DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Even though Germans don't celebrate Labor Day by habit, the international break did provide some respite from the just-underway league season for players in the top three leagues not representing their respective countries in international play.
Sadly, most players were unable to plan a weekend at the lake as a number of friendlies, benefit games and local cup rounds kept most Americans in Germany - including a pair just beginning their tenure with new teams - busy and focused on the game.
Perhaps the most publicized successful move by any American during the summer 2010 transfer window was that of DaMarcus Beasley to the team captained by his international teammate Steve Cherundolo.
Even though he has yet to have the opportunity to suit up for any official Bundesliga contests, a trio of friendlies saw the former Glasgow Rangers man giving a hint of what Hannover is hoping he will provide for the season.
The team first faced lower-division local team HSC Hannover on Tuesday, just one day following his signing, with Beasley providing an assist in one half of play in the 4-0 win and Hannover captain Cherundolo also playing the first 45 minutes to contribute to the shut-out.
Two days later, both Hannover yanks again started in the team's 5-1 win over TSV Havelese, with Cherundolo playing the first 45 and Beasley coming off the field after one hour.
The real fireworks were saved for Saturday night, however, as the team faced off against Czech top-flight visitors Mlada Boleslav.
Cherundolo went the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 win, however the newest Red stole the show, netting the team's first goal in the 17th minute to leave fans and team management looking forward to his upcoming league performances.
Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Ricardo Clark also benefitted from the break, making his return from a minor knee sprain to play the full 90 minutes in the team's 3-1 win on Friday evening over minnows RSV 1920 Würges.
While his lack of play so far this season with Frankfurt possibly signals a long season of largely bench duty for Eintracht, the 90-minute run on Friday does show that at least injuries shouldn't be standing in his way.
Having spurned (or been spurned by) the Deutsche Nationalmannschaft, Jermaine Jones had the time to play his usual stopper role for Schalke in their 4-0 exhibition loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night. Ouch. It was was just a friendly, right?
Possibly the hardest working American on two legs, Michael Bradley got a much-needed break from his neverending relentless schedule, as he was allowed to rest in lieu of playing in Borussia Mönchengladbach's 3-0 exhibition win at Ahlen.
This game still comes on our radar, however, as brand new Ahlen striker Matt Taylor, formerly of FSV Frankfurt although more remembered for his heroics the season before at Koblenz, was a starter for his new team.
While Ahlen were ultimately shut out by a 3-0 scoreline, Taylor showed some of his attacking prowess, setting up teammate Sebastian Ghasemi-Nobakht for a clear chance in the early minutes that was ultimately scuffed.
Taylor's competitive debut for the 3. Liga team had actually come two days prior in a local cup game at lower-league team Borussia Emsdetten.
Ahlen easily won the match by a 5-1 scoreline to advance to a third-round matchup with Preussen Münster, with Taylor playing the full game and setting up the team's fourth goal by Christian Knappmann in the 38th minute.
Closing out the slate of friendlies for Americans in Germany was a 4-0 win by MSV Duisburg over third-division Kickers Offenbach and a 11-1 rout by Karlsruher SC over SV Oberschopfheim, with American keepers David Yelldell and Luis Robles maning the nets to get the wins for their respective teams.
Robles could have one more opportunity to take the field before likely resuming a backup role to Kristian Nicht for the time being, as KSC will take on the second team of 3. Liga Stuttgart Kickers this coming Wednesday.