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© St. Petersburg Times, published October 21, 2002

Ruiz's OT goal gives L.A. the MLS title

Ruiz's OT goal gives L.A. the MLS title

League MVP Carlos Ruiz scored in the 23rd minute of overtime Sunday to give the Los Angeles Galaxy its first Major League Soccer title with a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution after double overtime in Foxboro, Mass.

The Galaxy had lost in three previous MLS title games. New England was playing in its first, but it had the advantage of playing in its home stadium in front of a championship game record crowd of 61,316.

After 112 scoreless minutes, a breakaway ended Revolution goalkeeper Adin Brown's bid for a fifth shutout in seven playoff games. Tyrone Marshall brought the ball downfield with Ruiz on his left and one defender, Rusty Pierce, to beat. Marshall crossed to Ruiz, who left-footed a shot over Brown's legs and into the far side of the net.

The game was seven minutes from entering a shootout.

Ruiz, the league's leading goal scorer in the regular season, was selected MVP of the longest title game in league history.

Los Angeles goalie Kevin Hartman was rarely tested.

Two of the Galaxy's three MLS Cup losses were in Foxboro, including the inaugural event in 1996, when D.C. United won 3-2 in overtime. Los Angeles also lost in '99 and 2001.

Ruiz had several chances to win Sunday's game, including a couple in overtime as the teams belatedly offered a flurry of offense before the winning shot.

In the 12th minute of OT, he tried a bicycle kick that bounced off Brown's head.

Ruiz took a pass from Peter Vagenas at the penalty spot in the 20th minute of overtime, but Brown dived to his left to get a hand on it and knocked it away. New England's Winston Griffiths followed with a deflected shot that went off the crossbar in the 22nd minute. Soon after, Ruiz ended it.

The teams played to a scoreless tie after a half -- the first time that's happened in the MLS Cup's seven-year history.

Ruiz had a game-high five shots on goal -- New England had one -- including chances in the 12th and 17th minute as he pressured the defense.

"In any game, you're going to have opportunities when you miss some and you make some," Ruiz said. "The thing is, we created those opportunities. Luckily, I was able to capitalize on one of those and make the difference."

* * *

MORE SOCCER: U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena said he is hopeful he will have a new contract within the next few weeks after rejecting proposals from MLS clubs.

FREE DIVING: In Nice, France, Loic Leferme plunged to a depth of 535 feet and returned to the surface on a single breath to set a record, a week after Audrey Mestre died in the Caribbean trying to break a different diving record. Leferme remained under water for 3 minutes, 35 seconds as he surpassed the mark of 525 feet set by American Tanya Streeter in August.

RUNNING: Sergey Fedotov of Russia beat Columbus' Jim Jurcevich by 12 seconds to win the Columbus Marathon in Ohio in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 5 seconds. Lyudmyla Pushkina of Ukraine won the women's division in a course-record 2:28:23. Albina Ivanova of Russia was second in 2:29:58. ... Ryan Kirkpatrick won the Army Ten-Miler in 48:35:00 in Arlington, Va. The first lieutenant in the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program beat more than 18,000 entrants in the world's largest 10-mile road race. The race was run under tight security because of the Washington-area sniper. Runners and spectators went through security checkpoints to get to the starting and finishing lines at the Pentagon.

COLLEGES: In women's soccer, Tampa tied host Lynn 2-2 after double overtime, South Florida beat host Houston 3-2 and host Florida beat Georgia 1-0 in overtime. ... In women's volleyball, host Florida beat Arkansas 3-0. ... In women's golf, Florida finished third at the Collegiate Championship hosted by Tennessee with a score of 911. Auburn was first at 899. UF's Amanda Dick of Clearwater shot a three-round 220 to finish tied for third. North Carolina's Ashley Prange won with 218.

HIGH SCHOOLS: Most Texas school districts don't have problems with athletes using steroids and don't want statewide testing, according to a survey released in Austin, Texas, and conducted by the University Interscholastic League, the governing body of Texas high school sports. TENNIS: Andre Agassi claimed his record 15th Masters Series title when Jiri Novak withdrew from the Madrid final with a groin injury. Agassi moved within 43 points of No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the ATP Champions Race.

... Lindsay Davenport lost 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 to Patty Schnyder at the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich. ... Maja Matevzic won her first WTA Tour title by beating Iveta Benesova 6-0, 6-1 at the VUB Open in Bratislava, Slovakia. ... Japanese duo Goichi Motomura and Akiko Morigami claimed wild-card entries to the 2003 Australian Open with a victory at the Asian Tennis Championship.

HORSES: Graded stakes winner Saint Ballado was euthanized in Nicholasville, Ky., after surgery. He was the 13-year-old son of Halo. ... Lido Palace, the odds-on favorite, posted a half-length victory in an allowance feature at Belmont Park. ... French Riviera, a 19-1 shot, cruised to a 51/2-length victory in the $125,000 Grade III Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. ... Puxa Saco beat Forest Native by 1 length in the $81,600 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.

OLYMPICS: The USOC will debate CEO Lloyd Ward's membership in Augusta National Golf Club at the Nov. 1 meeting of its executive committee, officials said, raising the prospect of Ward facing the choice of keeping his job or his golf membership. Ward has publicly declared that he hopes to work for change from within Augusta National, the site of the Masters that does not permit women to become members. ... Five-time U.S. pairs figure skating champion Kyoko Ina faces a suspension of four years to life from the International Skating Union for refusing a drug test last summer.

POWERBOATS: Hugh Fuller of Clearwater and John Tomlinson of Miami drove Drambuie on Ice to the national Super Cat title in the final offshore race in Freeport, Bahamas, averaging 104.8 mph.

BOXING: Anthony Thompson won his 13th consecutive fight, stopping Zuri Lawrence in the seventh round of their heavyweight bout at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash.

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