Regis, Friedel, Stewart, Reyna are among U.S. standouts overseas.By 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 16, 2001) – With United States defender David Regis leading the way, Metz won twice this week, all but eliminating the possibility it will be demoted from France’s first division.
Midweek, Metz defeated RC Strasbourg 1-0 in a match previously postponed because of weather. Regis was the best player on the field, starting the sequence on the one goal and consistently clearing balls virtually without error. He also blistered a shot that was barely saved.
On Saturday, Regis again had a stellar afternoon, helping Metz came from behind with three second half goals, two in the final five minutes, to defeat Guingamp 3-1.
With the score tied 1-1, Guingamp’s Blaise Kouassi’s was sent off in the 69th minute, but Metz was also reduced to 10 men eight minutes later when midfielder Gunter van Handenhoven was ejected with his second yellow card.
Metz pushed forward and found net in the 84th and 90th minutes for the win.
Regis played on the left side of a 3-5-2 formation add shut down Guingamp until his expulsion while also pushing the attack up the flank late in the match.
In England’s first division, American goalkeeper Brad Friedel did not allow a goal in two matches for Blackburn Rovers. With a victory and draw, Rovers remained three points ahead of Bolton Wanderers, which also had a win and tie, in the dogfight for second place and its attendant promotion to the Premier League. Four matches remain in the season.
This afternoon, in front of a national television audience, Rovers blanked Huddersfield Town 2-0 at home in a packed stadium. Rovers kept Town off balance and controlled the run of play throughout.
Friedel was a bit lucky early when a bullet left-foot volley from Craig Armstrong had him beaten, but bounced off the inside of the post. After that, Friedel had little to do except snag a dangerous corner kick in the 84th ,minute.
On Saturday, Blackburn could do no better than 0-0 on its trip to lowly Stockport which is in danger of demotion.
In the 14th minute, Stockport’s Shefki Kuqi drilled a free kick through the wall and Friedel had to be alert to smother the ball. Minutes later, Freidel scampered across his goal mouth to watch Leo Roget's solid header sail just wide.
In the second half, Friedel came out to cut down the angle and force Glynn Hurst to send his open shot wide.
Bolton was unable to make up any ground over the weekend after a 2-2 draw with Birmingham Friday and a 2-0 whitewash of Crystal Palace today.
In the Premiership, Everton’s American striker Joe-Max Moore finally seemed to be recovered from his calf injury when he came off the bench Saturday in the 84th minute and seemed to run freely in his struggling club’s 2-1 setback to Aston Villa.
Today, however, Moore was back in street clothes against Liverpool, his calf aggravated enough to have manager Walter Smith not chance playing him.
Back in the first division, American keeper Marcus Hahnemann made his first start of the season for Fulham, which, using many reserves, scored in injury time to tie Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 today to clinch the league title. Promotion to the Premiership had previously been assured.
The match was completely one-sided with Fulham out shooting Wednesday 17-4. Wednesday’s only real attempt on net resulted in its goal just before intermission. Hahnemann failed to clear Gerald Sibon's in-swinging corner kick. His punch hit Wednesday’s Trond-Egil Soltvedt and went in.
On Saturday, Hahnemann watched from his usual spot on the bench as Fulham’s two late goals defeated Huddersfield 2-1.
Striker Stern John, formerly of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, has finally come back from a long rehabilitation after knee surgery. Today, he notched his first goal of the season to power Nottingham Forest to a 1-0 decision over Stockport, keeping Forest’s hopes alive of finishing in sixth place or better to get into the four-team playoff for the third promotion to the Premiership.
MLS’s D.C. United is watching closely because Forest’s ability to pay a multimillion-dollar transfer fee for midfielder Ben Olsen probably rests on the club’s ability to be promoted.
In Scotland, Glasgow Rangers moved closer to salvaging something from their disappointment season with a 2-1 midweek triumph over Kilmarnock, Ranger are nine points clear of third-place Hibernian; holding second place in the Scottish League means an invitation into the next Champions League competition.
U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna was strong for 90 minutes, playing more offensively than usual and assisting one of Tore Andre Flo’s two first-half goals with a corner kick.
Rangers were off this weekend of Scottish Cup semifinals having been eliminated in the quarters.
In the Netherlands, U.S. midfielder Earnie Stewart assisted the tying goal then scored the winner for NAC Breda which came from behind to surprise Willem II 3-1
Stewart made a spirited contribution throughout. After a scoreless, defensive first half, Willem went ahead with a goal soon after the break, but NAC equalized in the 63rd minute on a goal by Rob Penders set up by a lovely pass from Stewart.
Then in the 81st minute, with Willen desperately attacking, Stewart took off on a long solo run and scored to provide a 2-1 advantage. NAC had insurance with a tally in the 86th minute.
In Spain, U.S. keeper Kasey Keller let in a goal in the fifth minute, bit was otherwise effective, allowing Rayo Vallecano to go to Andalucial and record a 1-1 tie with Malaga, a club fighting for a place in the UEFA Cup competition next season.
Joaquim Agostinho raced down the left flank and crossed to the center of Rayo’s penalty area where an unmarked Uruguayan striker Debray Dario Silva collected and slotted his shot under the hard-charging Keller for a 1-0 lead.
Michael Sanchez pulled Rayo even at 1-1 in the 20th minute.
In the second division, U.S. striker Ante Razov was at his best, netting a goal in the 83rd minute to give Racing de Ferrol a 1-1 draw with Murcia. Murcia, which went ahead 1-0 in the first half on a penalty kick, was reduced to 10 men when Raul Torres was sent off after intermission. Despite applying consistent pressure, Racing did not get on the board until Razov one-timed a Jordi cross home.
Razov nearly won the game in extra time, but his weak shot was cleared off the goal line by a defender. Racing is two points above the relegation zone with eight matches left to play.
In Germany, American midfielder\defender Frankie Hejduk will probably get a rare chance to play for Bayer Leverkusen this week against Hamburger SV after a woeful performance of Leverkusen’s entire right side in this weekend’s 3-1 home loss to Freiburg,
Hejduk is expected to supplant right defender Boris Zivkovic, who was responsible for at least one Freiburg goal.
"I just keep working hard in practice and wait for my chances to come," the Cardiff, Calif., native said.
Leverkusen, with 49 points, is one of six teams still in the running for the Bundesliga title, but not if it does not correct its defensive problems.
With American defensive midfielder Joe Enochs being his usual disruptive self, VFL Osnabruck climbed out of the Second Bundeliga’s relegation zone behind with a 2-1 triumph over Nuernberg after Christian Classen netted his second goal in the 90th minute at home tonight
With Nuernberg missing several key players and Osnabruck on a hot streak, the VFLers went on top early on a Classen goal in 11th minute. The game then regressed into a midfield battle of kick and run with few effective chances by either side until Nuernberg earned a free kick just outside the penalty area. Kyrnoviak blasted the ball through a hole in the VFL wall to even the score at 1-1.
Enochs was in his normal role containing the Nuernberg playmaking midfielder and disrupting the middle as both teams fell into a continuous midfield scrum. Nuernberg keeper Andy Koepke was red carded from the game shortly before the first half ended when he handled the ball outside of his box as the last man attempting to stop a streaking Daniel Thioune.
In the second half, Enochs pushed forward sending several good through balls to spring Ansgar Brinkman loose on the left side.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo returned to Hannover 96 where he started at right back, his natural position, for the first time in recent months. Hannover wasted a two-goal lead and fell 4-2 toFSV Mainz at home.
Hannover’s two tallies came in the opening 20 minutes. After the score was tied at 2-2, Cherundolo was moved into center midfield to direct the attack, but the tide had turned and Mainz swept to victory.
Cherundolo told SoccerTimes his recent time with the U.S. national team "was great and a real confidence booster. When your club team is struggling and not doing well, going to a U.S. camp situation and beating Honduras is very refreshing."
After the match, Cherundolo was nursing a swollen right ankle from being kicked, but he is expected to be ready to start against Arminia Bielefeld before returning to the U.S. to join the American men for their April 25 World Cup qualifier versus Costa Rica.
Seattle area native Tim Lawson started for the second consecutive week at center midfield for Elversberg. This week, he led the team to a 2-1 win over Rot-Weiss Erfurt., Fellow American Grover Gibson is in the midst of a four-game suspension from a dubious hard foul call one month ago. Brent Goulet continues his rehabilitation after surgery and worked on a treadmill this week.
Elversberg, after leading the German Regionalliga Sud (D3 South) early in the season, has slumped and is now in the midst of a shakeup. English coach Neale Marmon has stepped down and the club president has asked several older players to leave the club. The American trio. However, is expected to be re-signed for next season as the Saarland club makes another run for promotion to the Second Bundesliga.
American Taylor Twellman might be on the move. At 1860 Munich, reserves coach Harmut Schade was fired and Peter Pacult has stepped in to finish the season. Twellman, who has started recently for the reserves, has drawn the interest of several European clubs.
This week, the reserves dropped a 2-0 decision to Mannheim reserves and are close to relegation to the Bayernliga (fourth division). Ten points in the final seven outings probably are needed to avoid demotion.
Former U.S. international David Wagner captained Darmstadt 98 which lost 1-0 to Trier, leaving the club six points shy of the promotion.
Eintract Braunschweig and American striker Jacob Thomas continue their disappointing slide down the table after spending 10 weeks in the promotion zone
American forward Conor Casey continues to perform well for the Borussia Dortmund’s reserve side and with a goal in a 2-1 victory over fifth-place Vfb Luebeck helped his team escape the Regionalliga Nord (D3 North) cellar. It was the club’s first win in eight games and only the fourth of the season, leaving relegation to the fourth division imminent unless there is a remarkable turnaround in the final seven matches.
In Chile, Universidad Catolica’s American goalkeeper Jonny Walker was resting his injured shoulder in preparation for next week’s big match against Universidad de Chile when he was suddenly called to emergency service this weekend against Rangers. Three minutes into the match, backup keeper Daniel Burgos collided heads with a Rangers player and was forced out with a badly cut eyebrow. Walker came on and played well in a 0-0 draw, making a half dozen strong saves.
In Israel, American attacker Hamisi Amani-Dove went 90 minutes before being replaced in injury time of Hapoel Tsafririm Holon’s 2-0 loss to Hapoel Tel-Aviv.
In Croatia, Eakovac’s American Erik Kuster was out all week with the flu, but still traveled with his team to a 1-0 loss to Hrvatski Dragovoljac. Because of several injuries and yellow card accumulations, the team needed to bring along a weakened Kuster, who sat on the bench. In his last outing, Kuster started in a 2-0 win over Sibenik.
FC Lucerne’s American Melchior Arnold is starting at defensive midfield as the club is battling to stay in Switzerland’s first division. His contract is up in June and several clubs are rumore dto have made offers.
Riding the Pine
Forward Eddie Lewis (Fulham, England) - Did not dress for either the Sheffield Wednesday or the Huddersfield matches this week.
Defender Gregg Berhalter (Crystal Palace, England - Was dressed and on the bench, but did not play either in 2-0 loss to Bolton on Monday or 4-1 setback to Sheffield Wednesday over the weekend.
Midfielder John O’Brien (Ajax, Netherlands) - Still not dressing, but watched from the stands as Ajax lost ground in a 1-1 draw with Roda JC.
Midfielder Tony Sanneh (Hertha Berlin, Germany) - Out of favor because of his signing with another team for next season and his U.S. international obligations, Sanneh remained in limbo as Hertha kept its league championship hopes alive by defeating Borussia Dortmund, 1-0. Hertha is one of four teams tied for third place in the tightly bunched Bundesliga, one point behind Bayer Munich and three points behind league-leading Schalke.
Forward Jovan Kirovski (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal) - Remains injured and was not available for 1-0 defeat of Amadora.
Also contributing to this report was Eyal Shabati in Israel.
Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Willy Calderon, an American living in Bristol, England, writes about soccer for various publications and netzines and can be contacted at email@example.com. Keith Richardson is an American living in Vilseck, Germany where he follows Americans playing in Germany. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark Flannery is an American teaching English in France and can be e-mailed at email@example.com. Robert B. Lane, Jr., is an American residing in Barcelona from where he follows Spanish soccer. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.