West is added to U.S. national team

Columbia midfielder to face Russia in Moscow


April 19, 2000|By Lowell E. Sunderland

Columbia's Brian West (Centennial, Virginia), who was unexpectedly cut a couple of weeks ago from the U.S. Olympic men's soccer team, was named yesterday to the country's full national team for its friendly match April 26 against Russia in Moscow.

West, 21, an emerging midfielder for Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew, was one of three U.S.-based pros added to coach Bruce Arena's team for the first game ever for the American men in Russia. He set up the Crew's winning goal against the Metro-Stars last weekend.

West has represented the United States in international play at several youth levels and was considered a shoo-in for the under-23 team that will begin qualifying play Friday night in Hershey, Pa., for an Olympic berth. But getting into the Russia game would mean his first full "cap," considered one of the sport's highest honors.

Arena, who is using a largely Europe-based group of players for the game, also added veteran defender Marcelo Balboa, 32, of the Colorado Rapids -- the all-time leader in international appearances by an American male player -- and Dallas' Jason Kreis, last year's leading scorer in MLS.

The trio was added because of injuries to three veterans: forward Joe-Max Moore, now playing in England; Dutch-American Ernie Stewart, and D.C. United defender Eddie Pope.

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