- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2003

John Harkes got a set of golf clubs, a crystal figurine, a framed replica jersey, a banner hanging in his name and a victory in his final soccer game.

D.C. United fans finally got to see a goal at RFK Stadium — one scored by the opposing team, although United was the beneficiary.

A first-half own goal by Tottenham Hotspur defender Stephen Carr was the difference as United defeated the English Premier League club 1-0 last night in an exhibition before 14,028.

The game was a tribute and farewell to Harkes, who starred for United from 1996 to 1998 and was instrumental in winning friends and supporters for Major League Soccer. Until last night, United had played 200 scoreless minutes on East Capitol Street, a streak that still might be going except for Carr’s unwitting generosity.

The goal in the 30th minute resulted from confusion between Tottenham defenders Goran Bunjevcevic and Christian Ziege, who collided on a loose ball on the left flank. It squirted out to United midfielder Ben Olsen, who was positioned on the touch line. Olsen immediately crossed into the box and found 37-year-old United forward/player coach Hristo Stoitchkov.

From 8 yards in front of the goal, Stoitchkov attempted a toe poke with his left foot to the left post. Stoitchkov didn’t see Carr inside the 6-yard box, and Stoitchkov’s poke deflected off Carr’s right leg. Carr’s redirection caught Tottenham’s superstar American goalkeeper, Kasey Keller, out of position, and the ball rolled over the goal line inside the right post.

“It was one of those difficult things,” Keller said. “I would have easily had the ball, but obviously defenders aren’t going to just lift their foot and let it go from 8 yards out. That was a shame to have it kind of flick off one of our own guys and trickle into the net.”

This game was an audition of sorts for many of United’s players, especially the younger ones, to catch the eye of the English club and perhaps cash in playing in Europe.

“Bobby Convey has good acceleration, good pace, and looks as if he has a real will to improve,” Tottenham coach and former Spur legend Glen Hoddle said. “He’s somebody that caught the eye.”

Convey, United’s 19-year-old midfielder, had a great game. He made spirited runs down the flanks and executed a nice give-and-go with teammate Santino Quaranta in the 11th minute.

“If anybody can show me a better footballer in that park than our own Bobby Convey, then I’ll call you an idiot,” United coach Ray Hudson said.

Convey and Quaranta, 18, played a nice two-man game in Tottenham’s third of the field. Convey played the ball off the right flank into Quaranta, who was about 30 yards out. Quaranta dribbled in to the top of the 18-yard box and slid the ball back to Convey, who had badly beaten Tottenham defender Ledley King.

From 8 yards out, Convey struck the ball with the outside of his left foot, and his shot ended up in the side netting instead of in the goal.

United’s three-man back line of Mike Petke, Ryan Nelsen, and Galin Ivanov played well, with Ivanov making his first start for the team.


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