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Watford, Leeds lose ground in their pursuit of promotion.

Keller's strong game helps G'ladbach post 2-1 win over Dortmund.

McBride can't help Fulham from falling 3-1 to Portsmouth; Bocanegra ails.

Cherundolo could be leaving Germany for EPL's Bolton.

Casey scores first goal of season, FSV Mainz draws Hertha 2-2.

Friedel, Blackburn edge Sunderland 1-0, continue to rise in Premier League.

Convey, Hahnemann help Reading draw with Leicester, secure promotion.

Reyna is out 3-4 weeks with shoulder injury; Beasley is hurt.

DeMerit aids Watford climb to third in English League Championship.

Convey goal allows Reading to draw 1-1 with Wolverhampton.

With ailing McBride going 90 minutes, Fulham snaps losing streak, stuns Arsenal 1-0.

Cherundolo's chip helps Hannover 96 to 1-0 win over Colgne.

Friedel makes six saves, Blackburn blanks Aston Villa 2-0.

Lewis goal in 90th minute gives Leeds 2-2 draw with Norwich.

Onyewu must sit out key game for Standard against Anderlecht.

Reyna returns from layoff for Man. City's 2-1 decision over Sunderland.

Convey scores early, Reading rolls to 3-0 win over Burnley.

Reyna returns to action, playing in Manchester City reserves' win.

Lewis nets decisive tally for Leeds in 2-1 decision over Luton.

Americans Abroad

McBride goal and possible Fulham road win wash away.

By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
SoccerTimes

(Sunday, April 9, 2006) -- After Brian McBride scored an early goal, Fulham looked like it just might win its first road match of the year. However, Mother Nature intervened yesterday and the game was abandoned in the 21st minute because of heavy snow and a frozen field.

After consulting both teams' managers, referee Mike Riley called a halt to the English Premier League proceedings after an hour of rain and snow lashed the Stadium of Light and overwhelmed the field's heating system.

With bottom-dwelling Sunderland likely to be doomed to relegation as early as next weekend and with Fulham nearing safety from demotion, the match will probably not be replayed. This would be unfortunate for Fulham, which is the only club in England's top five professional leagues without a victory away from home this season at 0-13-4. The Cottagers would certainly like to erase the goose egg, but have only one other road game on the schedule, a season-ending trip April 29 to Manchester City

McBride put away a cross from Steed Malbranque in the ninth minute, but his tally will be erased from the record books. Fulham remained in 16th place at 10-17-6 with 36 points.

While the heavy snow and icy rain in northeast England forced the game at Sunderland to be called off, sunshine and a spring day could by found far to the south in London where Tottenham Hotspur defeated visiting Manchester City 2-1.

U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna returned to action for City (12-17-4, 40 points) after missing two weeks with a dislocated shoulder, but could not help his team avoid a fifth straight loss, fourth in league play. While it remained tied for 13th place with Middlesbrough (11-17-4), which owns a game in hand, City at least turned in an improved effort over recent weeks.

Manager Stuart Pearce juggled his lineup trying to get a better defensive performance effort and to make up for injured midfielder Joey Barton. He inserted Reyna on the left side of midfield, while playing Kiki Musampa and 17-year-old Micah Richards in the middle where Reyna and Barton normally play.

Spurs dominated the first half. Reyna went up and down his flank, often dropping deep into defense. City survived an awful gaffe that left Spurs with a wide-open net, only to miss the target, while goalkeeper David James, the England international, was spectacular in stopping a half-dozen Tottenham shots on the afternoon and keeping his team in the match.

James was beaten late in the first half on a rebound shot by Paul Stalteri in the 44th minute and by Michael Carrick in the 49th. Georgios Samaras narrowed the City deficit to 2-1 in the 52nd minute and James kept the match close after that.

In the 60th minute, Reyna moved from the left side to the right when left-footed Albert Riera entered for City. Twice in the next 10 minutes Reyna sent nice crosses into the penalty area, but his teammates wasted the opportunities.

Reyna was replaced by tall Frenchman Antoine Sibierski in the 79th minute as City tried to put another attacker in the box. When Reyna exited, Pearce gave him a big pat on the back, inadvertently in the area of his sore shoulder.

Blackburn Rovers' pursuit of a place in the European competitions next season continues, thanks in part to some late heroics from American keeper Brad Friedel in a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Portsmouth.

Twice, Rovers went ahead on Craig Bellamy goals and twice the home team came back to tie. In stoppage time, Friedel first blocked Dejan Stefanovic's shot from just inside the area, then stopped the follow-up header.

Friedel had 10 saves on a day in which Portsmouth dominated the action. Still, Rovers nearly won twice in stoppage time. Morten Gamst Pedersen just failed to reach the goal-line after taking a cross from Bellamy. Then, Brett Emerton's apparent goal from Robbie Savage's free kick was disallowed for a hand-ball.

With five matches remaining in the EPL season, Blackburn (15-11-6, 54 points) took over fifth place, one point ahead of Arsenal (16-11-5), which dropped a 2-0 decision to Manchester United. Arsenal, however, has a game in hand.

Both clubs are close to securing spots in next season to Europe's second-tier UEFA Cup. A bigger prize looms. Rovers trail fourth-place Tottenham (16-7-10) by four points. If Blackburn or Arsenal can overtake Hotspur, they would enter the play-in round of Europe's top competition, the Champions League. Teams that fail to qualify in the play-in, drop back into the UEFA Cup.

U.S. defender Jonathan Spector went the distance for Charlton Athletic which fought to a 0-0 draw with Everton, Charlton's fifth scoreless draw in its last eight matches.

It was something of a tumultuous week at Charlton with manager Alan Curbishley saying he will have to think hard in deciding whether he wants to come back next season. Then, facing four matches in 10 days with a rash of injuries, he made five lineup changes for Everton, in part to save players for Wednesday night's FA Cup quarterfinal replay at Middlesbrough.

Another of the changes was necessitated by the loss of Luke Young to an ankle injury that might rule him out of the England's World Cup squad.

The match with Everton was an even affair with both sides having a few good chances, but coming up empty. Spector was strong in back.

"I was pleased to see Jonathan Spector do well at right back (and have) the chance to start today," Curbishley said.

Charlton (12-13-8, 44 points) is in 12th place, but only four points below seventh, which could bring a UEFA Cup invitation, depending on the who wins the FA Cup. Should Charlton win the FA Cup, it would also qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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