Roy Lassiter put aside his legal troubles and scored the game-winning goal Sunday as the United States rallied from a three-goal deficit to defeat Saudi Arabia, 4-3, in front of 10,216 at RFK Stadium.
Lassiter, who faces a court date Monday to answer 3-year-old charges of breaking and entering and forgery, headed in Tab Ramos' cross from close range in the 67th minute.
Lassiter, who came on as a substitute in the first half to make only his third appearance with the U.S. team, also had the assist on Ramos' tying goal in the 63rd minute.
Defender Alexi Lalas (36th minute) and striker Joe-Max Moore (49th) also scored for the Americans, who fell behind, 3-0, before the game was 30 minutes old.
U.S. Soccer Federation officials said they believed it was the first time the U.S. national team has rallied from three goals down to win a full international. The victory was also the latest triumph for first-year Coach Steve Sampson, who earlier this year led the team to a surprising fourth place in the America Cup in Uruguay.
"The Saudis played with more aggression than we did in the first half," Sampson said. "You can't, at this level, take that amount of time to get into a game."
The last time Lassiter scored for the United States--in a 2-1 victory over Benfica of Portugal in the Parmalat Cup in August--it caught the attention of a Raleigh, N.C., detective, who remembered the outstanding warrants against the former North Carolina State star.
Lassiter, 26, who has spent most of the last three years playing for a first-division team in Costa Rica, was arrested and freed on $5,000 bond, and is likely to get probation when he appears before a judge today.
Returning to the site of the their biggest World Cup '94 victory--a 1-0 upset of Belgium--the Saudis used crisp passing around a lethargic U.S. defense to build a 3-0 lead on goals by Sami Al-Jaber (8th minute), Fahad Mahelel (11th) and Saeed Owairan (29th). Owairan, who netted the game-winner in the Belgium game, converted a penalty after Al-Jaber was brought down by goalkeeper Brad Friedel.