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Own Goal Ruins MetroStars' Home Debut

April 21, 1996|From Associated Press

Flags of a half-dozen nations, chants of "Ole!" and a crowd of 46,826 welcomed a soccer league back to Giants Stadium for the first time in 12 years Saturday, but the New England Revolution beat the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, 1-0, on an own goal with 13 seconds left.

Playing on the same field as the New York Cosmos, the most famous team in the North American Soccer League, the MetroStars began the 16-game home portion of their Major League Soccer season with fireworks and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman kicking out the first ball.

New England got the goal in the last minute after Star goalkeeper Tony Meola, the starter for the United States in the last two World Cups, saved a shot by Darren Sawatzky. But defender Nicola Caricola--standing seven yards from the right post--kicked the ball into the net as he attempted to push it wide.

The MetroStars had plans to "downsize" Giants Stadium from its usual capacity of more than 77,716 to 26,596 by draping off several sections. But the upper deck was uncovered for the opener after a ticket surge last week.

Tampa Bay 2, Columbus 1--A goal by Martin Vasquez in the 12th minute led the Mutiny over Crew before 24,484 at Columbus, Ohio.

Vasquez scored on an assist by Steve Ralston. The Mutiny made it 2-0 when Mark Watson of the Crew kicked the ball into his own net in the 28th minute.

Doctor Khumalo of Columbus scored the only goal of the second half in the 60th minute.

The Crew finished with 11 shots to the Mutiny's seven, but Tampa Bay had a 5-3 edge in shots on goal. All seven of the Mutiny's shots came in the first half.

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