Souness announced just-signed American goalkeeper Brad Friedel will not make his debut for Blackburn Wednesday, as planned. John Filan will get the start.

The Australian had been expected to drop out in favor with Friedelís arrival, but Souness has opted to stick with Filan at Barnsley tomorrow night after an impressive performance against Stockport over the weekend.

However, Souness made it clear he regards Friedel as his starter as soon as he is match fit.

"Brad will be on the bench at Barnsley," Souness said. "It would be unfair of me to throw him straight in because he has not even trained with us yet. "I have brought him here to be my number one, though. John Filan and Alan Kelly are both good goalkeepers who have done nothing wrong. But I feel that Brad is a better goalkeeper."

In the Dutch Premier Division, American midfielder\forward Earnie Stewart scored a big goal for his NAC Breda team which earned a hard-fought 2-2 draw with NEC Nijmegen.

Both team are playing very well. In the 10th minute of a match played at a furious pace, NEC open the scoring on a rebound goal from striker Jack de Gier. It took Stewart three minutes to get the equalizer. He controlled the ball just outside the NEC area, and moving away from goal. shot from a difficult angle high and with enough pace to elude goalkeeper Dennis Gentenaar for his second goal of the season.

Newly promoted NAC is now in sixth position in the premier division, two places behind NEC.

American Frankie Hejduk made his first appearance in almost one year, starting at right midfield in Bayer Leverkusenís 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Sporting a new shorter haircut and good form, Hejduk caused numerous problems for the weak Frankfurt defense in the first half. He showed good technical skills working the ball into the right corner, winning a pair of corners and showing well for the ball in an almost continuous Leverkusen give-and-go.

Hejduk had two shots on goal, both of which were stopped by a tightly packed defense. Late in the first half, he was brought down in the area while on the ball after his marker nearly ripped the shirt off his back. No penalty was whistled.

Clearly outclassed and playing for a draw on the road, Frankfurt bunkered behind the ball for the remaining 70 minutes of the game. In order to crack this defense, coach Rudi Voeller inserted another striker in place of Hejduk at the half. The score held at 0-0 until a late Michael Ballack free kick gave Leverkusen the lead for good.

Hejduk did not dress in a 0-0 draw with Schalke.

"It feels good to get a chance again" Hejduk told SoccerTimes after the match. "Iíve been working hard in practice and waiting for my chance. Youíve got to be ready when the call comes so Iíve been making sure Iím ready".

Voeller remarked he was pleased with Hejdukís performance, but wanted another striker on the field to break the deadlock.

In perhaps his best performance since moving to the German Bundesliga, American Tony Sanneh turned in a strong performance Saturday, starting in a 4-1 victory against Werder Bremen. Playing for the second week in the midfield rather than at right back, Sanneh filled a right-interior role in a 3-5-2 formation.

He spent most of his 90 minutes effectively sharing center midfield with Stephan Beinlich, but often helped Marko Rehmer out on the right wing. Bremenís 4-4-2 was frustrated by the Beinlich-Sanneh combination in the middle and effective finishing by Alex Alves and Michael Preetz.

Berlin is in first place, two points ahead of Bayern Munich.

Finally returning to play after a serious knee injury last season, U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo started for the Hannover 96 reserve team in a 1-0 win over FC Celle. Coach Horst Ehrmantraut wanted Cherundolo to play in one reserve match before joining the first team. Cherundolo reported that his knee feels strong and he is excited to return to the team and he is scheduled to play with the first team this Saturday at FC Mainz.

Joe Enochs started once again at defensive midfield for VFL Osnabruck after sitting out last week serving a red card suspension. Earning high marks from the German press for effectively disrupting the FC Saint Pauli offense, Enochs helped his team to a 0-0 draw against the opponentís strong offense. Enochs faces a stiff test this week in a trip to first place 1FC Nurnburg to face his old pal and current second Division scoring leader Martin Driller. Driller and Enochs were teammates on the FC Saint Pauli reserve team in the mid 1990s and remain friends.

Back in England, Eddie Lewis got the start midweek in the English League Cup third round as Fulham defeated Wolverhampton Wolves 3-2. Fulham put on an excellent display and despite getting a good run from Wolves, the London club prevailed courtesy of two goals from Portuguese striker Luis Boa Morte.

Lewis did admirably on the left side, but manager Jean Tigana was looking for more of an offensive punch and substituted the U.S. midfielder at halftime with Frenchman Fabrice Fernandes. From that point, it was only a matter of time before Fulham capped another victory. Then on Saturday, Lewis did not dress for Fulhamís 3-0 defeat of Huddersford Town.

U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter, on a 30-day tryout contract with Everton, has not yet been able to crack the full teamís lineup, but had a impressive match with Evertonís reserve side in a 2-0 loss to Leeds United. Not only did Berhalter put in a strong performance on defense, he twice almost scored off corner kicks and restarts. In the ninth minute, his strong header was just wide of the post and near the end another header hit the post.

U.S. striker Joe-Max Moore played the full 90 minutes also in the Everton reserve match. He was dressed, but did not play when Everton lost to Aston Villa 1-0 on an injury-time goal Sunday afternoon.

American Stefani Miglioranzi played all 90 minutes as Portsmouth in defensive midfield as Portsmouth drew with Queens Park Rangers 1-1. In the 80th minute, he was at the right place at the right time as a Rangers header was going for goal but he managed to clear if off the line to preserve the draw.

And a name for Major League Soccer fans. Midweek, former MLS striker Giovanni Savarese scored twice for Swansea in its 2-2 draw against Bristol City in the English League Cup.

In Scotland, Claudio Reyna, did not dress for Glasgow Rangers who gave up a late goal this afternoon to French champions Monaco and saw their 2000-2001 Champions League campaign come to an end with a 2-2 draw.

Reyna, out with a leg injury the last three weeks, is almost ready to return to the lineup, but was not match fit for this critical contest. Rangers missed him in the midfield because both Monaco goals were scored on swift counterattacks when Rangers had committed too many players to an offensive thrust.

Turkey's Galatasaray and Austria's Sturm Graz advanced to the next round of the Champions League. Rangers, finishing third in Group D, will play in the third round of the UEFA Cup.

In Portugal, in a rare appearance for Sporting Lisbon, American Jovan Kirovski entered in the 66th minute replacing Sa Pinto in a 4-0 decision over Uniao Leiria.

Riding the Pine:

Midfielder John O'Brien (Ajax, Amersterdam) - Is still sidelined with an Achilles heel problem.

Defender David Regis (Metz, France) - Was dressed and on the substitutes bench, but did not play as Metz again failed to generate much offense even while playing three defenders and five midfielders. The club lost to Nantes 2-0 with only three shots for the match.

Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (Fulham, England) - As usual, was on Fulham's bench as backup keeper for starter Maik Taylor in 3-0 victory over Huddersford, as well as Fulhamís 3-2 English Cup win over Wolverhampton.

Goalkeeper Ian Feuer (Wimbledon, England) - Was on the bench, but did not play when Wimbledon defeated Middlesbrough 1-0 in third round of the English League Cup.

Forward Landon Donovan (Leverkusen, Germany) - Did not dress for in a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Midfielder John Thorrington (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany) - Still recovering from a hamstring injury.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com. Christopher Courtney is an American living in Wuerzburg, Germany where he follows the fortunes of American players in Europe. He can be contacted at yanksgermany@yahoo.com. Willy Calderon, an American living in Bristol, England, writes about soccer for various publications and netzines and can be contacted at willy@netcity.co.uk. Mark Flannery is an American teaching English in France and follows French football closely.

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