(Tuesday, February 12, 2008) -- United States midfielder Michael Bradley is on a roll and his seventh goal in six league games proved crucial to Heerenveen's standing in the Dutch Eredivisie. His equalizer early in the second half gave his club a 1-1 road draw with league-leading PSV Eindhoven Saturday before 35,500 at Philipsstadion and a share of second place.
PSV, which entered the match with five straight league victories, went up quickly with a first-minute goal from Otman Bakkal. But the Heerenveen defense tightened and kept things close until the 52nd minute when Bradley took a flick-on from Gerald Sibon and beat goalkeeper Gomes with a hard shot.
Bradley then contributed to a solid defensive effort to defuse PSV's comeback efforts.
Heerenveen (13-6-5, 44 points) is tied with three other clubs for second place, nine points behind PSV (16-3-5).
Friedel gets contract extension, Rovers lose
American goalkeeper Brad Friedel was beaten early and late with Arsenal posting a 2-0 triumph over visiting Blackburn Rovers last night in the English Premier League,
Arsenal went ahead 1-0 on a goal by defender Philippe Senderos in the fourth minute. Emmanuel Adebayor added a tally in stoppage time for the Gunners.
Blackburn entered the match after playing three straight draws and going unbeaten in its last seven (3-0-4), but was missing four starters, including former Major League Soccer standout Ryan Nelsen, out with a hamstring pull.
Blackburn (10-7-9, 39) remained in ninth place, still within striking distance of a place in European competition next season, but only 12 matches remaining to make a move.
Last Tuesday, Friedel signed a one-year contract extension, running his deal through the 2009-2010 season. By the time he completes the contract Friedel will be 39 and having completed 10 years with Rovers. He is the team's longest serving player, having played in 210 league matches since 2000.
"We are delighted Brad has sign a new deal," Blackburn manager Mark Hughes told the media. "He is a credit to himself and his profession. He has a great work ethic, he is a great athlete and there is reason why he can't keep on going. He works extremely hard every day in training and does extra work to enable him to maintain the level that he hits consistently season after season."
Last year everything seemed to go right for Reading, which was newly promoted to the Premier League. The Royals finished their first season in the top division in eighth place, only three points below fifth place and a UEFA Cup berth. Luck, however, hasn't been Reading's friend this season and Saturday's 1-0 setback at Everton sent the Royals skidding into the relegation zone,
Reading applied pressure from the start and forced Everton's U.S. keeper Tim Howard to fully stretch out to stop a first-minute free kick. With Howard's U.S. teammate Marcus Hahnemann looking strong in the Reading net, the match remained even until midway through the second half.
Then, Reading cleared a corner kick, but failed to clear out of its penalty area efficiently. The one lagging defender allowed five Everton players to go in alone on Hahnemann and Phil Jagielka's header back across the goal-mouth left Hahnemann stranded and gave Everton its winning margin.
Bobby Convey was not in attendance. The Reading midfielder who started for the U.S. in Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Mexico in Houston, stayed in the U.S. to have what has become a chronic sore knee examined by the surgeon who operated on it last year.
Everton (14-7-5, 47) remained in fourth place, three points ahead of Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City and clinging to the spot that would earn it a berth in the European Champions League qualifying round next season. Reading (6-16-4, 22) is tied on points with Birmingham City for 17th place, but sits in 18th and the drop zone because its minus-23 goal differential is 10 worse than Birmingham's. With five teams within six points, a couple of victories for either side could give them some breathing room.
Fulham, which employs five Americans, also has had a luckless season and must battle to avoid relegation. None of the quintet started Saturday and the Cottagers fell 1-0 at Middlesbrough Saturday.
Clint Dempsey entered at halftime, while Brian McBride, playing his second game since being injured in the season opener, came on in the 64th minute. Dempsey had one shot go just wide for Fulham's best chance on the afternoon.
U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra and keeper Kasey Keller watched from the bench, while newly-arrived striker Eddie Johnson viewed from the stands.
Fulham (3-13-10, 19) is in 19th place, three points behind Reading.
In 20th place sits Derby County (1-19-6, 9), which did not dress its American midfielder Eddie Lewis for Saturday's 3-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector entered in the 90th minute for West Ham United in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham Saturday. West Ham (10-8-7, 37) is in 10th place.
Pickens joins Queens Park Rangers
In the second-tier English League Championship, goalkeeper Matt Pickens, formerly of MLS's Chicago Fire, has joined Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer.
Pickens spent the month of January on trials with QPR, Norwich City and Preston North End before signing with the London club. His deal is only through the end of the season and he will serve as a backup to Lee Camp. The team says it will re-evaluate Pickens at season's end.
Pickens was on the bench as QPR defeated host Southampton 3-2 Saturday and today when Rangers fell 4-2 to visiting Burnley. QPR (10-13-9) is tied for 16th place.
Watford captain Jay DeMerit will likely be out several weeks with a groin strain and did not play in Watford's 2-1 road win over Ipswich Town or today's 1-0 decision over Leicester City.
Watford leads the second division at 17-8-7 with 58 points, one point better than Bristol City (16-7-9), two ahead of Stoke (15-6-11) and three above West Bromwich Albion (16-9-7).
Ailing Cherundolo starts for Hannover
Despite a sore groin that kept him from joining the U.S. men for Wednesday's draw with Mexico, American defender Steve Cherundolo went 90 minutes for host Hannover 96 in a 2-2 draw with Karlsruhe.
Two goals four minutes apart midway through the second half put Karlsruhe ahead 2-1 and it took a late goal by Jan Rosenthal to allow Hannover to tie.
Hannover (8-6-5, 29) is tied for seventh place with Eintracht Frankfurt and still in the running for a UEFA Cup spot next season.
American midfielder Bryan Arguez was not dressed for Hertha Berlin, which defeated VfB Stuttgart 3-1 on the road.
In the 2Bundesliga, TSV 1860 Munich defeated Kaiserslautern 2-1. Defender Gregg Berhalter went the distance for 1860, while his U.S. teammate Josh Wolff started and played 83 minutes on the front-line.
Munich (8-4-7, 31 points) remains in fourth place in the tightly-bunched standings and still in the hunt for a promotion spot.
In Belgium, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu, back from playing for the U.S. against Mexico Wednesday, played 90 minutes for Standard de Liège, which drew 0-0 with KSV Roeselare