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Americans Abroad

For Brad Friedel, two shutouts in two days over two continents.

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, March 5, 2001) -- Few top Americans played in Europe this past weekend with some United States national-team members in California to play Brazil Saturday and others too banged up to compete after Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier with Mexico match in Columbus, Ohio.

Goalkeeper Brad Friedel was one who made it back. Strong in the 2-0 U.S. victory over Mexico, earned another shutout for Blackburn Rovers who blanked West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in England’s first division. Friedel, who has recorded seven clean sheets in his last 10 outings in England, did not have a lot to do, but came through with one stellar save at the 60-minute mark when Rovers failed to properly execute an offside trap. Bob Taylor went in alone, but Friedel stopped West Brom’s only shot on goal for the day.

Blackburn trails second-place Bolton by two points with two matches in hand. Bolton drew 1-1 with league-leading Fulham. The top two finishers are promoted to the Premier League with the next four in the standings play off for a third promotion spot.

American midfielder Eddie Lewis, out of favor in the U.S. camp and at Fulham, did not dress for the Bolton showdown.

Midfielder Claudio Reyna, who strained a groin muscle in the U.S. victory over Mexico, could only watch when Glasgow Rangers defeated Hearts 2-0 in Scotland.

Striker Joe-Max Moore came out in the late stages of the win over against Mexico with a mild calf strain. It tightened up on his on the return to England and he did not suit up for Everton’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United.

Striker Brian McBride remained in Columbus for treatment of his badly bruised eye, courtesy of a Mexican defender’s head, thus did not see Preston North End defeat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the British first division.

U.S. defender Greg Berhalter did not dress for Palace because of the combination of a sore leg and the last-minute loan signing by Palace of two young defenders: Arsenal’s Matthew Upson and Ipswich Town’s Amir Karic.

Midfielder Ben Olsen did not dress for either U.S. match, but stopped off in Washington, D.C. before heading back to Nottingham Forest to have his two sore ankles and strained hamstrings examined by on D.C. United doctors. Olsen is doubtful for Forest’s midweek match and surgery could be in his future

In Spain, U.S. keeper Kasey Keller did not play badly, but there was little he could do for Rayo Vallecano which fell 2-0 to Real Sociedad. Keller came up big early, making a terrific saves on Xavi Alonso and Llorente.

Then, the Rayo defense colpapsed. In the 43rd minute, Llorente was left unmarked and the young striker broke in alone on Keller and scored. In the 72nd minute, substitute Oscar De Paula pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and put past a diving Keller.

The second division’s Racing de Ferrol, which refused to allow striker Ante Razov to remain with the U.S. for Saturday’s Brazil match, went the full 90 minutes for Racing which came up short against Atletico Madrid 2-0. In a tense, foul-filled affair with two red cards, the home side Racing kept close until succumbing to goals in the 83rd and 90th minutes.

According to Spanish media reports Razov had four good chances in the match, but twice shot wide and twice was saved by the keeper. Racing is just a step above relegation territory in the tightly-bunch bottom of the second division.

In France, Metz, with U.S. left back David Regis, defeated St.Etienne 3-0, a match of great importance to two teams fighting to avoid relegation. Metz opened the scoring in the fourth minute, but St. Etienne responded with heavy pressure, first hitting a post and then missing a penalty kick.

The defense, with Regis in a key role, withstood the pressure until Metz pulled away with goals by substitute Jager in the 77th and 85th minutes.

Metz entered the match three points ahead of St. Etienne, and with the victory is now five points ahead of Toulouse and the relegation zone.

In the Netherlands, U.S. midfielder Earnie Stewart, two days after playing for the U.S. against Mexico in Ohio, went the full 90 minutes Friday night for NAC Breda which drew 0-0 with RKC Waalwijk. Neither team showed much offense in the match as both seemed content to take away a point and remain comfortably in the middle of the table.

Midfielder John O’Brien is still trying regain a spot on Ajax’ first team. He played in a reserve team match last week and is expected to do so again this week, but did not dress for the first team which defeated RBC Roosendaal 3-1 on the road.

In Portgual, U.S. midfielder Jovan Kirovski dressed but did not play for Sporting Lisbon which chalked up a 5-2 away decision over Salguiros. Edmilson netted a hat trick for Sporting.

In Germany, American defender Steve Cherundolo had a regrettable outing for Hannover 96 which was on the wrong side of a 3-0 score with Reutlingen. Cherundolo started at left midfield, but was pulled after 38 minute following an ill-advised backpass, intercepted by striker Diappa for an easy score.

VFL Osnabruck with American defensive midfielder Joe Enochs still has yet to lose in the second half of the season, but remains in the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw with SSV Ulm after taking the lead on a Wolfgang Schutte goal.

Enochs nearly set up teammate Antoine Hey with a nice through ball to go one-on-one with the keeper, but Hey was called offside. In a familiar story, the VFLers could not hold the lead but earned their second straight point on the road.

1860 Munich reserves' American striker Taylor Twellman started and scored in his third straight match to give his team a 1-0 lead in an eventual 1-1 draw against SVW Burghausen.

Darmstadt 98 and former U.S. national teamer David Wagner continued to quietly climb the table and is now in fourth place in the German D3 South after a 0-0 draw at Karlsruhe. Team captain Wagner went the distance and nearly scored as the first half ended, but his shot was saved by keeper Thomas Walter.

Another former member of the U.S. national team, midfielder Michael Mason went the first 77 minutes for Carl Zeiss Jena in a 1-0 home loss to Eintracht Trier.

With 20-year old American Grover Gibson going the whole way, SV Elversberg tied guests SC Pfullendorf 1-1. As for the other Elversberg Americans, Brent Goulet is recovering from surgery and Tim Lawson did not play.

American forward Jacob Thomas’ Eintract Braunschweig had the week off while Borussia Dortmund reserve Conor Casey continued to serve an extended suspension.

Long Island native Carlo Espinosa played the full 90 minutes for the fourth division Karlsruhe reserves in a 1-0 win over SpVgg Iller.

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. Robert B. Lane, Jr., is an American residing in Barcelona from where he follows Spanish soccer. He can be e-mailed at lanedogg@excite.com.

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