Cooper in search of someone to liven limp attack Midfielder, forward may cure Blast's ills

January 22, 1992|By Bill Free

The Baltimore Blast talked trade possibilities with two Major Soccer League teams yesterday in an attempt to bring an attacking midfielder or a goal-scoring forward to the team, said coach Kenny Cooper.

"We just have to make a move," said Cooper, who is upset with the team's performances in road losses to the Dallas Sidekicks, 10-2, and the San Diego Sockers, 6-3, last weekend.

"We have to look at a trade for a midfielder or forward," he said. "We've not gotten the production we've needed. The chemistry of the team has been affected by the loss of Mike Stankovic [veteran midfielder who is out for season after reconstructive knee surgery Dec. 23]. I talked to a couple of teams today."

Cooper said any trade the Blast made would not be a blockbuster deal or send shock waves around the league.

"There are a number of players on our team untouchable," he said. "We're trying to build something and we're not going to tear it down. If it's a trade, it will come from an area where we can spare somebody."

Cooper would not say which two teams he talked to, but it is thought the discussions involved the last-place St. Louis Storm and the slow-starting Cleveland Crunch.

Storm director of public relations Brian Gravette said facetiously yesterday, "I would imagine no one would be available since we're doing so well."

Former Cleveland player-coach Kai Haaskivi, who is just a player this season, said yesterday: "I talked to Pop [St. Louis coach Don Popovic], and he is desperate to do anything."

Popovic could not be reached for comment last night.

Haaskivi, 36, and forward Michael King, 28, have fallen into disfavor with Cleveland coach Trevor Dawkins and could possibly be available.

Haaskivi has not played a shift for two straight games, marking the first time since 1978 that he has not played at all in a game he was dressed for.

King has played just one shift in two games for the Crunch, which has spurted a little lately, winning five of its past seven.

Haaskivi said he has worked hard to come back from reconstructive knee surgery last March and doesn't "enjoy being a spectator."

"But I haven't asked to be traded yet," said Haaskivi who would have to approve any trade since he is a veteran of four or more seasons and more than 12 games have been played this season. "I'm kind of confused. A lot of teams expressed interest in me before the season, and I know I can contribute. I have scored 13 points [six goals, seven assists] in 11 games and have three power-play goals [most on the team]."

Drew Forrester, Blast vice president of soccer operations, said last night, "I haven't heard that Kai is available but we'd listen to a trade for him."

King, like Haaskivi, is a favorite of Cooper's and has been pursued twice by Baltimore since last summer.

But the Blast coach said last night he has given up on getting King.

"Cleveland is not going to give him up," said Cooper. "He's a big, strong guy who is our kind of player because he's a blue-collar type of player."

Neither Dawkins nor Cleveland general manager Al Miller could be reached for comment.

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