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3. AMERICANS ABROAD: Keller's Gladbach relegated; Fulham on shaky ground; Santos survives
by Mike Woitalla, April 30th, 2007 8:25AM

TAGS:  men's national team


Goalkeeper Kasey Keller's club has been relegated to the German Second Division and English Premier League club Fulham, which has three Americans in its ranks, is threatened with a similar fate. But in Mexico, Santos Laguna, for which Edgar Castillo is a regular, survived a relegation scare.

A 1-0 home loss to VfB Stuttgart means Borussia Monechengladbach, playing without the injured Keller, will be relegated to the Second Division. Keller, 37, joined Gladbach midway through 2004-05 season, when his performances were hailed for helping the club stay in the top flight. Keller, who played in the top two tiers of the English league, and in the Spanish First Division, since moving to Europe in 1991, appeared in 78 Bundesliga games since joining the club. His contract with Gladbach expires in June.

In England, Fulham, with Americans Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey, fell 3-1 to Arsenal, which extended the Cottagers' winless streak to 10 games and leaves them just one point above the relegation zone with two games left. They face Liverpool and Middlesbrough. Dempsey, a 59th minute sub, headed off target twice while the game was tied 1-1. Bocanegra went the full 90 while McBride played the first hour.

There was some good news for an American on a struggling EPL team. West Ham's 3-0 win over Wigan, in which Jonathan Spector was a 83rd minute sub, means only a inferior goal difference keeps West Ham in the drop zone. (Jay DeMerit and Watford's relegation was sealed last week.)

In Mexico, Santos, with American Edgar Castillo, beat Cruz Azul, 2-0, to earn a wild-card (repechaje) playoff clash with San Luis. But because relegation in the Mexican league is determined by the percentage of points accumulated over a three-year period, Santos would have dropped to the second tier were it not for Queretaro's 2-0 loss to Atlas on the last day of regular season play.

Santos, which finished ninth in the overall standings of the Clausura 2007, includes in first-team ranks two Americans. Castillo, a 19-year-old New Mexico product, was a 62nd minute sub against Cruz Azul. He has appeared in 14 of Santos' 17 games this season, including 11 starts. Texan Sonny Guadarrama, 20, who played freshman ball at Campbell University before moving to Mexico, played in three games this season for Santos and is currently in camp with Mexico's U-20 national team, for which he eligible because of his dual citizenship.

Santos' repechaje opponent, San Luis, includes Californian Michael Orozco, 21, who has started seven games this season but hasn't seen action since March.

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