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Olympians get early Victorine goal to edge Bolton Wanderers 1-0.

Sasha Victorine
Sasha Victorine
INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, July 30, 2000) -- Midfielder Sasha Victorineís tally in the 19th minute gave the Olympic-bound United States under-23 men a 1-0 decision over the Bolton Wanderers, a British first division club, in an exhibition tonight in front of 5,327 fans at Kuntz Stadium. this afternoon.

"The most important thing is that I was able to get another good look at these players," said U.S. coach Clive Charles of his impending August 15 announcement of the 18-man Olympic roster. "Everyone that's here will be seriously considered for the final roster. Right now, I've still got to get 24 (players) down to 18."

Lining up in its usual 4-4-2, the U.S. side controlled the match from the outset, pushing forward and maintaining almost constant possession from whistle to whistle in the first half.

Paired with speedy Josh Wolff up front, Conor Casey was immediately an offensive threat, continually making runs at the Bolton defense and causing serious match-up problems.

It didn't take long for the U.S. to break through. Following a corner-kick clearance in the Bolton end, defender Brian Dunseth sent a ball that looped across the box and bounced. Although no U.S. players could get a foot on the chest-high cross, Casey quickly tracked the loose ball down near the end line. With his back to the goal, the 18-year-old University of Portland sophomore deftly back-heeled a slow roller to Victorine at the near post. The defensive midfielder shielded the ball from Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, turned and slipped his shot inside the post to make it 1-0.

"I thought we played quite well in the first half," Charles said. "We had some guys go down in the second half, and it was just a matter of surviving the game at that point."

Conor Casey
Conor Casey
A painful tribute to Casey's effectiveness was performed in the 29th minute, when Wanderers defender Gundi Bergsson obstructed and then threw a nasty elbow that leveled Casey a few yards outside the top of the penalty box, leaving no doubt about a red card ejection.

The banged-up U.S. entered the match missing three starters -- goalkeeper Adin Brown (strained quadriceps), midfielder Ben Olsen (ankle) and defender Chad McCarty (foot) -- as well as European-based midfielder John Thorrington (strained hamstring), who came to the U.S. on tryout with Bolton, but suffered a strained hamstring earlier in the week.

Because of these injuries and ailments Bolton has suffered since arriving in the Midwest for their week-long training camp, the U.S. removed Wolff at the start of the second half to make it 10-on-10, a situation that didnít last long. Each team would then make free substitutions throughout the rest of the match.

The Americans were reduced to nine players when defender Danny Califf was ejected for dangerous, lunging challenge on Bolton forward Ian Woan in the 59th minute. Three minutes later, the U.S. had eight players on the field while midfielder Joey DiGiamarino was taken off the field with an injury. He returned in the 72nd minute.

Upon DiGiamarino's return, the U.S. defense settled down and was able to produce a number of effective counter-attacks. Casey had a golden opportunity to put the U.S. up 2-0 in the 86th minute after he collected a loose ball on the Bolton end, but after charging into the box all alone with just the keeper to beat, his quick blast sailed high of the crossbar.

United States 1, Bolton Wanderers 0

Lineups: United States - Tim Howard (Matt Napoleon 46), Jeff Agoos (Ramiro Corrales 46), Danny Califf, Brian Dunseth (captain), Evan Whitfield, Peter Vagenas (DaMarcus Beasley 46), Sasha Victorine, Chris Albright, Joey DiGiamarino; Conor Casey, Josh Wolff. Bolton - Jussi Jaaskelainen, John O'Kane (Liam Richardson 46), Simon Charlton, Paul Warhurst, Gudni Bergsson, Per Frandsen (captain), Anthony Barness (Franck Passi 46), Robbie Elliott, Ian Woan (Michael Ricketts 60), Michael Ricketts (Micahel Farrelly 26), Bo Hansen.

United States - Victorine (Casey) 19.

Shots: United States 7, Bolton 7. Saves: United States 3, Bolton 2. Corner kicks: United States 5, Bolton 0. Fouls: United States 14, Bolton 12. Offside: United States 7, Bolton 1 Red card ejections: United States - Califf 59; Bolton - Bergsson 24.

Referee: Rich Grady (United States) Assistant referees: Cien Asoera (United States), Greg Bowers (United States) Attendance: 5,327 at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis. Weather: 78 degrees, warm, humid.

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