UCLA sophomore Andy Burke couldn't have waited much longer to score his first goal of 1985.
Not only was it the last game of the season, but it was the longest game in NCAA soccer history.
But in the eighth overtime, Burke took a long lead pass from senior Paul Krumpe and blasted a 15-yard shot with his left foot past American goalkeeper Steven Pheil to give UCLA its first-ever NCAA Division I soccer title, 1-0, before a gathering of 5,986 at the Kingdome Saturday night.
The game lasted 166 minutes 5 seconds, almost seven minutes longer than the 159:16 it took Indiana to beat Duke in eight overtimes in the 1982 final.
"I've never been this tired," Krumpe said. "My legs are so drained . I'm so tired I can't even think."
But he had no trouble recalling the winning goal. "I got a back pass and I had time, so I looked over across the field and saw Dale (Ervine) and Andy had a two-on-one. I lifted the ball over the man marking Dale, and got to Andy."
Burke, who had broken a bone in his left foot earlier this season and had played in only 10 games, none during the playoffs, didn't even enter the game until the seventh overtime, when both teams already had tested the notion of survival of the fittest to ridiculous extremes.
And American University's cramped legs were no match for the fresh ones of Burke. Just before the winning play, American star Michael Brady limped to the sidelines with a muscle cramp, leaving the Eagles two men short.
In the third overtime, American's Serge Torreilles had been ejected for butting heads with UCLA's Ervine.
Had Brady, who had an excellent scoring chance in the first half-minute of the game but thereafter was held in check by UCLA All-American Paul Caliguiri, stayed on the field instead of coming to the sideline, it's likely that officials would have stopped play.
"That was a mistake," UCLA assistant coach Steve Sampsonm said.
But according to Bruin Coach Sigi Schmid, it was no fluke that UCLA still had some energy left at the end.
"I think we were a fitter team," he said. "All those hours of practice paid off."
Burke, who is from La Jolla, said he'd spoken by phone the night before to his father, John, who read something out of the Wall Street Journal about the last man on the bench winning a game.
"Unbelievable," Sampson said. "We were starting to think on the bench that we had to get some fresh legs out there, no matter whose they were. And there was Andy."
UCLA goalie Dave Vanole, who made several critical saves in overtime, was asked if the team was too tired to celebrate. He roared: "That's not even a question."