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    CHRONO SPORTS

  • Friday, June 2, 2000

    Double delight

    Big win, record crowd for Lynx

    By MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

      Brian Ashton, the longest-serving member of the Toronto Lynx soccer club, had trouble believing what he was seeing yesterday afternoon.

     Ashton, who has played many games in front of little more than 1,000 fans, looked to the Varsity Stadium stands and saw more fans than empty seats.

     A franchise-record crowd of 6,012 -- most of whom were kids playing hooky from school -- watched the Lynx improve to 4-0-1 with a 4-1 win over the Connecticut Wolves (0-8-2).

     The Lynx and the Minnesota Thunder (5-0-2) are the only undefeated squads in the 25-team A-League.

     "What a shock it was to see so many fans out there," Ashton, a midfielder who has been with the team since its inaugural game in 1997, said. "We knew there was expected to be a big crowd for (the school-day promotion), but until you see it you really don't know how many people are going to be there."

     The large crowd wasn't the only unusual aspect about yesterday's game.

     The Lynx, the second-lowest scoring team in the league last year, scored more than two goals for the first time this season.

     Lynx midfielder Lloyd Barker recorded the only first-half goal before Toronto's Nikola Vignjevic, Ashton and Aaron Benjamin scored consecutive goals during the second half.

     Wolves forward Eric Barbieri ended Lynx goaltender Theo Zagar's shutout bid in the 78th minute. Connecticut is winless in 16 games dating back to last season.

     "It was perfect," Barker said. "The kids were loud and there is nothing better than a great atmosphere. We had an excellent result that gives us five points (four for the win and an additional point for scoring more than two goals)."

     Toronto leads the Northeast Division by eight points over second-place Rochester Raging Rhinos.

     The Lynx return to action Sunday at 7:30 p.m. when they will play host to the 4-1-1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds.



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