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Ellinger to Coach Expansion Utah

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Utah’s expansion Major League Soccer team Wednesday hired John Ellinger, former coach of the U.S. under-17 team, as coach.

Ellinger, 53, coached the under-17 team for seven years and was an assistant on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team. Ellinger was an assistant with the Columbus Crew when MLS debuted in 1996.

“I’ve been a huge fan of this league since it started. I’ve been a part of it once and I’m glad to be again,” Ellinger said.

Ellinger and General Manager Steve Pastorino will begin putting together a roster with the expansion draft once the playoffs are over. The unnamed team and the expansion Chivas USA will begin play in 2005.

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The Columbus Crew won its first Eastern Conference title and extended its unbeaten streak to an MLS-record 16 games with a 1-0 victory over the host Chicago Fire.

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Columbus (12-5-11), which earned home-field advantage in the playoffs, extended its unbeaten streak to 8-0-8. The Galaxy had set the previous record over two seasons (1997-98).

Simon Elliott set up Edson Buddle’s 25-yard goal with a short pass on a free kick in the 59th minute after defender Evan Whitfield fouled Jeff Cunningham.

Buddle is tied with five players with a league-leading 11 goals. Elliott leads the Crew with 10 assists.

The defending Eastern Conference-champion Fire (8-12-9) is in danger of not reaching the playoffs for the first time since its inception in 1998.

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Jorge Vergara, owner of Mexican club Chivas of Guadalajara and MLS expansion team Chivas USA, and Danny Jordaan, chief executive of South Africa’s successful bid to stage the men’s World Cup in 2010, will speak at the Honda Symposium on Oct. 25 in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Vergara will reveal plans for the newest professional sports franchise in Los Angeles and Jordaan will discuss how South Africa secured the right to play host to the World Cup.

Also, the three finalists for the 2004 Honda Player of the Year Award will be announced. The award is presented each year to the top player on the U.S. national team as selected by the media. The winner will be announced in November.

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FIFA, soccer’s governing body, fined France $11,500 and Italy and the Netherlands each $8,000 for failing to abide by the organization’s minimum rules -- a six-month suspension plus a fine -- as punishment for drug infractions.

Also, FIFA increased the bonuses for the 32 finalists at the 2006 World Cup to $263 million from the $190 million in 2002 and said that after the 2007 Women’s World Cup, the men’s and women’s World Cups will be played in the same year, starting with 2010.

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Jared Borgetti scored four goals and Jaime Lozano scored two, and host Mexico defeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 7-0, at Pachuca in the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Mexico leads Group C with six points. St. Vincent is in third place with three points.

The top two teams in each of the three groups advance to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

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The organizers of Bangladesh’s first women’s soccer tournament promised to keep playing despite protests by a Muslim group that called the 10-day event in Dhaka “indecent and against Islamic norms.”

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Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o has been hospitalized with gastroenteritis and will sit out Cameroon’s World Cup African Zone qualifier in Sudan on Saturday.... Midfielder Fabrice Fernandes of England’s Southampton was fined $18,000 and had his licensed suspended for two years for trying to elude police in a high-speed chase in May.... Dutch defender Marco van Hoogdalem, 32, of Schalke in the German Bundesliga has been diagnosed with a rare liver disease that may end his career.... Brazil and France remained Nos. 1 and 2 in the FIFA rankings, but Argentina moved up from No. 4 to No. 3, swapping places with Spain.


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