MLS to open missing a few big-name players

Jerry Langdon
Date Published: 
USA Today

Major League Soccer officials are expecting only a few key players to be unavailable for opening games because of other commitments.

The New York/New Jersey MetroStars are missing the midfield tandem of Tab Ramos and Roberto Donadoni.

Ramos is playing in the Mexican first division, and Donadoni is starting with first-place AC Milan in Italy.

Midfielder Mike Sorber of Kansas City and midfielder-defender Marcelo Balboa of Colorado also are also playing in the Mexican first division. Forward Hugo Sanchez of Dallas is playing with Linz (Austria).

San Jose midfielder Henry Gutierrez (Cleveland of the NPSL) and Kansas City goalie Pat Harrington (Buffalo) are involved in the National Professional Soccer League playoffs. Once their teams are eliminated, they will become available.

Washington and San Jose open the season Saturday night in San Jose, Calif. The other eight teams begin play the following weekend. A preview:


Tampa Bay Mutiny

Coach: Thomas Rongen. Field: Tampa Stadium.

Key players: M Martin Vasquez, M Carlos Valderrama, F Roy Lassiter, D Cle Kooiman. Key prospect: M Evans Wise.

Outlook: Valderrama and Vasquez experienced at midfield. Lassiter and F Peter Hatttrup and Wise goal-scorers. Kooiman physical on defense. D Frank Yallop has 12 years' experience in England. GK Mark Dougherty strong. D Steve Pittman, an American playing in Scotland, likely addition.