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Radosavljevic powers USA into Gold Cup semis. Bending 25-yarder beats Costa Rica 2-1.

OAKLAND (Saturday, February 7, 1998) -- Preki Radosavljevicís late goal eight minutes after he entered the match provided the winning margin as the United States beat Costa Rica 2-1 and advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament this afternoon in the final match of Group 3.

Radosavljevic, a Yugoslavian native who became a U.S. citizen last year, sidestepped two defenders and launched a curling 25-yard blast that caught the top right corner in the 77th minute before 36,240 at the Oakland Coliseum.

"All goals are great," said Radosavljevic. "I will remember scoring such an important goal in this tournament and helping us advance to the semifinals."

The U.S., dominating in the early going, took a 1-0 lead when defender Eddie Pope headed home a corner kick from midfielder Joe-Max Moore in the seventh minute.

Paolo Wanchope hit the far post nearly tying the match in the 20th minute and American goalkeeper Brad Friedel made a great save just before intermission to preserve the U.S. advantage.

But in the 55th minute, Alan Oviedo beat Friedel from 12 yards to tie the match at 1.

"We are very happy with the result," said U.S. coach Steve Sampson. "We have showed great growth in the last two games. Costa Rica dominated for a bit, but we didnít give up and no one stopped working. Popeís goal was great and Prekiís goal, truly phenomenal."

With Costa Rica's 7-2 rout of Cuba on Wednesday, the Americans needed to win this game to advance to the semifinals. They will play the second-place team from Group 1 on Tuesday. The final is scheduled for February 15 in Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, standing water from storms during the day postponed Group 1 match between El Salvador and Jamaica. The match at the Los Angeles Coliseum was rescheduled for Monday night.

United States 2, Costa Rica 1

Lineups: USA - Brad Friedel, Jeff Agoos, Marcelo Balboa (Preki Radosavljevic 69), Alexi Lalas, Eddie Pope (Mike Burns 46), Frankie Hejduk, John Harkes, Cobi Jones, Joe-Max Moore, Eric Wynalda, Roy Wegerle (Brian McBride 63). Costa Rica - Erick Lonnis, Luis Marin, Austin Berry, Harold Wallace (Bernard Mullins 82), Mauricio Wright, Luis Diego Arnaez, Wilmer Lopez, Joaquin Guillen, Roy Meyers (Floyd Guthrie 71), Allan Oviedo (Jervis Drummond 65), Paulo Wanchope.

Scoring: USA - Pope (Moore) 7; Costa Rica - Oviedo (Wright) 56; USA - Radosavljevic (Agoos) 78. Total shots: USA 11, Costa Rica 9. Saves: USA 5, Costa Rica 3. Corner kicks: USA 5, Costa Rica 6. Fouls: USA 17, Costa Rica 19. Offsides: USA 6, Costa Rica 7. Yellow card cautions: USA - Wegerle 26, Lalas 45, Hejduk 77.

Referee: Mohammed Nazri Abdullah (Malaysia). Referee's assistants: Owen Powell (Jamaica), Reynoldo E. Salinas Rostran (Honduras). Attendance (Oakland Coliseum): 36,240. (weather: rainy, 55 degrees).