Wynalda saves the day for MLS
Monday 08 April 1996
The ambitious new league's opening match looked set for a shoot-out before Wynalda moved on to Ben Iroha's cross-field pass three minutes from time, beat two defenders inside the penalty area and curled a right-foot shot into the far top corner.
"I can't explain the emotion of scoring the goal. It meant more to me than any goal I've ever scored," a tearful Wynalda said. His tears of joy probably saved the major league's chairman, Alan Rothenberg, from shedding a few of his own in fear and frustration. He was "greatly relieved" the game did not end in a 0-0 draw.
That would have been an anticlimax after the match had been built up before kick-off with typical American hoopla involving hundreds of children, streamers and rock music.
For the first of 160 games, it achieved its goal, but it was less than perfect, with sloppy passing, poor finishing and some rough tackles. "I hope the level of play improves and I'm sure it will," said the United States national team coach, Steve Sampson, who pointed out the teams had only five weeks to prepare together.
Wynalda, who scored a memorable goal for the US in the 1994 World Cup against Switzerland with a swerving free-kick, saw a similar effort in the 66th minute superbly saved by Washington goalkeeper Jeff Causey. Later Wynalda, who used to play in the German Bundesliga, beat Causey with a low diagonal shot but the ball flew inches wide of the far post.
United, led by John Harkes, once of Sheffield Wednesday, Derby and West Ham, seemed to tire in the second half and their Bolivian striker Marco Etcheverry was a major disappointment.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal admits interest in Real Madrid forward - 'it is possible'
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Leicester City vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...
£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...
£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...