Trade talks have cooled around the Baltimore Blast these days and coach Kenny Cooper is prepared to play with the hand he dealt himself before the season.
"The only trade I would like to make now is some L's for W's," Cooper said yesterday after the Blast completed preparations for weekend games at the Baltimore Arena against the Tacoma Stars (today at 3:05 p.m.) and Chico Borja and the Wichita Wings (tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.).
Facing Tacoma and Wichita back-to-back promises to be an emotional weekend for the Blast (14-13).
Tacoma defeated Baltimore, 5-3, on Dec. 9 at the Arena, and the Stars are 3-0 against the Blast this season. In that 5-3 victory, there was little question that Tacoma played more as a team than Baltimore did.
"Tacoma beat us because no one cares who scores the goals for them," said Blast midfielder Tim Wittman after that game.
Baltimore's leading scorer Billy Ronson (23 goals, 23 assists) alsosaid the Blast has lacked team play at times this season.
"When we play as a team, no one can beat us," said Ronson. "We get disgusted sometimes when things go wrong, and we've let some games slip away in overtime that we should have won in regulation [the Blast is 4-5 in overtime and 6-8 overall in one-goal games]."
Twenty-four hours after tackling the Stars, the Blast must face Borjaand the Wings.
Borja crashed into Blast goalkeeper Scott Manning last Friday night in Wichita, Kan., putting Manning out with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
It is the third time in less than two years Borja has knocked a Blast player out of action (Manning in April 1989 and Wittman in May 1989).