Americans sport a European touch U.S. team to play Ireland tonight

May 30, 1992|By Ashley McGeachy | Ashley McGeachy,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- With three new faces -- including midfielder Tab Ramos -- in the lineup, the U.S. national soccer team will face Ireland in the opening round of the U.S. Cup tonight at 7:30 at RFK Stadium.

Ramos, who just completed the regular season with Figueras of the Spanish second division, said he hopes he, Roy Wegerle, a midfielder for the Blackburn Rovers in England, and Thomas Dooley, a defender for FC Kaiserslautern in Germany, can help the United States gain a measure of revenge for a 4-1 loss to Ireland in Dublin on April 29.

"For the first time, we really are going to have our full side with all our players from Europe," said Ramos, a former All-American at North Carolina State. "We are going to do our best, and we are looking for good results."

After a scoreless first half in Dublin, the Irish scored a goal in the opening minute of the second half and never let up, scoring three more before Eric Wynalda scored for the United States in the final minutes.

"They were like a dog with a bone," U.S. midfielder Brian Quinn said. "They wouldn't let go in the second half."

The United States will try to force the bone from the jaws of the Irish tonight in front of what is expected to be a near-capacity crowd.

The U.S. team is close to full strength. Ramos and Dooley will start, and Wegerle, who arrived in Washington yesterday, will play "depending on how he feels," U.S. coach Bora Milutinovic said.

For Ramos, the game will mark the first time he has played in the United States since before the World Cup in 1990.

"I'm real excited to get the opportunity to play here," he said. "I know the competition is going to be great."

The team has been together in Washington for one practice, which Ramos said might cause a problem.

"I think it will be difficult," he said. "Some of the players don't know each other on the field, but a lot of us [who] have been playing in Europe know all the guys that are here. So in that manner it won't be that difficult. . . ."

Milutinovic said that the players who have been in Europe will be an asset to the team.

"In [tonight's] game, the players coming from Europe and other places have a certain advantage with respect [of other players]," he said. "They have to show they can play tomorrow [tonight]. . . . We are happy they can play, and they can help us with their experience."

The Irish team, coached by Jack Charlton, is coming into the game fresh off Tuesday's 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Albania.

Charlton will use a different lineup against the Americans. In goal, Gerry Peyton will replace starter Patrick "Packie" Bonner, who is out with a bruised rib.

"It's going to be a different game," said starting defenseman Kevin Moran, comparing tonight's matchup with the game last month against the Americans. "In Dublin, they did not know to play the way we played." For the Americans, Tony Meola will start in goal. Forward Bruce Murray, from Germantown, Md., and Desmond Armstrong of Columbia, Md., may see action.

U.S. vs. Ireland

Who: U.S. national soccer team vs. Irish national team

What: First round of U.S. Cup '92

When: Tonight, 7:30. Gates open at 6, with flags given to first 30,000 spectators and posters to the first 20,000

Where: RFK Stadium, Washington

Tickets: Available at RFK Stadium (ticket office opens at 9 a.m.) or by calling (202) 673-4371. About 15,000 seats available.

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