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MLS PLAYOFFS

Crew Defeats United, 5-1, and Forces Game 3

November 08, 1999|From Associated Press

Crew Coach Tom Fitzgerald hopes that Sunday's 5-1 victory over D.C. United at Columbus, Ohio, which evened the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece, can give his players confidence to do something they have never done--win at D.C.

Game 3 of the series will be played Saturday in RFK Stadium, where United has won all 12 meetings against the Crew, including four playoff victories.

"Our field is the same size as D.C.'s field . . . For us to beat them, 5-1, certainly does help our confidence," Fitzgerald said. "But on Saturday night, D.C. will be ready to play."

This is the third consecutive year United and the Crew have met in the conference finals. United swept the series in 1997 and beat the Crew in three games last year. United won the Major League Soccer Cup Championship in 1996 and 1997, before losing to Chicago last season.

Sunday, Stern John scored three goals for Columbus, which snapped a six-game losing streak to the United.

"It felt good, we played as a team," said John, who has five postseason goals this year.

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