The Galaxy's interest in the U.S. Open Cup ended abruptly Wednesday night when the team's chance of winning the oldest trophy in U.S. soccer was ripped from its grasp by the Columbus Crew.
The Crew's 3-1 quarterfinal victory before an announced crowd of 5,478 at Titan Stadium on the Cal State Fullerton campus was both clear-cut and comprehensive.
Columbus was simply the better team.
Or at least better at finishing its chances.
Two goals by Brian McBride and one by Jason Farrell were more than enough to offset a lone Galaxy strike by Greg Vanney in a game in which both teams ended the match with 10 men.
Galaxy-Crew games have always had an edge to them, and Wednesday's was no exception.
Referee Kevin Stott had his hands full keeping tempers in check, but was forced to toss Mauricio Cienfuegos out of the game in the 44th minute after the Salvadoran midfielder got into a scrap with the Crew's Brian Maisonneuve.
Not that Maisonneuve lasted much longer. Having got a yellow card in the earlier incident, the U.S. national team midfielder was ejected five minutes into the second half for a foul on Robin Fraser.
After that, the Crew took charge.
Goals in the 65th minute by Farrell and in the 88th by McBride ended the Galaxy's hopes of a three-trophy year.
Now, all it has left to pursue are the MLS Cup and the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
It took only four minutes for Columbus to take the lead. Brian West, attacking down the right, got past Galaxy defender Steve Jolley and passed the ball across the face of the net to McBride.
The U.S. national team forward, presented with an easy scoring chance, took full advantage, beating goalkeeper Matt Reis from 10 yards.
Stung by the early goal, the Galaxy started pressuring but wasted its chances. For instance:
* Ezra "E.Z." Hendrickson flashed a header over the crossbar from a Cienfuegos free kick in the 12th minute.
* Vanney blasted a 25-yard shot about a foot too high in the 17th minute.
* Cobi Jones got in behind the Columbus defense and found Hendrickson, but this time his shot was blocked by Todd Yeagley in the 22nd minute.
* Nine minutes later, Jones set up Danny Pena, but his shot sailed into the bleachers.
Finally, in the 37th minute, Vanney tied it, shrugging off two defenders in front of the net and hitting a low shot past Crew goalkeeper Mark Dougherty.
The Galaxy acquired U.S. Under-17 national team midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who was assigned to the team as a Project 40 player by Major League Soccer. Nicknamed "Jitterbug," Beasley, from Ft. Wayne, Ind., became the youngest player to sign an MLS contract when he did so in March at age 16 years and 10 months. He has eight goals and nine assists in 22 appearances for the U-17 national team this year and will be going to the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in New Zealand in November. Beasley played on the U.S. U-23 team that won the bronze medal at the recent Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. His older brother, Jamar, plays for the New England Revolution. Beasley will report to the Galaxy after his graduation from Bradenton Academy High in Florida in June 2000. "He has tremendous ability as a wide player, with natural agility and speed," Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said.
The U.S. men's national team and the U-17 national team will play a doubleheader against their Jamaican counterparts in Kingston on Sept. 8, U.S. Soccer announced. . . . The world and Olympic champion U.S. women's team revealed the sites and dates of its first three post-World Cup games--at Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 3, at Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 7 and at Louisville, Ky., on Oct 10. Opponents in the four-nation Nike U.S. Women's Cup have yet to be finalized. . . . General Mills said five special-edition Wheaties cereal boxes will feature women's national team stars Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Briana Scurry. Each player will be pictured on the front panel, with highlights of her career appearing on the back of the box.
In MLS action, Jaime Moreno scored the go-ahead goal in the 42nd minute at East Rutherford, N.J., and D.C. United (15-7) sent the New York-New Jersey MetroStars (5-16) to their sixth straight loss, 4-1, before 6,876. The United has won three straight. The MetroStars, who have the league's worst record, scored on Sasa Curcic's penalty kick in the ninth minute, which ended their league-record scoreless streak at 375 minutes. They have not won a game in regulation since May 15. United tied the score in the 21st minute when Carey Talley headed in Marco Etcheverry's free kick. MetroStar defender Mike Petke was ejected in the 34th minute for his second yellow card--he picked up the ball, kissed it and flipped it to referee Michael Kennedy. Ben Olsen and A.J. Wood also scored for United, the Eastern Division leader.