Donovan scores four times in MLS All-Star tie
Updated: Wednesday August 01, 2001 2:15 PM
SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Landon Donovan was the hometown hero Saturday as the Western Conference squandered a four-goal lead before rallying for a 6-6 deadlock in the sixth annual MLS All-Star Game.
Playing before 23,512 at Spartan Stadium, the 19-year-old star of the San Jose Earthquakes scored four times. Fans also watched dazzling individual play from Brian McBride of the Columbus Crew and Troy Dayak and Joe Cannon of the Quakes.
In a contest dominated by members of the Earthquakes, Miami Fusion and Chicago Fire, the deadlock left the East with a 3-1-1 edge in the series. The 1998 contest featured American stars defeating a World squad, 6-1. The 12 goals on Saturday were one short of last year's All-Star record.
As is typical for an All-Star Game, defense was in short supply. Instead, this was a shooting gallery, with some of the best coming from Donovan, who has emerged as one of the MLS' brightest stars.
"It was all I expected and much more," Donovan said. "That's what happens when you play with great players around you. I couldn't have done it without them. The last goal was my favorite. It was exciting to tie the game."
It took him only three minutes to get his first, a little squibber that snuck past Miami 'keeper Nick Rimando following a field-length clearance from Cannon. Donovan's second came five minutes later and was a textbook conversion following a neat setup from Ariel Graziani of the Dallas Burn.
Donovan completed his hat trick on a sweeping cross from San Jose's Manny Lagos in the 18th minute, and Graziani got one of his own in the 26th.
But the East struck back. McBride set up Ronald Cerritos inside the box, then scored two himself to narrow the margin to 4-3 at halftime.
Second-half substitute Mamadou Diallo of the Tampa Bay Mutiny tied it at 4-4 in the 53rd minute, and MetroStars 'keeper Tim Howard kept the game deadlocked by stopping Luis Hernandez's penalty kick after John Spencer of the Colorado Rapids was tackled in the box by Pablo Mastroeni.
Goals by the Fusion's Cate and Jim Rooney followed, with a moment of humor when Rooney took off his shirt after scoring to reveal a black sports bra -- a tribute to Women's World Cup star Brandi Chastain of the United States.
"It's a good thing they're comfortable," Rooney joked. "I was getting a little nervous I wasn't going to score. The players were trying to set me up and it worked out great. I figured it's Brandi's hometown, and I figured, 'Why not?'"
Donovan had the last say, tying it at 6-6 with just seconds left on the clock, sealing his case for most valuable player honors. Donovan apparently borrowed Rooney's lingerie because he whipped off his shirt to reveal a black sports bra.
"We wanted to one-up Brandi," Donovan said. "That was all for her. I hope she was watching somewhere and saw that. It was fun."
Donovan's four goals doubled the previous All-Star Game record and earned him the MVP award.
"It's beyond my wildest dreams to do this in my first year in the league," Donovan said. "It's something special. Maybe if it was a real game, I would have felt more pressure, but the guys helped me to play all-out and have fun."
Even without his bright blond dye job, Donovan would have stood out Saturday. Widely considered a future star of the U.S. national team, Donovan used his seemingly effortless speed and careful footwork to lead an afternoon of thrilling, wide-open soccer.
"You have to wonder where they got those bras," East head coach Ray Hudson said. "But the kid is brilliant. He's not just a good footballer; he's got that thing you can't describe. He's one-of-a-kind.
"It was a carnival game, and all the big acts stepped up and performed," Hudson said. "It really couldn't have been any better. I don't think there will be an MLS All-Star Game as purely entertaining as that ever again."
The result was secondary to the all-out offensive show put on by both teams -- and the fun of a friendly match among MLS' best players.
With four teenage all-stars -- including 16-year-old Santino Quaranta of D.C. United, the youngest All-Star in North American pro sports history -- the game was a perfect showcase for MLS' new generation of stars.
None shone brighter than Donovan, who broke the records for goals and points in an MLS All-Star Game.
With six Earthquakes in the West's starting lineup, Donovan was very much at home.
WST--Donovan (Cannon, Balboa) 3
EAST--Nick Rimando (Tim Howard 46), Carlos Llamosa (Mike Clark 46), Mike Petke (Steve Jolley 46), Pablo Mastroeni, Marco Etcheverry (Cate 56), John Wilmar Perez (Jim Rooney 45), Preki (Marco Etcheverry 74, Cate 56), Ian Bishop, Santino Quaranta, Brian McBride (Diego Serna 46), Alex Pineda Chacon (Mamadou Diallo 41)
WEST--Joe Cannon (Zach Thornton 46), Jeff Agoos (Diego Gutierrez 46), Marcelo Balboa (C.J. Brown 46), Troy Dayak, DaMarcus Beasley (Jesse Marsch 46), Mauricio Cienfuegos (Dema Kovalenko 46), Manny Lagos (Landon Donovan 69, John Spencer 46), Chad Deering (Matt McKeon 46), Landon Donovan (John Spencer 46), Ronald Cerritos (Luis Hernandez 46), Ariel Graziani (Cobi Jones 46)
Referee: Noel Kenny; Assistant Referees: Scott Weyland, Roger Itaya
The Associated Press contributed to this report.