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  • Saturday, May 6, 2000

    Forrest to miss Canada's opening World Cup qualifying games

    By NEIL DAVIDSON -- Canadian Press

      TORONTO -- Canada will have to survive the first hurdle on its road to the 2002 World Cup without first-string goalkeeper Craig Forrest.

      The Canadian Soccer Association said Saturday that the West Ham veteran will be out five to six weeks after a hernia operation scheduled for Monday.

      That means the six-foot-five, 205-pound Forrest will miss the home-and-away World Cup qualifying playoff against either Barbados or Cuba. The first leg is slated for June 4 with the return match either June 11 or 18 in Winnipeg.

      Forrest, 32, will also miss exhibition games May 27 against Trinidad and Tobago in Toronto and May 30 against Honduras in Winnipeg.

      Canada needs to win the playoff to advance to the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying that begins in July.

      Forrest has not played for West Ham since April 12 so news of his surgery is not altogether unexpected. But the injury comes at a bad time for Canada, considering that No. 2 'keeper Pat Onstad is coming off knee surgery and has seen little or no serious action this season with Dundee United.

      The good news is that officials at the Scottish club say Onstad's recovery is ahead of schedule.

      Onstad has nine shutouts in 23 appearances for the national team.

      Canadian coach Holger Osieck also has Olympic team goalies Mike Franks and Lars Hirshfeld at his disposal. Franks, who plays for PSV Eindhoven's reserve team in the Netherlands, has posted four shutouts in his last five games with the under-23 team.

      But Forrest's absence will hurt, no matter who steps in. He holds Canadian goalie records for caps (52) and shutouts (17). He was named MVP, outstanding goalie and an all-star at the February Gold Cup, where he allowed just three goals in five games and stopped two penalties.

      He is the second Canadian international to go under the knife because of a hernia. Nottingham Forest defender Jim Brennan had the same surgery recently.

    ------

      The Canadian women's team faces the world champion Americans today in the final of the Nike U.S. Women's Cup in Portland, Ore.

      Canada, with Nicci Wright registering the shutout and Andrea Neil scoring the goal, advanced with a 1-0 victory over South Korea 1-0 on Friday night. Striker Silvana Burtini, returning from a serious knee injury sustained last August, played the second half.

      The U.S., featuring a blend of World Cup veterans and new players, thumped Mexico 8-0.

      Canada is 1-19-0 against the Americans, who have won this tournament all six years it has been held. But the Canadian women gave the Americans a scare last June in Portland, in a World Cup warmup, when Charmaine Hooper scored twice in a 4-2 loss to the US.

      American midfielder Kristine Lilly is expected to earn a record 200th international cap in today's game.

      Notes: Canadian Davide Xausa scored in Inverness Caledonian Thistle's 5-0 win over St. Mirren in Scottish First Division play Saturday ... Vancouver striker Carlo Corazzin's club, Northampton Town, has won promotion to the English Second Division. But Corazzin may be on the move in the off-season when he becomes a free agent.



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