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Americans Abroad

McBride finally finds net in an overall strong performance for Preston; Olsen takes on Friedel.

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

(Monday, February 12, 2001) -- United States striker Brian McBride turned in his best performance in England, including scoring his first goal for Preston North End which rolled over Queens Park Rangers 5-0 in the first division.

In addition to debuting on the score sheet, McBride's was continually on both ends of serious scoring threats.

"It was nice to get a goal at last," McBride said. "It was a bit of a combination, with some good play from David [Healy]. I made a run to the near post and got a good foot on it. There was definitely some relief and it was good to celebrate with the other forwards. The three forwards formation has been a good situation for us. It is all starting to click now and we are enjoying it."

The match started off innocently enough with both squads having their chances. In particular, McBride was unlucky in the eighth minute when his rebound shot off Jon Macken's header hit the post. Continuing on the attack, McBride's flicked headers and smooth passes were leaving his teammates clear on goal, but they failed capitalize.

In the 24th minute, McBride found space in the 18-yard box and cracked a good shot, but Rangers goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko somehow saved it. A few minutes later, Miklosko again denied McBride's hard volley on goal. In the 51st minute, Preston finally got on the board the floodgates opened.

In the 64th minute Preston's Gary Parkinson found McBride just to the right of goal, but his timing was off and the muffed shot proved little threat. Three minutes later, however, he smacked home a wonderful half-volley for a 3-0 advantage.

In a first-division match between American national teammates, Nottingham Forest, with Ben Olsen on the wing, recorded a 2-1 decision over Blackburn Rovers with Brad Friedel in goal.

Forest welcomed the return of Olsen who sat out last week awaiting a renewal of his temporary work permit. Despite the rest of the Forest squad appearing unmotivated in attack, Olsen provided some good efforts up front.

Friedel could not be faulted on either goal, a well-struck free kick by Chris Bart-Williams and then an easy Christian Edwards header off a dead-on Bart Williams free kick that eluded the Rovers defense for a 2-0 lead.

Olsen made some good passes throughout the match and found his teammates open on a few occasions.

U.S. striker Joe-Max Moore played the final 10 minutes for Everton which grabbed its first home Premier League victory since November, outplaying high-flying Leicester City to win 2-1.

Moore was asked to play defense for much of his short appearance with Leicester pushing forward attempting to level the score.

Moore was handed a yellow card in injury time for unsporting behavior because he delayed a Leicester restart.

American midfielder Eddie Lewis put together back-to-back hat tricks for Fulham’s reserve team. For the second week in a row, the American winger scored three goals to spark a Fulham rout. Wednesday, it was a 5-1 triumph over Oxford United’s reserves 5-1, a week after a 6-0 trouncing of Swindon.

American Marcus Hahnemann was in goal for Fulham against Oxford, but did not play against Swindon.

Lewis performaces were not enough to get him onto the first team. He did not dress for Fulham’s 0-0 draw with Barnsley, a match that saw Hahnemann dressed and on the bench.

American keeper Juergen Sommer joined the first division’s Bolton Wanderers on a non-contract basis. The former Columbus Crew and Indiana University keeper , who has played for Luton and Queens Park Rangers in England, answered a plea from Bolton manager Sam Allardyce, who has first choice keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen injured and backup Steve Banks suspended for Saturday’s fifth-round FA Cup match against Blackburn Rovers.

"Jurgen is a highly experienced goalkeeper, and an imposing player in the box," Allardyce said. "I am sure he will do a good job for us and I am grateful to him for agreeing to come over at such short notice,"

This weekend, Banks played and Sommer was on the bench when Bolton drew 2-2 with Huddersfield. If, as expected, Sommer starts against Blackburn in the Cup, the match will feature the oddity of two Americans facing off in goal, with Friedel playing for Rovers.

The Scottish Football Association said U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna was officially given two red cards, not three, after Friday’s outburst at the end of a 3-1 CIS League Cup loss to Celtic.

Reyna was assessed a red card for his second yellow for his foul against Celtic’s Bobby Petta in the 90th minute. Then in the ensuing pushing and shoving, which saw two Celtic players expelled, Reyna was assessed a post-match red card for striking Celtic’s Neil Lennon. He was called to the officials room to be told of his second red and got into a heated argument with referee Willie Young.

It was widely reported that he was assessed a third red verbal abuse of Young. This would have carried an automatic stiff fine, a possible suspension and would have put Reyna within one yellow card of an automatic two-match suspension for accumulated cards. He was not, however, assessed a third red.

According to the SFA, no actual card was issued by Young for Reyna's dissent in the officials room. Rather, the incident was put "on his record," meaning no points or suspension were attached, but the matter was noted should he have future disciplinary problems.

In Spain, American Kasey Keller was again in goal for Rayo Vallecano despite being hammered last week's disastrous 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Zaragoza. This week, Rayo got lucky and pieced together a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Osasuna on the strength of an own goal and an injury-time free kick.

It was a foul-filled affair that saw seven yellow cards and Rayo playing the final 20 minutes a man down after defender Ramon De Quintana received his second yellow. In the 77th minute Keller survived a missed penalty kick by Rosado who lifted his shot just over the crossbar. It looked like a draw was inevitable until Rayo substitute Luis Cembranos curled in an unstoppable free kick in injury time.

There was no scoring spree this week for American striker Ante Razov withhis Racing de Ferrol losing 1-0 to Betis. Coming off his three goals last week, Razov had several good chances but could not produce a goal on a solid Betis defense.

In Germany, only one American played in the Bundesliga with midfielder Tony Sanneh starting and going 56 minutes for Hertha Berlin which, playing without stars Stephan Beinlich and Sebastian Deisler, was badly beaten 3-1 by a determined Wolfsburg. The entire Berlin team, including Sanneh playing at right midfield, looked lethargic and ineffective.

Sanneh did not lose possession and won all of his headers but, along with his teammates, failed to produce any dangerous chances on the goal until late in the game. Sanneh was replaced in the 56th minute and was openly berated by coach Juergen Roeber on the sideline.

While Sanneh was certainly not at his best, he was the least of Hertha’s problems in the match. It appears Sanneh is fast becoming Roeber’s scapegoat for the team’s failings. The bottom line: Hertha remains in fifth place with 34 points.

Sanneh is still negotiating with Hertha and a few undisclosed teams for the 2001-02 season and plans to make a final decision after returning from the U.S. World Cup qualifier against Mexico February 28.

American striker Landon Donovan finally will get a chance with Bayer Leverkusen’s first squad. He is set to start for a mixed first team\reserve squad side which will play the Germany’s under-21s in an exhibition.

Neither Donovan nor U.S. midfielder Frankie Hejduk dressed for the Colgone Derby between 1FC Cologne and suburban Leverkusen.

Hannover 96 reversed its recent goal scoring drought and ended a six game winless streak with a 3-0 win over Saarbrucken. American Steve Cherundolo, still playing at left midfield, registered another 90 quality minutes. "It feels great to get the win. We were under a lot of pressure after not winning in our last six, so it’s a feeling of relief. We deserved the win since we played well together and finally started putting the ball into the back of the net," Cherundolo told SoccerTimes.

Cherundolo will join the U.S. the day before its February 28 qualifier against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio."Right now they want me in camp on the 20th, but my coach wants me to stay until the end of our match on the 23rd," he said. "We’ll see what gets worked out."

VFL Osnabruck is on another kind of streak. After starting out the season flat, the men in purple are 3-0-1 in their last four matches. This weekend, with American defensive midfielder Joe Enochs out because of yellow card accumulation, Osnabruck won again over Chemnitz with Enochs there to support his teammates. He returns to action next week against Saarbrucken.

With the German D3 North in full swing and the D3 South still two weeks from starting, American striker Conor Casey scored his first goal and earned his first red card in German soccer. He started for the Borussia Dortmund reserves in a 3-1 loss to Fortuna Dusseldorf, scoring his team’s only goal in the 66th minute. Nine minutes later, Casey and a defender were competing for a 50-50 ball in the air when Casey’s boot connected with the defender’s thigh for which he was ejected. The extent of his penalty is being reviewed.

"Its going good here and I’m just getting settled in," Casey told SoccerTimes. "Dortmund is a big town and there is lots to do. The team treats me well and most of the guys speak English."

Jacob Thomas’ Eintract Braunshweig team continues to lead D3 North in points and attendance. Thomas played a substitute role this week in a 1-1 draw with Luneberger SK.

Least we forget that professional soccer players are also fans, Cherundolo and Casey, former University of Portland and U.S. Olympic teammates met in Dortmund Sunday to attend the Werder Bremen-Dortmund match.

For a brief time, Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew will train at the 1FC Nuernburg facilities and play various teams in Bavaria with 1860 Munich reserve team striker Taylor Twellman one who is excited about playing a MLS team.

The Crew plays the 1860 reserves Sunday with a significant number of American fansgathering at Willie Sachs stadium in Schweinfurt to see the match.

U.S. midfielder Jovan Kirovski has become a 30-minute player for Portuguese giant Sporting Lisbon. For the third match in a row, Kirovski was inserted in the midfield at about the 60th minute with Sporting on its way to a 2-1 loss to Braga on a pair of brilliant goals from Brazilian Ze Roberto. In the late going, Kirovski teamed with Alves Andre Cruz on a give-and-go, but Cruz’s fierce shot was just over the crossbar.

In French League play, it was another solid effort for U.S. defender David Regis in a 3-2 defeat of Bastia.

Regis played the full 90 minutes, issued a yellow card four minutes from the end of the physical match. Two assists were among the products of Regis’ strong outing, one helper coming on a pinpoint through pass. He also saved what looked like a goal on a spectacular clear of a free kick by Bastia.

In the Netherlands, Ajax midfielder John O'Brien is back on the soccer field. For the first time since the American injured his heel in the Summer Olympics last September, O’Brien played in a competitive match for Ajax, playing the first half of a reserve match against NAC Breda.

It is likely he will play several more reserve matches before being considered again for the first team, assuming he fits into the plans of coach Co Adriaanse who was annoyed that O’Brien departed for the Olympics and more disturbed when he returned seriously injured.

In an odd occurrence, U.S. attacker Earnie Stewart started for NAC Breda and was playing well against Twente when a power failure turned out the lights. The match was abandoned with no replay date set.

There are young Americans playing in some strange corners of the world. Shawn Percell, who played in the 1999 NCAA Final Four with Santa Clara, now is playing professionally in Belize for the first-place Belmopan Bandits in the Belize Football League. In his first match, at forward, he assisted on the game winning goal against the league’s second-place team.

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. Keith Richardson is an American living in Vilseck, Germany where he follows Americans playing in Germany. He can be e-mailed at footyfan1@yahoo.com. Mark Flannery is an American teaching English in France and can be e-mailed at flan.overseas@wanadoo.fr.

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