World Cup ticket buyers can count on luck of Irish MSL notebook


World Cup tickets will go on sale in July. Given the frenzy over soccer worldwide, getting a ticket might not be easy. And getting a ticket for the games at RFK Stadium, which seats 55,300, might be harder than most.

But the Washington region organizers have struck a deal with the World Cup ticket committee. They will give the committee a priority list of 20,000 names to receive ticket-order forms in advance.

Who are the 20,000?

"They're the first 20,000 who order tickets for the May 30 game here against Ireland," said Emilio Pozzi, game director for the U.S. national team game at RFK Stadium. "We need to have a strong showing at this game to have a chance at the World Cup opener in 1994."

The May 30 game kicks off U.S. Cup 1992, a round-robin among the United States, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. World Cup-Washington plans to make it a small, but special opening-game celebration.

Included in the plans is a tour of Baltimore for Alan Rothenberg, World Cup USA 1994 chairman, whose group will have input into FIFA's determining which games are awarded to which site. Rothenberg has tentatively accepted the invitations of Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt Schmoke to tour Baltimore May 29, to get a feeling for the area in terms of the region's proposal for the city to host the FIFA Congress, if Washington gets the World Cup opener.

Anyone wanting tickets can call TicketMaster or contact the sales group at (202) 544-6567.

* HARBORING WISDOM: When Jean Harbor came to the Blast, many wondered how he and coach Kenny Cooper would get along.

Both have egos based on great successes. One is a free spirit, the other a disciplinarian. Yet the expected eruption has never come.

Why not?

"Jean had good coaching in college and with the Bays," Cooper said. "He has a lot of skill and we're able to sit down, without tension, look each other in the eye and say what we think. I think we've formed a friendship. We want to improve together."

For his part, Harbor said many of the free-spirited things he may have gotten away with as a member of the Maryland Bays -- tardiness to practice among them -- have never been at issue with the Blast.

"When I played with the Bays, it was not my full-time job," Harbor said. "It was what I did after work. The Blast is my livelihood. "My relationship with Kenny is kind of like the relationship I have with my father. My father takes no nonsense from me and neither does Kenny. I appreciate that. I know if you report to work early and if you do what you are told, you have no problems. It's called being a professional and it is very important."

* NOGUIERA'S SECRET? A lot of goalkeepers and field players would like to know the secret to San Diego goalkeeper Victor Noguiera's incredible performance the last two seasons. Noguiera attributed it to two things this week, but whether you believe him is up to you. "I always play scared," he said. "And I always close my eyes on shots and hope the ball hits my body." Does anyone buy that?

* WEEK'S BEST: Dallas forward David Doyle, who had six goals and four assists in two games, is the MSL's Offensive Player of the Week, while Wichita's Danny Pena is the Defensive Player of the Week. Pena made two crucial saves in back-to-back overtime wins.

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