A LACK of scoring is often cited as a hurdle to soccer's becoming popular with spectators in the United States. Having the World Cup tournament in the US next year may not be enough to overcome a paucity of goals.
Two recent outings by the US national team yielded little in the way of TV highlights. Games against Russia and Hungary resulted in scoreless ties. These and other contests have sunk the Americans' record in recent international play to 0-3-6 since Jan. 30. and underlined that ties are a common occurrence in the sport.
If this strikes meat-and-potatoes American fans as off-putting and peculiar, it doesn't appear to bother the converted, judging by World Cup ticket sales.
By last week, all but two of eight tournament sites had sold out the tickets allocated for the American "soccer family" - those who are registered with the US Soccer Federation or have attended national team games during the past year. Fifteen percent of the overall US allotment of nearly 2 million tickets has been made available in a private sale to this group. The supply of these tickets for first- and second-round games (at from $25 to $70 per ticket) has been exhausted in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles , New York-New Jersey, San Francisco, and Washington. Detroit and Orlando, Fla., haven't sold out yet. The general public sale begins on a not-yet-determined date in June. Superlative gesture by a Super player
Three cheers for Troy Aikman, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, whose generosity since the Super Bowl is as impressive as his performance was in it. The championship game's most valuable player gave $20,000 to his former high school in Henryetta, Okla., to be used toward a new sports facility. At the dedication of the Troy Aikman Sports Center at Henryetta High School, he said his contribution "was no more significant than any other person who donated time or money. It just happens I was able to provide
a little more because of my means." Mavericks try to dodge `worst ever' bullet
Until recently, the Dallas Mavericks were on a collision course with pro-basketball infamy. But just when it appeared they were a lock to finish with the National Basketball Association's worst-ever record, the Mavs have sprung to life - helped by the late-season signing of top draft choice Jim Jackson. After winning just four of its first 61 games, Dallas has won three more, giving the team hope it might avoid breaking the league's old mark for ineptitude of 9-73, recorded by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76 ers.
The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, are a glamour team in partial eclipse. By the middle of last week, they had suffered a franchise record fifth straight home loss and were 17 games behind the Pacific Division-leading Phoenix Suns. That puts them in a tight race with the cross-town Clippers to see which will be the better of Los Angeles's middlin' NBA entries. Michigan's dubious basketball fashion
The almost laughably loose shorts worn by the University of Michigan players may be the worst current fashion statement in men's college basketball. The Wolverines have taken the roomy look popularized by Michael Jordan to new lows - the shorts sometimes appear ready to fall off. And by wearing black socks during the postseason tournament they added yet another questionable touch - one out of step with the school's more dignified athletic traditions. The oversize style supposedly began when Jordan reache d the pros and decided to wear his old North Carolina shorts under those of the Chicago Bulls. Mayor in step with Boston sports
Has an elected official ever had his local sports credentials in better order than Ray Flynn, the nine-year Boston mayor who has accepted President Clinton's call to head for the Vatican as United States ambassador? Before taking up residence overseas, Flynn may run the Boston Marathon again next month. He's run before and is in training again. Less well known is Flynn's connection to another of the city's hallowed sports institutions - basketball's Celtics. Though not drafted by the club after a colleg e career at Providence (R.I.) College, he tried out with the team and was the last player cut in 1964.