Cleveland midfielder Mike Sweeney, who spent the 1988-89 season with the Blast, will not play for the Crunch tonight against San Diego because of "irreconcilable differences."
Sweeney is listed on the Crunch's 18-man roster, but he has been taken off the active list. "He is not playing, not practicing, not dressing. He is not in our plans," coach Kai Haaskivi said last night.
Sweeney says the reason is because he criticized Haaskivi during two team meetings. Said Haaskivi: "I am the coach and I am trying to make the team better. If that is a sin, then I'm guilty as charged."
The Crunch is 6-12; 2-10 on the road. "The papers out here have had me fired three or four times already," Haaskivi said.
Around the Major Soccer League the view is that Sweeney is not a positive influence on a team.
"Mike is a strongly opinionated young man," Blast coach Kenny Cooper said before last night's 6-5 win over Dallas. "Sometimes you can't discuss things with him and you can't change his mind."
Cooper said that he received a call from Cleveland general manager Al Miller concerning a trade, but that he is not interested. Miller used the term "irreconcilable differences" concerning Sweeney and is determined to trade him.
A trade that would have sent Sweeney to San Diego for former Blast defender Glen Carbonara fell through after Sockers president Ron Cady spoke to Sweeney. "I think we got cold feet, because Mike let it be known he didn't really want to come here," said Sockers spokesman Jim Morehouse.
Sweeney wants to stay with Cleveland despite the controversy.
"There is a lot of pressure on Kai," Sweeney said. "And under the circumstances, I might do the same thing. But there are a lot of real problems with this team -- a lack of confidence, morale, motivation -- and this move won't change anything for long."
Haaskivi said he is moving forward with his team. Asked what he will do if no one will trade for Sweeney, Haaskivi said, "I'll have to cross that bridge when it comes up."