Powers fails to beat odds or Sidekicks

December 16, 1991|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Evening Sun Staff

To say that the odds were stacked against Blast goalkeeper Steve Powers Saturday night would be an understatement.

Powers had never played in an indoor soccer game, he had participated in only 15 practices with the Blast over two months, he had not practiced in a week, and he had only 19 1/2 hours to prepare mentally and physically for his Major Soccer League debut.

Also, he was facing the Dallas Sidekicks and their great scorer Tatu at the Baltimore Arena in front of Powers' many fans and friends from the Maryland Bays, for whom he has been an outstanding outdoors goalkeeper for three years.

Talk about pressure.

It showed in Powers' face and in his performance, as the Sidekicks attacked him from all sides on the way to a 7-5 victory over the Blast before 6,385 at the Arena.

Tatu went to work against Powers immediately and got off a total of 13 shots, often drawing Powers out of the net for one-on-one confrontations.

Powers survived most of those situations with Tatu, who had only one assist, but Powers couldn't stop two shots by former Blast midfielder Richard Chinapoo, who led Dallas to a 5-2 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Powers played only briefly in the fourth quarter and gave up a sixth goal two seconds after facing Tatu on a five-second shootout.

"I didn't expect as much pressure as Dallas gave me," Powers said. "I wish I would have had more time to prepare, and I never got a chance to throw any long balls. I have a good arm but never got to use it. But in all, I was thankful for an opportunity to play my first game of indoor soccer."

Powers was signed to a 15-day contract by the Blast Saturday after No. 1 goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro was knocked unconscious taking a shot in the face during Friday night's 8-7 overtime victory over the Cleveland Crunch.

Vaccaro, who still is suffering from a strained neck muscle from the whiplash caused by the shot, is listed as questionable for Friday night's game against the Crunch at Richfield Coliseum.

"It was a tough situation to put Steve in," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper. "But he made some big saves for us. We just couldn't sustain the momentum after an emotional win in Cleveland."

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