BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 9. IT'S almost like looking at a stranger in your own home. The much-improved U.S. men's team, barely resembling the young and inexperienced squad inherited by Ratko Rudic in 2001, lost a close game to Yugoslavia, 5-3, in the Unicum Cup today.
The narrow margin of loss to the reigning European Champion and the team's defeat of defending gold medalist Hungary last month are the latest indicators of both a swift turnaround for the U.S. and a ray of
sunshine as the team prepares for the 2002 World Cup which begins August 25 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
The U.S. fought a hard game against Yugoslavia, the bronze medalist at the 2000 Olympics, keeping the lid on a volatile Yugoslavian offense with one exception: Alexandar Sapic.
Sapic, the perennial scoring machine for Yugoslavia, connected for four goals on the day. Vladamir Vujasinovic accounted for the other Yugoslavian goal.
It took all four quarters for Yugoslavia to put the feisty U.S. team away. Sapic's goal with 3:52 remaining in the game provided Yugoslavia with an insurance goal, setting the score at 5-3, and effectively putting a nail in the U.S. coffin. Team
USA was able to draw an exclusion a minute later, but failed to convert and finished 1-for-4 on the man-up.
Ryan Bailey buried two goals on the day for Team USA, one from center. Dan Klatt, who is playing with a cracked rib, scored the other goal for the U.S. Tony Azevedo did not play and was allowed to rest for the late game against Italy.
United States 1 0 2 0 — 3
Yugoslavia 2 0 2 1 — 5
USA: Bailey 2, Klatt 1
Yugoslavia: Sapic 4, Vujasinovic 1
Man Advantage Scoring
USA: 1 for 4
Yugoslavia: 1 for 4
Date Time Team vs. Team
August 9 4:00 p.m. Australia vs. Germany
5:15 p.m. USA vs. Italy
6:30 p.m. Hungary vs. Yugoslavia
August 10 4:00 p.m. Italy vs. Germany
5:15 p.m. Yugoslavia vs. Italy
6:30 p.m. USA vs. Hungary
August 11 4:00 p.m. Germany vs. Yugoslavia
5:15 p.m. Australia vs. USA
6:30 p.m. Hungary vs. Italy
* All times local Budapest time.