Youth National Team Players Shine on MLS Opening Day 2001
CHICAGO (Monday, April 9, 2001) - MLS kicked off its sixth season on Saturday, and the league continued to show its importance in the development of young players. Five U.S. Soccer Youth National Team players saw action on the opening weekend, with Bobby Convey and DaMarcus Beasley helping to secure clutch results for their squads.
D.C. United midfielder Convey opened his second professional season in style, scoring his first professional goal and leading United to a 3-2 home opener win against the defending MLS Cup champions K.C. Wizards. Convey scored in the 33rd minute to level the score at 1-1, before being replaced in the 80th minute after dislocating the pinky finger on his right hand.
Chicago Fire midfielder Beasley continued his fine play in 2001, setting up the Fire's only goal in the 16th minute and helping the MLS Cup 2000 runner-ups secure a point on the road in their opener against the Columbus Crew.
Beasley's Under-20 teammate Edson Buddle started for the Crew and played a solid 72 minutes up top in the draw, forcing a save from Zach Thornton in the 60th minute. Buddle, at 19 yrs., 10 mos., 17 days, became the youngest Crew player ever to appear in an MLS match.
San Jose forward Landon Donovan made his much-awaited MLS debut on Saturday, although his rib injury relegated him to the bench for the start of the match. Donovan came on as a sub in the 73rd minute, playing the final 17 minutes of the Earthquakes' surprise 3-2 away win over the L.A. Galaxy.
Tampa Bay Mutiny forward Devin Barclay came on in the 85th minute of the Mutiny's 4-2 win over the Dallas Burn Saturday.
Earlier in the week, three U.S. YNT players saw action in the first leg of the CONCACAF Giants Cup quarterfinals on April 4. D.C. United midfielder Santino Quaranta came off the bench in the 68th minute in the club's 3-0 win against Arnett Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica. Convey started the match and played 68 minutes, assisting on the game winner in the 39th minute, and Buddle came on as a sub in the Crew's 2-0 loss to CD Saprissa.