Mania loses first regular-season game to Raleigh, 2-0

Maryland is thwarted in cold, rain and wind

April 30, 1999|By Michael Kaylor | Michael Kaylor,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A driving rain made a mess of the grass field at the WRAL Soccer Center, but it couldn't dampen the spirits of the A-League's new Raleigh Capital Express as the players celebrated the team's first victory last night -- at the expense of the Maryland Mania.

The Mania, playing its first game in franchise history, fell to the Express, 2-0, on a night the players endured a chilly wind on top of muddy field conditions.

The Maryland offense put together a few promising runs, but the Mania was thwarted by the strong play of former Duke goalkeeper Johnny Morton, who recorded five saves and remained composed throughout the match.

"We really broke the ice with this one and we broke it good," Raleigh coach Pete Petersen said. "It was 44 degrees, the rain was coming down and it was windy, but we'll take a win any way we can get it. We needed this one."

Express forward John Dugan, who also is Petersen's top assistant, scored the franchise's first regular-season goal in the eighth minute.

Dugan had scored nine goals in 10 preseason contests.

"This was very gratifying because we've been building this team since February and it's good to get our first win," Dugan said. "Jason [Spiller] made a very nice play. It was a quick counter and he was able to beat the defender. I was open and I was screaming my head off. He kicked it through [the defender's] legs and I was able to get it in."

Forward Chad Carithers secured the victory for the Express (1-1) in the 82nd minute when he knocked in a cross from former North Carolina State midfielder Shohn Beachum.

The adverse weather conditions made it difficult to mount any kind of offensive attack, Dugan said.

"And the name of the game was retaining possession of the ball," Dugan said. "I enjoy playing in the cold and it is fun to play in the rain, but it is no fun to play in cold rain."

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