Work in Sports
West Locker Room
Meola shows scorer's instinct ... but goalie's shot
By Steve Almasy, CNNSI.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- West forward Tony Meola was involved in the moment of the match. Or so he claims.
Wait a minute ... forward? Yes, forward. Meola, a fine goalie by trade, was subbed into the fray in the 80th minute as a striker. He even got off a shot, but was snubbed by East keeper Scott Garlick.
"Play of the game," Meola said of the stop.
West coach Bob Gansler, who said Meola sometimes plays in the field during Wizards practices, said it was a very strategic move.
"We were trying to tilt the field down toward their goal," he said, grinning at his player. "He's hard to live with sometimes; he would have been impossible to if he had scored."
Garlick for his part was glad to have snuffed out his opponent's half-chance. He even reminded reporters that being scored upon is a bad thing ... but being scored upon by another goalie is the stuff nightmares are made of.
Other goalkeepers can feel safe that Meola will stay between the posts. Gansler said that even though Meola is considered one of the best athletes in the league, there is no way he'd put him up front for the Wizards -- even with a huge lead.
Meola did his part in goal, stopping four shots in the first half as the West took a 4-3 lead.
"You can't come into this game with a big ego," he said. "It will get deflated pretty fast."
Stoppage timeCobi Jones had his two upper wisdom teeth extracted Wednesday but showed no ill effects on the field Saturday. He set up all four West goals with precise passing. It wasn't a perfect day though. Jones had several opportunities to score a goal or two but slid the ball just wide in the 6th minute and was wide again just before halftime. ... Preki, last year's MVP when he had two goals and one assist in a 6-4 West win, kept alive his All-Star scoring streak with a secondary assist on Ante Razov's 17th minute goal. Preki also had an assist and is the only man with at least a point in all five All-Star Games. ... Marcelo Balboa, John Harkes and Carlos Valderrama played all 90 minutes.