Gorsek or Manning? Storm's Popovic to decide

November 06, 1991|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Evening Sun Staff

St. Louis coach Don Popovic said late last night he has a hard choice to make -- but is delighted.

"All my coaching career I have been blessed with goalkeepers," he said. "I've never had to think much about them. First it was Shep Messing and then it was Zoltan Toth.

"Now I have to decide on a new one and I am blessed again in that I must choose between two of the best -- Scott Manning and Jim Gorsek."

Manning, 34, of course, played the last 10 years with the Blast and is recognized as one of the premier keepers in the league. Gorsek, 38, played five years in San Diego, before playing one season for Los Angeles and the last two in Kansas City.

Popovic said his decision, which at first seemed simple -- his first inclination was to sign Manning -- has now become complicated.

"I think, in the long run, Manning is the best keeper," Popovic said. "But in terms of immediate results, Gorsek may have the edge, because he has played with many of my players -- either in San Diego or Kansas City. They know him, so the adjustment may be quicker.

"If it was the start of the season with training camp ahead, there would be no question. Manning would be here. But now I must choose between them."

Popovic said he would have a meeting with assistant coach Fernando Clavijo after practice this afternoon and try to make a decision.

Manning said last night he is not worried either way.

"It is a nice opportunity Don Popovic has presented to me," Manning said. "If it works out, that would be nice. But I have no control over the decision-making process, so I can't worry about it."

Manning is working as an assistant soccer coach at Loyola College and working on his MBA degree.

Popovic said he knows "Manning has been unbelievable for so many years in this league, but now there is the confusion with Gorsek, because so many of my players know him well. I don't know who I will pick, but I will pick one, [today] or Thursday."

The Storm faces Wichita in St. Louis Friday. Popovic said he is comfortable with current keeper Slobo Ilijevski in goal until he settles on a No. 1 keeper.

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