Socker's Newman says U.S. top indoors

SOCCER

January 06, 1991|By BILL FREE

San Diego Sockers coach Ron Newman said last week that the rest of the world soon should realize that indoor soccer is truly an American sport.

"They don't understand that we've perfected this game," said Newman after the Major Soccer League's St. Louis Storm won a two-day Federation Internationale de Football Association-sponsored indoor tournament in Zurich, Switzerland. "This is our sport, and we should really do something big with it. I'm not putting down outdoor soccer, but indoor soccer is the American game."

The Storm won the tournament, featuring six teams from five countries (United States, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Switzerland), with a 3-1-1 record.

Yugoslavia's Dinamo Zagreb was the pre-tournament favorite but finished third to the Storm. Preki (two goals, seven assists) led the Storm, and goalkeeper Zoltan Toth had a 3-0 record.

A month ago, the Baltimore Blast went to Manchester, England, and defeated Oldham Athletic, 6-1, in an indoor exhibition game.

Oldham Athletic is a top Second Division outdoor team in the English League and was installed as the favorite by the British bookmakers to defeat the Blast.

Newman said his Sockers also were underdogs to a talented Soviet outdoor team (Dynamo Kiev) that came to San Diego in 1985.

"We were put down before that game because Dynamo Kiev was considered the best team in Europe," Newman said. "But they couldn't match our indoor skills and we won, 6-4. I even held the score down to keep things interesting."

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Blast general manager John Borozzi said he will meet with Centre Management this week in an attempt to resolve the carpet problems at the Baltimore Arena.

Borozzi said, "I want to sit down and talk about something that will be amenable for all parties [the Blast, Centre Management, the MSL and the carpet manufacturer]."

Centre Management took over ownership of the 7-year-old carpet last summer and is responsible for maintaining it. Borozzi said $30,000 has been spent over the past three weeks to sew the carpet in an attempt to have it meet MSL standards. But the Blast general manager said he is beginning to believe a new carpet may have to be purchased, at a cost of $80,000, to satisfy the MSL.

It soon will be a year since the Blast traded popular David Byrne the Wichita Wings, and some of the controversy has died down.

But after some initial success last season with the Wings, thsituation is not too bright for Byrne this season.

Byrne missed six games with a sore right foot early in the seasoafter playing hurt in several games. He has two goals and two assists in 14 games, with one of those goals coming against the Blast on Dec. 29 in a 5-4 Wings overtime victory in Wichita.

In addition to the injury, Byrne has been held back becausWichita still is basically a two-man offensive team of Chico Borja and Dale Ervine.

Borja and Ervine get most of the shots, and the offense has beebuilt around them.

Blast coach Kenny Cooper said, "It's hard for anybody to breathrough that Borja-Ervine domination in Wichita, and Chico Borja isn't the easiest guy to live with."

Byrne won the hearts of Baltimore fans in the fourth quarter oGame 7 of the 1988-89 championship series against the Sockers when he entered the game as a sixth attacker and helped lead a four-goal comeback that fell one goal short.

Times also aren't so good for two other members (Kai Haaskivi and Mike Sweeney) of that 1988-89 Blast team that lost to the Sockers, 6-5, in Game 7.

Haaskivi was fired Dec. 29 as head coach of the ClevelanCrunch, ending his unsuccessful 1 1/2 years with the expansion team (25-46).

Haaskivi, who had a two-year player-coach contract, will continue to play for the Crunch. But even playing has been difficult this season for Haaskivi, who missed 11 games because of knee surgery and is out with a groin pull.

Haaskivi has played in only three games this season and has no points.

Sweeney has been put on the trading block by the Crunch after speaking out against Haaskivi before he was fired.

Sweeney (six goals, eight assists in 17 games) told Crunch officials that Haaskivi is the "problem" with the team.

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Italia 90, a videocassette that shows all 125 goals that were scored in the 1990 World Cup, is available from Trace Video Sports Club, Jim Higginson, P.O. Box 1167, Natchez, Miss. 39121.

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One of the reasons Dale Mitchell may not be scoring more goals for the Blast this season is the number of shots he is getting.

Before Friday night's game in Dallas, Mitchell (17 goals, 10 assists) had taken 82 shots. Scoring leader Billy Ronson (17 goals, 21 assists) had 115 shots.

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