U.S. soccer downs Barbados

Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2000

FOXBORO, Mass. -- A 7-0 game isn't unknown for the U.S. soccer team -- but usually it was a loss.

On a night when a defeat would have put the Americans in danger of World Cup elimination, the United States dominated from start to finish, winding up with a record-setting 7-0 rout of Barbados in a critical World Cup qualifier.

''We actually could have scored quite a few more, but the finishing wasn't perfect,'' said U.S. forward Joe-Max Moore, who had two goals.

Eddie Pope, Brian McBride, John O'Brien, Tab Ramos and Earnie Stewart scored one goal each as the United States exploited a two-man advantage for the final 49 minutes.

''To be fair, with all due respect, it wasn't the strongest opponent we play,'' U.S. captain Claudio Reyna said.

It matched the largest victory margin ever for the United States -- and it was the first time the Americans ever scored seven goals in a World Cup qualifier.

Moore and McBride returned from injuries to give the Americans a new forward line, and Stewart and Cobi Jones ran up and down the flanks, serving them with crosses.

It seemed like the field was tilted toward the end the United States was running toward. The Americans outshot Barbados 34-4, including 24-2 in the second half, when it was soccer's equivalent of playground hoops -- dribbling around the outmanned defenders for the best shot.

''Seven-nothing. We wouldn't have guessed that by any means,'' U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. ''Despite some of the poor reviews we received after the first two games, we could be in pretty good shape if we get three points against Guatemala.''

Coming off a 1-1 tie at Guatemala and a 2-1 loss at Costa Rica, the Americans put themselves in contention for one of the groups's two berths in next year's regional finals.

The United States (1-1-1), which next plays Guatemala on Sept. 3 at Washington, jumped to second in Group C of the North and Central American and Caribbean semifinals with four points, trailing Costa Rica (2-1).

Guatemala (1-1-1) is third, trailing the U.S. team on goal difference, and Barbados (1-2) dropped to last.

Fielding a lineup with seven European-based players, the Americans took the lead in the 14th minute when Pope outjumped two defenders to beat goalkeeper Horace Stoute on Stewart's corner kick.

Moore, who scored eight goals in 19 games last season for Everton in England's Premier League, let the ball bounce off a heel in the 28th minute, creating McBride's goal.

Augustus Hurdle was ejected in the 38th minute for twice elbowing Jones (with Jones throwing a punch in between) and Eric Lavine was ejected three minutes later for getting his second yellow card for a rough foul on Chris Armas, who strained a ligament in his left knee and will be sidelined for 3-to-12 weeks, according to Arena.

Barbados coach Horrace Beckles, who has just four professionals on his 18-man roster, couldn't believe the calls by referee Jose Pineda of Honduras.

''It was atrocious. The referee was very, very poor,'' Beckles said. ''We got the red cards -- I'm still not sure what they were for. You can't put vulnerable referees in the game, especially in the United States, where they are easily intimidated."

''The referee doesn't even speak English. He doesn't understand what the players are saying to him.''

Stewart raced up the field to create the third goal, passing to Moore, who was stopped on a right-footed shot, then scored off the rebound with his left foot.

O'Brien scored 29 seconds into the second half -- the first time he handled the ball. Ramos added his first international goal since 1998 in the 72nd minute, Stewart scored two minutes later and Moore scored again in the 82nd.

''They have to come to Barbados,'' Beckles said, looking ahead to Nov. 15, when the Americans play their last game of the semifinal round. ''It will be a different game. It will be on a level playing field.''

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