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Reyna pressure helps Sunderland dismiss Rovers, Friedel, in 3-0 triumph; Thorrington returns with pair to lead Huddersfield Town over Peterborough.

Reyna lifts Sunderland to 1-0 win over Everton, capturing his historic meeting with Moore.

Moore scores again off bench, but this time Everton loses; O'Brien finds net in Ajax rout.

Americans Abroad

Keller is outstanding in Hotspurís 1-1 draw with Aston Villa; Berhalter, Kirovski key Crystal Palace 2-1 victory over Bradford City.

Robert Wagman

(Saturday, December 29, 2001) -- On the day United States Kasey Keller made his first English Premier League start for Tottenham Hotspur, American defender Gregg Berhalter chipped in a rare goal and midfielder Jovan Kirovski set up the winner in Crystal Palaceís 2-1 First Division decision over Bradford City.

In the last match before the winter hibernation, Hotspur manager Glenn Hoddle decided to give Keller the nod over regular Neil Sullivan and the American was more than up to the task, turning in an excellent performance in a 1-1 draw before 41,134 at Aston Villa. Only a penalty kick in stoppage time deprived Keller of a clean sheet and Spurs its first victory in their last nine visits to Villa Park.

The match was played at a very high pace with Keller making a string of outstanding saves, starting with one on a long shot from Moroccan Hassan Kachloul in the 11th minute. He then twice stopped Colombian Juan Pablo Angel, the second time in the 37th minute, earning a hard knock that required treatment.

A minute later, Teddy Sheringham put a pass in the path of Les Ferdinandís for his 11th tally of the season gave Spurs a 1-0 lead to carry into the break.

Just after the start of the second half, Keller dove full length to steer a hard shot from Lee Hendrie just wide. He turned aside Hassan Kachloulís free kick in the 52nd minute and, in the 78th minute, he denied Stephen Staunton on a rocket header.

Two minutes later, Keller picked off Darius Vassell's low header.

Halfway through four minutes of injury time, Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel lobbed what appeared to be a harmless ball into the penalty area and defender Darren Anderton was ruled to have handed it. Angel buried the penalty cleanly into a corner to prevent Keller from earning his first league victory.

Hoddle was furious at the amount of stoppage time added, but said, "Keller had a fine match and did very well. We should have come away with three points."

U.S. keeper Brad Friedel was beaten by Benito Carbone from about 30 yards in the 40th minute and Blackburn Rovers dropped their second home match in four days, 1-0 to Derby County.

Twice in the first 25 minutes, Rovers put the ball behind County keeper Martin Poom, but the striker were negated by offside.

U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna and Sunderland had an afternoon to forget in a 5-0 drubbing at Ipswich.

In the 15th minute, Reyna combined with Kevin Phillips on a nice passing play, but the resultant shot was wide. Less than a minute later, Ipswich scored and the rout was on.

Things were almost as bad at Everton which was home, but still was badly outclassed 3-0 by Charlton. American striker Joe-Max Moore went the distance, but Merseysiders were clumsy on offense all afternoon with no exceptions and jeered as they left the Goodison Park pitch.

Moore had chances but was not on target, much to the frustration of the restless home crowd. He hit the woodwork once.

In the First Division, Berhalter gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead en route to a 2-1 victory over Bradford City.

In the 20th minute Berhalter showed he was into the Palace offense when he pushed far upfield and saw his shot go just inches over the crossbar. Then, in the 33rd minute, referee Alan Hall said Bradford's keeper Carl Muggleton had handled the ball outside the area and Berhalter buried the resultant free kick for a 1-0 advantage.

Bradford pulled level at 1-1 just before halftime, but American midfielder Kirovski helped trigger the winning sequence. He combined with striker Trevor Benjamin on a dazzling give-and-go that sent Benjamin in alone for an easy goal in the 46th minute for the winner.

In the Second Division, American midfielder John Thorringtonís hamstring woes reappeared and he left Huddersfield Town's 0-0 draw with Stole in the 29th minute.

On Monday, Thorrington scored twice in Town's 3-1 win over Peterborough, but came out in the 66th minute. He had missed almost the entire month of December with the hamstring pull.

American keeper Marcus Hahnemann recorded his first victory while on loan to Reading in a 2-0 decision over Wrexham. Hahnemann, loaned from Fulham where he is the third keeper, faced nine shots, five on goal, but was not seriously tested.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman compiled and edited this column. He can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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