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Americans Abroad

Regis is making most of second chance with French Metz.

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

(Tuesday, January 30, 2001) -- United States defender David Regis continued his amazing rebirth in France, playing perhaps his best match to date for Metz in a 0-0 draw with Sedan.

This was the fourth straight match Regis went the full 90 minutes. He had been playing at right back in a four-man defense, but, with Metz changing to a three-back set, Regis demonstrated his versatility by moving to the left side of the midfield. He successfully handled the responsibility of marking Sedan`s best player, N'Diaye. In the second half, Regis pushed forward into the attack offense, but Metz, despite controlling play, came up empty.

In England, American goalkeeper Brad Friedel had surprisingly little to do for the first divisionís Blackburn which outplayed the Premier Leagueís Derby, but managed only a 0-0 draw in the FA Cupís fourth round.

Blackburn outshot Derby 16-4 with Friedelís only test coming when he easily handled a ferocious free-kick from Horacio Carbonari in the 14th minute. The replay will be held Wednesday, February 7.

Also in the fourth round, the first divisionís Tranmere soundly defeated the Premiershipís Everton 3-0. U.S. striker Joe-Max Moore entered for the second half, but was no more effective than he was ineffective. Tranmere, which stands 21st in the First Division, completely bottled up their Premiership neighbors, and held Moore almost without a quality touch.

U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis played the final 15 minutes of Fulhamís 1-0 loss to Birmingham. Despite some nice playmaking by Lewis and an active attack, Fulham fell short. As usual, American keeper Marcus Hahnemann watched from the bemch.

Also in England, American midfielder\defender John Thorrington, is training and trying out for Huddersfield Town which is fighting relegation from the first division. Last week, he played two-thirds of a training match against non-league Boston Town.

In the Scottish Cupís third round, Glasgow Rangers, just returned from training in Florida, easily handled second-division Brechin, 2-0. U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna played the first 69 minutes before giving way to Rod Wallace. Brechin keeper Derek Soutar made 16 saves with Rangers piling up a 31-4 advantage in shots.

In Spain, American keeper Kasey Keller was victimized by an 86th-minute goal by Romanian striker Gica Craioveanu who gave Villarreal a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, damaging Rayoís hopes of qualifying for European competition next year.

Keller kept Rayo even for most of the match, making perhaps his best save of the year. Javi Garcia ran onto a Craioveanu through ball into the penalty area and rocketed a shot toward the corner only to see Keller tip it away. Keller also made a fine save on defender Unai Bergara, but could not stop Craioveanu one-on-one after he broke free after taking a right-side pass from Jorge Lopez.

Also in Spain, U.S. striker Ante Razov produced another fine match for second division side for Racing de Ferrol in a 1-1 draw with Jaen in the second division. Razov played the full 90 minutes and had a chance to give Racing the victory, but his drive from outside the area in the final minute was turned away by the keeper.

In Germany, the Bundesliga started the second half of the season this weekend with only one American in action this week. Midfielder Tony Sanneh played the last five minutes of Hertha Berlinís emotional 2-1 win at Hamburg SV.

Sanneh was happy to simply play after spending four days in a Spanish hospital with a severe case of stomach flu. After returning to training, he strained a knee tendon which kept him out of training for a few more days. After only a couple days of training, Sanneh was inserted at left back.

Immediately after entering, Sanneh ran down Hamburg winger Roy Praeger who had broken free into the left corner. Sanneh stripped the ball, then was fouled by a frustrated Praeger.

At Bayer Leverkusen, American striker Landon Donovan was absent, playing for the U.S. national team while U.S. midfielder Frankie Hejduk Frankie Hejduk, was surprisingly left off the roster along with Bayerís super-sub Thomas Bdaric, and Nigerian Pascal Ojigwe for a match against VFB Stuttgart.

Recent media speculation has Bayer looking to sell several players, but not Hejdu.

Leverkusenm in fourth place in the Bundesliga, exacted revenge, pounding Stuttgart 4-0 after a 4-1 setback early in the season.

VFL Osnabruck is slowly clawing its way back out of the Second Bundesligaís relegation zone. After failing to regsiter a single point in its first five games, Osnabruck picked up four points from its first two matches of the second half. Saturday, American defensive midfielder Joe Enochs earned good marks from the German press in a 0-0 draw game at third-place Borussia Moenchengladbach. "Itís a long road back but this was a step in the right direction, said Enochs whose side is still in 18th place with a home match against Greuther Fuerth next.

American defender Steve Cherundolo has taken a tour of various positions since his comeback from knee surgery. Normally a right-side defender, he has also played right midfield, left back and, this week, left midfield when he entered at the start of the second half for star Steve Dinzey in a 0-0 draw with Chemnitzer FC.

While Cherundolo was involved in a few late dangerous, but ultimately futile, chances for Hannover which has dropped from in the promotion zone to sixth place.

In the third division, U. S. striker Jacob Thomas helped Eintract Braunschweig, atop German Division 3 North, take another step closer to the Second Bundesliga with a 5-0 demolition of KFC Uerdingen.

At the other end of the table in the German D3 North, Denver native Conor Casey made his debut for Borussia Dortmundís reserve team, starting in a 3-1 decision over Babelsberg. Despite training over the winter break with the first team, Casey is expected to spend much of the spring season with the reserves who have climbed to 17th place but must finish 14th or higher to avoid relegation to the fourth division.

With the German Division 3 South still on break for another week, several teams played friendlies this weekend. Former U.S. midfielder David Wagner scored for Darmstadt 98 in a 3-0 win over FK Pirmasens.

If Karlsruher SC can hold onto first place the D3 South, as expected, American Carlo Espinosa could find himself playing in the Second Bundesliga next year under former German national-teamer Stefan Kuntz.

In Portgual, U.S. midfielder Jovan Kirovski dressed, then watched Acosta score three times to lift Sporting Lisbon over Guimaraes 3-0.

In the Netherlands, American attacker Earnie Stewart watched from the NAC Breda bench a 2-0 defeat to league leader Feyenoord to start the second half.

American Melchior Arnold and his Swiss FC Lucerne teammates are currently training in Venezuela with FC Caracas.

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. Eric Lindon is an American living in Kaiserslautern where he runs an English-language e-mail discussion group for the local team's fans He can be e-mailed at lindon@k-town.de. Mark Flannery is an American teaching English in France and can be e-mailed at flan.overseas@wanadoo.fr.

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