For 31 games, Dale Mitchell has been silent about the state of affairs for the inconsistent Baltimore Blast.
But after a one-hour team meeting yesterday in which players were invited by coach Kenny Cooper to air their gripes, Mitchell hinted it was time for the Blast to change its offensive strategy.
"Right now, our offense is spread around among a lot of guys," said Mitchell. "That's fine if you're winning, but we're a .500 team now [actually 16-15]."
Mitchell, fourth on the all-time Major Soccer League scoring list with 343 goals and 225 assists, stopped short of saying Baltimore should start getting him the ball more often.
"I'm not saying they should go to me more," said Mitchell, who is second (112 shots) behind Billy Ronson (161 shots) this season. "I'm just saying things haven't been going so well for us at times."
Ronson (25 goals, 26 assists) leads the Blast in scoring, and Mitchell (24 goals, 19 assists) is third. Domenic Mobilio (32 goals, 17 assists) is second.
During the meeting yesterday in the aftermath of back-to-back losses to Cleveland (9-3) and San Diego (7-5) last weekend, midfielders Tim Wittman and Richard Chinapoo said that some players were being "too individualistic."
Blast captain Bruce Savage said the Blast usually loses because of a critical mistake at the end of a game.
"It's never the same person or mistake," said Savage. "That's what makes it so frustrating. We can't put our finger on it."
Goalkeeper Scott Manning said there is no dissension on the team, but there are disagreements.
"This is the real world," said Manning. "This isn't a Utopia. We have players from different parts of the world and different parts of the United States. Everybody looks at things differently, but I see that as an healthy exchange of ideas."
NOTES: The Blast has announced a new halftime promotion -- "Blast Bucks" nights at all remaining home games beginning Feb. 10. Three to five fans will be selected from the stands to get in a money machine and grab as much money -- bills which will be swirling around inside the machine -- as possible in 30 seconds to one minute. . . . Blast general manager John Borozzi said yesterday the team and Centre Management have agreed on the financial terms to purchase an $81,000 carpet for the Baltimore Arena. Borozzi said all that's left is signing the contract and deciding whether to install the carpet in the next 60 days or wait until after the season, when the job could be done more easily because of more open dates.