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Men's U.S. Cup

Razovís gift goal allows Americans to tie Ireland 1-1, stay alive for title.

By Robert Wagman

Ante Razov
Ante Razov
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Tuesday, June 6, 2000) -- Ante Razov might have been clearly offside. In fact, he was obviously offside. But his goal counted and the United States is in position to capture its first Nike U.S. Cup since 1995.

Razovís first international goal, tainted as it was, gave the U.S. a 1-1 draw with Ireland in the torrential rain and gusting winds at Foxboro Stadium tonight. A crowd of 16,319 -- 24,202 tickets were sold Ė braved the noríeaster to see the match that left he U.S (1-0-1, 4 points) in position to take its own Cup with a victory over Mexico (0-0-1, 1 point) Sunday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The U.S. game, televised on ABC at 1 p.m. (ET), will be followed by a meeting between Ireland and South Africa.

Three minutes after Razovís goal, the power went out for 10 minutes, delaying the conclusion of the match for 22 minutes as the lights needed time to warm up.

"Over 90 minutes we controlled the play and we created chances, but in the end, I was glad to get the point," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "I thought the momentum was swinging towards us before the lights went out. I thought we were going to get the second goal. But then we had the 20-minute stoppage and afterwards they put in some of their better players and it was a stalemate . . . I think when the power went out, that hurt us a little bit because I think we had the momentum. It was certainly a strange game."

After a string of short passes in he 68th minute, both Razov, a striker, and midfielder Ben Olsen were at least two yards offside when Earnie Stewart, at the top of the penalty area, looped a ball over the Irish back line. Razov trapped the pass and bounced a shot past Irish goalkeeper Alan Kelly and inside the right post for the 1-1 tie.

"The game ended 1-1, so apparently (it was) not (offside)," Razov said.

After watching videotape, Arena agreed the goal should have been waved off for an offside call. "I saw a replay and it looks that way," he said.

As the ball was headed for the net, half a dozen Ireland players raised their hands, appealing for an offside call, but the linesman Jose Ramos Rizo, part of a all-Mexican crew, did not raise his flag.

"I think a lousy decision took the momentum away from us," Irish coach Mick McCarthy said. "It was quite blatantly offside. It was a terrible decision."

The United States started the match as the aggressor, creating three good scoring chances in the first 20 minutes. Olsen found himself with room to maneuver on the left flank and put two shots just off the mark in the opening 15 minutes. Minutes later Razov left a ball for Jovan Kirovski at the top of the 18-yard box, but the midfielder's blast sailed high.

The conditions on the field provided an obstacle to both teams at game time, as strong wind gusts, measured at 35 miles per hour, and torrents of rain hampered goal kicks and other long blasts down the field. Attacking play was largely reduced to short passes on the ground as any ball in the air was nearly impossible to control.

Ireland (0-0-2) took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute Dominic Foley's second goal of the tournament, the first coming in Sundayís 2-2 draw with Mexico. With his back to the goal, Stephen McPhail collected a loose ball in the 31st minute and flicked it over his head and into box to Foley, who had slipped past defender C.J. Brown. Foley charged forward and knocked a bouncing shot past sprawling American goalkeeper Brad Friedel and into the right side of the net.

"All and all it was an excellent performance from two good sides under some very bad conditions," McCarthy said.

Striker Cobi Jones entered the game as a substitute in the 65th minute, tying him with defender Marcelo Balboa for the U.S. record of 128 international appearances. Paul Caligiuri (110), Eric Wynalda (106) and Jeff Agoos, who earned his 100th cap in Saturdayís 4-0 victory over South Africa, are the others in triple digitts.

The U.S. Cup continues tomorrow night at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas where Mexico and South Africa (0-1) will square off in the second game of a doubleheader that opens with the Major League Soccer match between the Dallas Burn and Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

United States 1, Ireland 1

Lineups: United States - Brad Friedel, Frankie Hejduk, C.J. Brown, Gregg Berhalter, Greg Vanney, Steve Ralston (Earnie Stewart 46), John O'Brien (Claudio Reyna 60), Jovan Kirovski, Ben Olsen (Tony Sanneh 75); Jason Kreis (Cobi Jones 65), Ante Razov (Brian McBride 88). Ireland - Alan Kelly; Stephen Carr, Gary Breen, Phill Babb, Terry Phelan; Stephen McPhail (Jason McAteer 37), Matt Holland, Gareth Farrelly (Mark Kennedy 72), Kevin Kilbane, Gary Doherty (Niall Quinn 72), Dominic Foley (Barry Quinn, 88).

Ireland - Foley (McPhail) 31.
United States - Razov (Stewart) 68.

Shots: United States 10, Ireland 8. Saves: United States 3, Ireland 2. Corner kicks: United States 6, Ireland 2. Fouls: United State 10, Ireland 19. Offside: United States 2, Ireland 6.

Referee: Armando Archundia (Mexico). Assistant referees: Jose Martinez (Mexico), Jose Ramos Rizo (Mexico) Attendance: 16,319 (24,202 paid) at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Weather: 45 degrees, 35 mile-per hour wind, heavy rain.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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