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The Dream Lives On!

Fulham is a victory at Fratton Park next weekend away from completing a great escape after their 2-0 win today over Birmingham. A trademark Brian McBride diving header to finish off a fabulous in-swinging free kick from Jimmy Bullard opened the scoring for the Cottagers, and Erik Nevland sealed it late once again to account for the final scoreline. Kasey Keller continued to prove why he’s become Roy Hodgson’s first choice in goal over Antti Niemi with the clean sheet.

Their third win in four matches propelled Fulham out of the relegation zone (for now, anyway) and into 17th place, as they have a better goal differential than Reading. Both clubs have 33 points, Birmingham is in 19th with 32 points, and obviously each of these three teams have one game to go.

As previously mentioned, Fulham’s game is at a Portsmouth team playing for nothing right now except to stay healthy for the FA Cup final, Birmingham hosts Blackburn in a game that has draw written all over it, and Reading will visit Derby, who will want to bow out of the Premiership with a great performance for their fans. Bolton is playing Sunderland right now, and the Trotters also have 33 points. A victory should mean safety, but a loss would make things hairy for Gary Megson’s team as they aren’t going to get anything against Chelsea next weekend.

There was a terrific atmosphere at Craven Cottage for Fulham’s last home game of the year. Fulham has some of the best fans in the Premiership and it showed today. You can really tell how much that team means to the supporters, and that can’t be said about some other fans and teams in the league.

90 minutes left for Fulham and three points would do the trick. They are playing with so much confidence right now and I really believe they’re going to get the job done at Portsmouth next week.

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  1. Kartik

    May 4, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Yeah it looks like Keller will stick in Europe and Hahnehmann will return to MLS to kick off the Seattle franchise. The irony is KK wanted to come home a few years ago but with no team in the Northwest, he stayed at Gladbach and now is at Fulham.

    McBride is rumored to come back to MLS with the Fire, but I personally think it would be wrong despite his Northern suburb of Chicago background for him to play for someone other than Columbus in MLS.

    EJ is a project and probably a failed one at that. Even in MLS he was only good in spots- generally early in the year or in a few back to back games. He never developed consistency in MLS and hopefully some hard training can help him but I am dubious of it.

    Bobby Convey is out of the national team and about to get relegated and I am not sure anyone besides desperate MLS teams would want him. That having been said with his hometown Philly getting a team in 2010 he can land there.

  2. CFTV

    May 4, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Can you imagine the headlines in the English press, American’s Save Fulham! >>>>>

    That headline was written last year when Dempsey scored the match winner against Liverpool on the last game of the season that saved Fulham from relegation.

    Fulham’s recent revival has not featured Bocanegra in the line upa as he has been all but benched since February having only played in 2 games out the last 13 games that Fulham has been played. I don’t think he has a knock as I am pretty sure its been because of a coaches decision. I really like Boca but I am all but sure he will be shown the door this summer.

    EJ is a project. I doubt they would sell him this summer as I think they will give him a year to get his wet in England before making the call on his future. It is going to be important for him to get a good start next year because maybe Fulham won’t be as patient with him as I am and will send him packing next January.

    Dempsey is just fine and will be a club legend for his goal to keep them up last year. I am pretty sure he will keep his spot in the Summer unless another team has some cash and really wants him.

    I could see Keller and McBride possibly staying one more year. Since the Seattle team won’t start with training until February I could see Keller going back through January at least and depending on where the team is at staying the whole season before joining the Sounders. McBride could call it a day in England and come back Stateside or stay over there for another year. I have to think that Brian wants to prove to himself that he can still compete at the top level after the bad injury earlier this season. That said a return to the US and MLS wouldn’t shock me.

    It will be an interesting Summer for the American’s at Fulham if they surive or drop……………………

  3. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Your point about Dempsey is well taken, Michael. I suppose I am so used to being a “role” player as he was in Steve Nicol’s highly structured system at New England that when he got out of there I thought he would shine, but he hasn’t. But I suppose he is doing what he has to, and you have seen him more than I have this year.

  4. Michael

    May 3, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Yeah, you make a good point, I meant as the #1. You’re exactly right, I just figured you were talking about starters.

    My apologies.

  5. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Michael, since when did Keller not play for the US? He’s still our #2 keeper and started two games at the Gold Cup and two games at Copa America last year. McBride hasn’t played for the US since WC 2006.

    Keller may still be the US’ keeper come qualifying given Howard’s inconsistency and other issues that have stopped him from being a contributor as he should to the national team.

  6. Michael

    May 3, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    OK, Kartik, I think you really need to watch more of Fulham because Dempsey has had an outstanding season for them. When Bullard and McBride were hurt, Dempsey carried the team and worked up alone up front every game. He hasn’t scored in a while, but he’s one of the team’s best players.

    I see your point about not caring about McBride as much because he isn’t active internationally, and that’s fine, but then you can’t praise Keller for saving Fulham’s bacon since he doesn’t play for the US anymore either.

  7. eplnfl

    May 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    They are winning because McBride is a game changer, Keller despite his years is steady, Bocanegra is solid on defense ( remember, when you don;t hear the name of a defender that means he is doing his job), EJ is still trying to fit in, it is too early for him, and Dempsey was effective early.

    A supporter of American soccer should be pointing out how the Yanks saved the day, since until today it was all Uncle Sams fault.

    Captain America

  8. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I’m not saying he’s not an American. What I am saying is that my interest in how Americans play is based on the national team and since McBride isn’t part of the player pool anymore I don’t care what he does. My point is Bocanegra, Dempsey and EJ are all flopping over there and all three of those guys are on the national team which tells me we have some concerns entering qualifying.

    Now if McBride plays in the Olympics I’ll again be interested. I guess I had a poor choice of words, but my point is Fulham has four US National Team players and only one, a goalkeeper is making any difference. They are winning because of their English and N. Irish contingent.

  9. eplnfl

    May 3, 2008 at 2:59 pm


    McBride is a warrior, with the injuries to his head you would allow him room to back off from the action in front of the net, but no, he’s right in the middle of the fray. He is fearless! He players the game like a a Chicago guy!

    Landon Donovan. A warrior. He runs away from contact.

    I don’t call McBride America’s best, but he’s on my team any day! I am still not over the not a American comment.

    Captain America

  10. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    What I find amazing for all the MLS bashers out there was how perfectly average for many years mcbride was in MLS.

    He led the league in scoring in 1996, but didn’t even lead his team in scoring in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. He did lead Columbus in goals in 2003 and then transferred to England.

    But I see people say he’s the best US player in a generation, but yet he couldn’t even score more goals than Jeff Cunningham and Dante Washington in Columbus.

    That’s why I don’t get the McBride thing. Maybe his game is more suited for England because of his height and quality in the air. Who knows, but thought I would point that out. He is in no way shape or form even remotely close to being as talented as Landon Donovan is.

  11. eplnfl

    May 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Well, if there was a most valuable player award for the EPL no doubt that it would be Brian McBride. He has been a one man show since his return that has brought Fulham out of the bottom 3. What a effort.What other player can claim to have saved his team like he did.

    Let me give a honorable mention to Keller. For a in season pick up of a player who was well past his prime, what a effort. Outstanding.

    Kartik, I must put you to task on the McBride is not an American. Need I remind you of his performance for the USMNT over the years. His 2002 World Cup effort, that he has been the best soccer player ever produced by the great State of Illinois, his achievements in the MLS. So, Kartik, you need to revise your view of the pride of Buffalo Grove High School.

    Can you imagine the headlines in the English press, American’s Save Fulham! lol, they will forget now about all the Yanks on the team. Oh, btw, Man U., the team that is about to do the double, last years champs, there owned by whom? Just asking!

    Captain America, go Fulham!

  12. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Gladbach yes, Leicester, no, and he helped keep them up. They were relegated after he left. He also helped keep Rayo Vallacano up in Spain longer than they should have been. So he’s two for three with “projects” if you want to call it that.

    If you don’t watch national team football as closely as I do, you don’t appreciate Keller as much as I do. Despite their club performances, Keller has clearly over the period of time they have been competiting w/ one another the better keeper for the US than Friedel.

    IMHO, he’s still a better bet for the US than Howard. I wrote about it a few months ago:

    The bottom line is playing qualifiers in Central America is an experience you don’t understand unless you’ve been there. Playing in remote areas at altitude where every fan throws rocks and urine at the team bus which had to drive in for 2 hours from a hotel in the city where sirens and loud music was played all night to make sure the US team got no sleep. When you get to the park fans continue to throw bags of urine on the pitch at you. Howard may do fine, but why risk introducing a keeper known in the past to buckle in certain pressure situations when Keller is the ONLY US keeper ever with a record of success in those situations?

    That’s the kind of character and focus that allows him to excel at bad clubs in tough circumstances. He’s one of my favorites and is someone all american fans of this game owe a substantial debt of graditude to.

  13. Burt Reynolds

    May 3, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Didn’t Borussia Monchengladbach and Liecester City both get relegated with him as their keeper? If he keeps them up or not, I hope they get rid of him..

  14. Dimi Berbatov

    May 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I hate to say it but I disagree with just about everything that you ever say Kartik. I don’t know how you do it, I’m impressed really.

  15. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    McBride doesn’t play for the US National Team anymore, so in my national team driven centric football world, he doesn’t count. Right now he’s might as well be a Mexican player from my perspective.

  16. Ferd

    May 3, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Well done Fulham! I thought a few weeks back they were toast and destined to go down but they look up for the fight.

  17. Matt

    May 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Um Katrik, who scored the first goal for Fulham today? I believe it was Brian McBride, who in case you forgot, is American. To say that McBride, the captain of this squad, is having no impact on the team giving everything they got to staying up is complete B.S. and shows a major bias against the American players.

  18. Kartik

    May 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    And again the Americans besides Keller have no impact.

    Keller is one of the best goalkeepers in the world in national team competition over the past 15 years. Fans new to the game are quickly finding out why the great Romario said “it was an honor to be on the field with him” after the US 1-0 win over Brazil in 1998.

    If I am fighting relegation and scraping to qualify for a world cup no keeper I’d call before Keller. Year in and year out he proves his grit and quality while other guys like Friedel and Howard, both inferior national team keepers steal the headlines.

    Great going Kasey, America’s stopper!

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