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Preki powers West to MLS All-Star win
Posted: Sunday July 18, 1999 08:42 AM
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- It just wouldn't be a Major League Soccer All-Star Game without Preki.
MLS All-Star Games are goalfests, and Preki, a Kansas City Wizards midfielder, is the only player to have a point in all four of them. He outdid even himself Saturday, scoring two goals and adding an assist as the West beat the East 6-4 in the highest-scoring All-Star game yet.
"We had a good performance and a lot of goals. It was a good game for the fans," said Preki, named MVP after becoming the first player to score two goals in an All-Star game. His four goals and 11 points are the most by anyone in All-Star play.
"It doesn't mean much," he said of his All-Star scoring. "It means we won today. You always want to have fun at the All-Star game."
It was also the first All-Star victory for the West in three tries against the East. Last year's game featured American stars versus their international counterparts, and Preki scored a goal for the United States in a 6-1 victory.
The previous highest-scoring All-Star game was in 1997, when the East won 5-4 at Giants Stadium as nine players scored goals.
This game wasn't as big a success at the gate as a crowd of just 23,277 -- smallest for an MLS All-Star game -- was swallowed up in 70,000-seat Qualcomm Stadium.
MLS, playing its All-Star Game in a non-league city for the second straight year, discovered a hard and fast fact about the San Diego sports and recreation scene -- that there's plenty else to do on sunny Saturday afternoons.
"Clearly we would have preferred having more fans in the stands," said MLS commissioner Doug Logan, who added that the small attendance wouldn't affect San Diego's chance of landing an expansion franchise.
The sparse crowd "does make a difference," said East coach Thomas Rongen of D.C. United. "I'm sure we're all somewhat disappointed with the crowd. But we had more people watching on national television."
Actually, even that took a hit when the game was switched from ABC to ESPN2 as the network decided to stay with the breaking story involving the search for John F. Kennedy Jr.'s missing plane.
Preki scored the West's first and last goals of the first half as it took a 4-1 lead. Chicago's Roman Kosecki assisted on both of Preki's goals and also scored once.
The East came back to tie it at 4-4 as a shot by Columbus' Stern John off a rebound in the 83rd minute started a flurry of late goals.
San Jose's Mauricio Wright put the West back ahead in the 84th minute on an assist by Clash teammate Ronald Cerritos, who then scored an insurance goal in the 89th minute when he tapped in the ball off an assist from Mauricio Cienfuegos of Los Angeles.
"It was an entertaining game," said West coach Glenn Myernick of the Colorado Rapids. "A couple of inches here or there, and it could have been 12-10."
It looked like the East was going to continue its domination when Roy Lassiter, one of seven players from D.C. United in the starting lineup, scored 33 seconds into the game, the quickest goal in All-Star history. Columbus' Brian McBride assisted.
But the West scored the next four goals, starting when Preki pulled D.C. United's Tom Presthus out of the net and put the ball past the sliding goalkeeper in the 13th minute.
Kosecki scored in the 32nd minute, one-touching it past Presthus on a pass from Peter Nowak. Los Angeles' Cobi Jones and Preki scored in quick succession, with Preki and Chicago's Lubos Kubik assisting on Jones' goal in the 36th minute. Kosecki made a nice crossing pass to Preki who scored two minutes later.
"It's tough being a defender at the All-Star Game," said Jeff Agoos of D.C. United. "It seems like the fans pick 10 attackers and one defender.
"We didn't play well in the first half, but things changed around," Agoos said. "Our second-half guys did a great job."
The East began closing the gap on a penalty kick by New England's Joe-Max Moore in the 62nd minute and a goal by Tampa Bay's Carlos Valderrama following some fancy footwork in the 73rd minute.
The penalty kick, just the second in All-Star history, came after McBride was fouled by Colorado's Marcelo Balboa.
In an exhibition that followed the All-Star game, Chivas of Mexico beat Universidad Catolica of Chile 2-1. Luis Garcia scored both of Chivas' goals, in the 15th and 58th minutes. Rodrigo Rios scored for Universidad Catolica.
1 2 F EAST 1 3 4 WEST 4 2 6 EAST - Lassiter (McBride) 1 WEST - Preki (Kosecki) 13 WEST - Kosecki (Nowak, Lalas) 32 WEST - Jones (Preki, Kubik) 36 WEST - Preki (Kosecki) 38 EAST - Moore (pk) 62 EAST - Valderrama (Moreno) 73 EAST - John (unassisted) 83 WEST - Wright (Cerritos) 84 WEST - Cerritos (Cienfuegos) 89EASTERN CONFERENCE -Tom Presthus (Walter Zenga, 46), Eddie Pope (Robert Warzycha, 46), Jeff Agoos (Leo Cullen, 46), Thomas Dooley (Carlos Llamosa, 46), Richie Williams (Stern John, 46), John Harkes (Brian Maisonneuve, 46), Carlos Valderrama, Marco Etcheverry, Ben Olsen (Mark Chung, 46, out at 53), Brian McBride (Joe-Max Moore, 46; re-enter at 54 due to Chung injury), Roy Lassiter (Jaime Moreno, 46)
TOTAL SHOTS: 22 (Moore 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (Moore 5); FOULS: 12 (John 3); OFFSIDE: 1 (Lassiter); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Etcheverry 3); SAVES: 3 (Presthus 2); CAUTIONS: none; EJECTIONS: none; POSSESSION PERCENTAGE: 49%
WESTERN CONFERENCE -Zach Thornton (Matt Jordan, 46), Marcelo Balboa (Lalas, 66, re-enter; Kubik re-enter at 79), Lubos Kubik (Mauricio Wright, 46),
Alexi Lalas (Robin Fraser, 46), Cobi Jones (Kosecki, 61, re-enter), Eddie
Lewis (Jason Kries, 46), Peter Nowak (Paul Bravo, 46), Preki (Mauricio
Cienfuegos, 46), Chris Armas (Ross Paule, 46), Raul Diaz Arce (Carlos
Hermosillo, 46), Roman Kosecki (Ronald Cerritos, 46)
Referee: Sandra Hunt; Referee's Assistants: Tom Bodadilla, Jorge Reyes
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