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U.S. will wait on injury news

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

SEOUL, South Korea -- Earnie Stewart might be out. Claudio Reyna could be back.

Stewart, one of the Americans' outside midfielders, helped build a 3-0 lead against Portugal, then came out at halftime with a strained left groin. Reyna, the captain, missed the game because of a strained right quadriceps.

"Both are making progress, but we will wait and see," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "We are going to plan on them not being ready, and we will see over the next couple of days."

Cobi Jones, who played the second half Wednesday, likely would replace Stewart. Pablo Mastroeni, who did appear in a qualifier, played in place of Reyna.

BALL ISSUES: The United States complained during Wednesday's game that some of the balls were underinflated. Several times, players tossed balls out and asked for substitutes. Before the tournament, players on several teams said balls were much livelier than those used around the world.

Also, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, urged the U.S. team to make sure it plays with balls not made with child labor. Global March Against Child Labor has accused FIFA of ignoring children who are exploited in India, Pakistan and China.

RATINGS: The victory had the largest audience ever for a soccer game on ESPN2, an average of 998,000 households. The previous high was 834,000 for France's victory over Italy in the 1998 semifinals.

Through 10 telecasts, ESPN2 is averaging 496,200 households, up from 292,000 for 23 games four years ago, when ESPN2 was received by far fewer homes. ESPN's three games averaged 447,000, down from the 670,000 for 27 games in 1998.

OFFENSIVE BOOST: Striker Ivan Kaviedes likely will be in Ecuador's lineup Sunday against Mexico. He would replace midfielder Alex Aguinaga, who is nursing a muscle injury. An emphasis on defense left Kaviedes out of the lineup in a 2-0 loss to Italy.

DOWN A MAN: Slovenia's all-time leading scorer, Zlatko Zahovic, was thrown off the team for insulting his coach and team officials after being taken out of Sunday's game.

SECURITY TIGHTENED: Police will mobilize more than 7,000 officers for today's Argentina-England game as a precaution against hooligans. They also are considering a citywide ban on the sale of alcohol. Many shops in Sapporo, Japan, are expected to close for the day.

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