Determined Stewart scores 30 seconds in, NAC Breda surprises Feyenoord 1-0By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
Christopher Courtney (in Germany)
Willy Calderon (in England)
Keith Richardson (in Germany)
Mark Flannery (in France)
and Robert B. Lane, Jr. (in Spain)
(Monday, April 9, 2001) -- NAC Breda had not beaten Dutch league power Feyenoord in 21 years, a situation that American midfielder Earnie Stewart was determined to change.
So, on Sunday, with Feyenoord dueling with Ajax for second place and a European Champions League bid, Stewart took the opening kickoff down the right side, beat three defenders, cut to the middle and drilled home a low shot into the goal with about 30 seconds elapsed for a 1-0 lead that stood up as the final score.
It wasn’t easy, however, because Breda had to play the final 85 minutes plus six minutes of stoppage time a man short after Pacheco Sergio was sent off.
United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller was sufficiently recovered from his slight concussion, suffered a week earlier to start for Rayo Vallecano Saturday. Ninety minutes later, Keller certainly had another headache because Rayo was drubbed by visiting Valencia, 4-1.
Keller started out strongly, making an early save on Valencia’s Norweigan striker John Carew, and tipping Juan Sanchez’s blast onto the crossbar in the 18th minute. Several other saves kept the match scoreless as halftime approached, but in the 44th minute, the visitors' Gaizka Mendieta put a free kick into the middle of the area and an unmarked Roberto Ayala headed it past Keller to quiet the Teresa Rivero crowd.
Keller kept Rayo in the match with a diving save on Sanchez moments into the second half, but he could do little only four minutes later when Mendieta’s perfect pass to Argentinian Kily Gonzalez was volleyed out of the air and into the far corner to make it 2-0.
As Rayo’s defense began to noticeably tire, Valencia substitute Vicente Rodriguez beat Keller with a hard left-footed volley in the 73rd minute. After Rayo scored, Sanchez put one past Keller about five minutes from the end.
In England, U.S. keeper Brad Friedel helped Blackburn Rovers to defeat Queens Park Rangers 3-1 and take another step toward automatic promotion from the first division to the Premier League. Things did not start off well with Friedel beaten by a rocket header from Chris Plummer at the 15-minute mark. But QPR had only one other good shot on goal all day and Friedel smothered that one.
In Scotland, as a measure of how Glasgow Rangers’ season has gone, the club was pleased with a 0-0 draw on the road at Hibernian. Rangers are dueling with Hibs for second place behind Celtic and a ticket to next season’s Champions League.
U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna played well in a more offensive midfield role than he normally assumes for Rangers. In the eighth minute he took a free kick that passed just inches over the bar. He twice had excellent chances deep in Hib’s box, but both time was dispossessed by strong tackles. Finally in the 88th minute, he threaded a pass through to an onrushing Billy Dodds, but Dodds’ shot was wide.
The draw kept Rangers six points ahead of Hibs and in good position to finish second.
In Germany’s Second Bundesliga, American defensive midfielder Joe Enochs and VFL Osnabruck continue to battle to avoid relegation. With seven games remaining, the VFLers faced a tough run through two promotion favorites, FC Saint Pauli and Nuerenberg.
Turning in perhaps the best performance of his professional soccer career, Enochs led his team to an exciting 4-2 win at Saint Pauli needed three points. The 29-year-old California native was named to Kicker’s "Team of the Week", earned "Man of the Match" honors, and received a high rating of 2, a mark usually reserved for German or Brazilian internationals.
Enochs dominated his mark Thomas Meggle and shut down the Saint Pauli central attackers in the midfield with tight marking and denial of space. Earlier in the week, Kicker had featured Enochs as an example-setter for his team in its run to avoid relagation.
A week ago, Osnabrück enjoyed its finest match of the season, overwhelming Alemannia Aachen 5-1, helped by another solid performance by Enochs, who has emerged as one of the steadiest players in the second division.
Osnabruck can move out of the relegation zone next week with a victory, along with Stuttgart Kickers losing at favored Borussia Moenchengladbach and Arminia Bielefeld falling to Duisburg. Osnabruck, meanwhile has a tough task, hosts\ing the Second Bundesliga’s runaway leader, 1 FC Nuernberg, the team that signed American midfielder\defender Tony Sanneh for next season.
At Hannover 96, defender Steve Cherundolo returned from duty with the U.S. national team to a place on Horst Ehrmantraut’s bench. The San Diego native entered the game at left back in the 18th minute and turned in a solid 72 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Duisburg. A week earlier, just back from the U.S. triumph in Honduras, Cherundolo did not see action as Hannover beat Rot-Weiss Oberhausen to move up three spots to seventh place.
In the Regionalligas North and South (third division), every team with an American on its roster lost this weekend.
In Regionalliga North, American striker Jacob Thomas played 62 minutes for Eintracht Braunschweig in a 1-0 setback to Erzgebirge Aue. In the Regionalligas, the top two teams in each division win promotion to the 2. Liga. Eintracht Braunschweig are in fifth place, four points behind the top two teams, Preussen Münster and Fortuna Köln. Eintracht Braunschweig hosts Fortuna Köln next Saturday.
In the same division, U.S. striker Conor Casey played 75 minutes for the Borussia Dortmund amateur team in a goal-less draw with SC Verl at the Stadion Rote Erde in Dortmund. Dortmund’s amateurs are rooted at the bottom of the Regionalliga North standings and seem doomed to relegation as they are 12 points away from the first non-relegation slot with 10 matches left.
In Regionalliga Süd, former U.S. international striker David Wagner played 90 minutes for SV Darmstadt 98 in a 2-1 defeat to SVW Burghausen. Another former U.S. international, striker Michael Mason went 90 minutes for Carl Zeiss Jena in a 2-0 loss to VfR Mannheim.
SV Darmstadt 98 is currently in fourth place, four points behind second-place 1. FC Schweinfurt 05 and 10 points behind leader Karlsruhe SC. Karlsruhe’s American midfielder Carlo Espinosa did not play in a 4-1 loss to Eintracht Trier.
American defender John van Buskirk played the final 15 minutes in Sportfreunde Siegen’s 4-2 loss to the relegation-threatened Bayern Munich amateurs. Sportfreunde Siegen is currently in 11th place and seem destined to spend another season in this division.
American striker Taylor Twellman played the final 25 minutes in the 1860 Munich amateurs’ 4-0 setback to Rot-Weiss Erfurt. Americans Grover Gibson, Brent Goulet and Tim Lawson did not see action in SV Elversberg’s 3-0 loss to Jahn Regensburg.
Elversberg and 1860 Munich amateurs are currently in the final two non-relegation places (13th and 14th places) and neither is assured of safety.
In other German news, 1.FCK, gave a trial to 18-year-old Chicagoan Udo Seidel for its A-Youth squad. He reportedly left a good impression, but FCK has not made a decision whether to sign him for next season. Seidel, whose father hales from the Dortmind area, played last season for the D-3 Chicago Magic, the U.S. third division.
In France, U.S. defender David Regis and Metz lost 2-1 on the road against Nantes, which looks to have the title wrapped up. Playing a very odd 2-6-2 formation with Regis as one of the two defenders, Metz opened the scoring in the third minute, a lead it held for 26 minutes.
Regis played well and was rated a strong 5 out of 7
Metz managed to stay three points above the relegation zone with two league matches left.
In Spain, American striker Ante Razov started in Racing de Ferrol´s 1-1 draw with Eibar. It was an odd match with Eibar scoring in the second minute and Racing equalizing just three minutes later. After that both teams floundered, but Razov played well until he was replaced in the 61st minute.
Riding the Pine:
Forward Joe-Max Moore (Everton, England) - Continues to struggle to regain fitness after a calf injury, thus did not dress for 3-1 win over Manchester City.
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (Fulham, England) - Back on the bench this week for a 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
Forward Eddie Lewis (Fulham, England) - Did not dress for the West Brom match.
Defender Gregg Berhalter (Crystal Palace, England) - Was dressed, but did not play in 2-2 draw with Watford.
Midfielder John O’Brien (Ajax, Netherlands) - Still injured, did not dress for the full side’s 1-0 loss to PSV. More interesting, did not dress for a mid-week reserve match, a 4-1 victory over ADO.
Midfielder Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin, Germany) - Did not dress for 3-1 loss to Werder Bremen. Given that Sanneh has already signed a contract with Nuerenberg for next season, it is likely he will not be seen again in a Hertha uniform.
Defender Frankie Hedjuk (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany) - Continues not to dress for the first team.
Forward Jovan Kirovski (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal) - Did not dress in 2-0 defeat to Leiria.
Goalkeeper Jonny Walker (Universidad Catolica, Chile) - Suffering a minor shoulder injury, did not play in 2-1 decision over Huachipato.
Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Christopher Courtney is an American living in Wuerzburg, Germany, where he follows the fortunes of American players in Europe. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Willy Calderon, an American living in Bristol, England, writes about soccer for various publications and netzines and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keith Richardson is an American living in Vilseck, Germany where he follows Americans playing in Germany. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com. Mark Flannery is an American teaching English in France and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robert B. Lane, Jr., is an American residing in Barcelona from where he follows Spanish soccer. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.