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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Victorine's Limited Role Is Decisive

September 24, 2000|GRAHAME L. JONES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ADELAIDE, Australia — Sasha Victorine hadn't played one minute in these Olympic Games until he was sent into the U.S.-Japan game Saturday when it went to sudden-death overtime.

It proved to be the most astute move made yet by U.S. Coach Clive Charles because it was the Galaxy midfielder's calmly taken penalty-kick goal that clinched a place in the semifinals for the American team.

"I was talking to my family, and everybody's been really supportive of me," Victorine said. "They've all been wishing that I got in there and played a little bit. I told them I'd get my shot, and when I did it was just [a matter of] making the most of it.

"It's kind of weird, your first game in the Olympics and having the chance to make the fifth PK [penalty kick] to send the team on to a chance for a medal. It's just amazing."

Victorine's kick ended the game, but it was a nerve-racking parade that preceded him.

* Shunsuke Nakamura whipped his shot inside the right post. Brad Friedel guessed correctly but couldn't reach it. Japan, 1-0.

* Peter Vagenas, who demanded to go first for the U.S., put his shot inside the left post off diving goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki's hands. 1-1.

* Junichi Inamoto beat Friedel to his right. Japan, 2-1.

* Jeff Agoos beat Narazaki to his left. 2-2.

* Ryuzo Morioka slammed his shot into the roof of net. Japan, 3-2.

* Landon Donovan, just 18, placed his shot in the upper-right corner. 3-3.

* Hidetoshi Nakata, the most expensive player on the field, missed, hitting the left post. 3-3.

* Josh Wolff powered a shot past Narazaki. U.S., 4-3.

* Tomokazu Myojin, with zero room for error, scored inside the right post. 4-4.

* Victorine put the U.S. in the semifinals. 5-4.

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