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Sports > Mariners
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Mariners come on strong in 2nd half and gain a tie
By TRIS WYKES, The Virginian-Pilot
© June 29, 2002

VIRGINIA BEACH -- The Hampton Roads Mariners haven't exactly been the Comeback Kids this season, but they rallied Friday for a 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers at the Sportsplex. Only once before had the Mariners (2-9-2) earned a point after spotting an opponent the lead. So it didn't look good when Portland went up 1-0 early before an announced crowd of 1,070. But Hampton Roads turned up the heat after intermission, outshooting the visitors 11-3 over the final 65 minutes and 18-9 in the game. The Mariners equalized on Rich Hansen's goal in the 86th minute. ``I'm not happy but we did well to fight back,'' said Mariners coach Shawn McDonald, whose team plays at Atlanta tonight. ``I'll take the point and run and we'll try to win one tomorrow.'' The Mariners' scoring play began when Darren Warham sent a long ball into the right side of the Timbers' box. Sean-Michael Callahan leapt and headed it across the goal face to Hansen at the left post. A central defender who'd moved upfield with the play, Hansen had enough time and composure to drop the pass from his chest to his feet before sending a blast by goalkeeper Matt Napoleon. Hansen, who only became a starter this month, also scored Wednesday to give Hampton Roads a 1-0 victory in a second-round U.S. Open Cup game. The Mariners host the New York/New Jersey MetroStars July 17 at the Sportsplex in a third-round contest. Friday's game began with Portland (4-7-3) missing a prime scoring chance in the second minute when the ball rolled along the lip of the Mariners' goal. Hampton Roads goalkeeper Taly Goode, playing his first game on loan from Kansas City of MLS, made three outstanding saves in the first 32 minutes. Portland scored in the 16th minute when Greg Howes was allowed to drive through the center of the Mariners' defense and tuck a 25-yard blast inside the left post. ``I was a little disappointed that no one stepped up or put more pressure on him,'' said McDonald, whose team has been outscored 28-13 in A-League play. In the midst of a brutal stretch that features eight games in 16 days, the Mariners should know by its end whether their feeble playoff hopes are dead or alive. But McDonald has said that his players need to focus on daily improvement rather than the standings, and emphasized the positive Friday. ``There's no question we need wins and to gain ground,'' he said. ``But given our record, it was important tonight that we come out with a tie instead of a loss and get at least something for it.''

Notes: The Mariners' game tonight at Atlanta will be Jeff Dominguez's last with the team this season. The starting midfielder and fan favorite leaves Monday to play in Germany. . . . McDonald said goalkeeper Tim Figureido, a former Old Dominion player and Bahamas national team member, was released Friday after several poor performances in the last month. . . . Dwayne Bergeron, a Mariners defender and midfielder, said he was also released Friday and will finish the season with the Carolina Dynamo of the D3 Pro League. Bergeron, who started last Saturday against Seattle, said he believes South African midfielder Jerome McCarthy will soon take his roster slot.

McDonald said McCarthy has been training with Hampton Roads for a week while he seeks international clearance to play in the A-League. .. Bergeron's release means 15 of the 28 players pictured in the team's game program are no longer with the franchise. It will rise to 16 with Dominguez's departure... McDonald said defender Daouda Kante is being returned to D3 Wilmington (N.C.) because he was unable to beat out any Mariners starters. Kante, a 2002 first-round MLS draft pick of D.C. United, played 49 minutes in a month with Hampton Roads... Ricardo Villar, a frequent Mariners starter, began Friday's game on the bench. His spot was taken by newly acquired Darin Lewis, who played with New York/New Jersey of MLS until last week. Lewis played seven A-League games for Portland last season without recording a point... Mariners goalkeeper Joe Larson and fullback Gabe Eastman sat out Friday's game with injuries. Larson has a pulled quadriceps muscle and Eastman a strained groin... Portland became the fourth Mariners' opponent to stage a play-by-play radio broadcast from the Sportsplex. Charleston, Rochester and Pittsburgh were the first three... Hampton Roads is 0-6-2 at home... Portland forward Fadi Afash had an eight-game scoring streak snapped.

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