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Onstad passed over for all-star game


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July 30, 2003

Canadian Onstad passed over for MLS all-star game, coach says that's wrong

TORONTO (CP) -- Canadian Pat Onstad leads the MLS in shutouts (six), goals against average (0.89), is tied for No. 1 in wins (eight) and ranks second in save percentage (77.2).

So should the San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper be at Saturday's MLS all-star game in Carson, Calif., when the league's best take on Mexican club CD Guadalajara?

"Absolutely," says Quakes coach Frank Yallop.

But Onstad isn't one of the two all-star 'keepers chosen by MLS coaches and general managers, fans and media. He isn't even one of the two goalies on the backup list of 16, on standby in case a starter is injured or unavailable.

The all-star goalkeeping tandem was originally Tim Howard of the MetroStars and Kevin Hartman of the Los Angeles Galaxy. But Howard was replaced by Zach Thornton of the Chicago Fire after Howard was bought by Manchester United.

Adin Brown of the New England Revolution remains on standby.

Yallop says Onstad has not got his due because he is in his first year in the league and has a low profile.

The Quakes coach, a former Canadian international, is a big believer in Onstad.

"I think he should be Canada's No. 1," Yallop said.

Onstad had a shot at the No. 1 job at the recent Gold Cup, with starter Lars Hirschfeld coming off a lengthy hamstring injury. But back spasms kept Onstad on the bench.

Yallop just celebrated his 35th win as San Jose coach, tying the club mark. The Quakes have the league's best record going into the break at 8-3-6, giving up just 20 goals in 17 games.

Onstad has played in 15 games, posting all eight wins. San Jose is 6-1-0 in games decided by one goal.

Still No. 78: Canada's poor showing at the recent Gold Cup did not impact the most recent FIFA rankings. The Canadian men remain at No. 78 in ratings released Wednesday, sandwiched between Angola and Qatar.

Gold Cup champion Mexico jumped five spots to No. 5. It's the first time the Mexicans have cracked the top five since May 1998.

Brazil remains atop the rankings, followed by France, Spain and the Netherlands.

Costa Rica, which lost to Canada but still made the semifinals of the Gold Cup, moved up one spot to No. 17. Cuba, which beat Canada before being blasted by the U.S. in the quarter-finals, jumped 10 places to No. 53.

Confederations Cup runner-up Cameroon moved up four places to No. 12, its highest ever ranking. Uruguay (No. 26, up five) and Zimbabwe (No. 50, up 11) also moved up the ladder.

Going the other way was Australia (No. 63, down 13).

Turf History: The Canadian women's soccer team has already hosted internationals on FieldTurf in Montreal and Ottawa. And the Canadian Soccer Association hopes to stage more on the surface should it receive the necessary government funding for a planned Toronto outdoor stadium.

It's not the first time Canada has played on artificial turf.

Soccer historian Colin Jose notes the Canadian men have played World Cup qualifying matches on artificial turf in the past, in 1976 and 1980.

Canada defeated Mexico 1-0 at Empire Stadium in Vancouver and lost 2-0 to the U.S. in Seattle's Kingdome, both in 1976. Four years later, the Canadians tied Mexico 1-1 at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium.

While FIFA is changing its mind on the new generation of artificial turf, many in soccer still like natural grass. And while many major teams have artificial turf training pitches for weather reasons, few play games on them. Case in point: Seattle's Seahawks Stadium has a brand new FieldTurf surface but was covered with natural grass for recent games between Manchester United and Celtic and the U.S. and Venezuela.

Notes: The Toronto Lynx have signed local defender-midfielder Paul Lewis, a 20-year-old who is a former captain of the Ontario provincial team ... The A-League team of the week includes Lynx goalie Theo Zagar, Montreal midfielder Ze Roberto and three Vancouver Whitecaps: defender Nico Craveiro and forwards Carlo Corazzin and Jason Jordan ... The W-League team of the week includes Vancouver forward Phebe Trotman ... The Ottawa Fury visit the defending W-League champion Boston Renegades on Thursday with the winner playing in the Eastern Conference championship. The Western Conference championship has Vancouver Whitecaps hosting the Seattle Sounders on Saturday ... Canadian striker Davide Xausa scored on a free kick in Livingston's 4-2 pre-season win over Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday ... Canadian defender Mark Rogers played in Second Division Wycombe's 3-1 win over West Ham ... Owen Hargreaves and Bayern Munich kick off their Bundesliga season Friday against Eintracht Frankfurt.

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