Owners' shift muddles Storm picture

April 18, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

Six of the Major Soccer League's seven teams are in for 1992-93, but the St. Louis Storm is questionable.

The Blast, Dallas Sidekicks, San Diego Sockers, Cleveland Crunch, Tacoma Stars and Wichita Wings have posted or have promised to post by Monday the required $350,000 letter of credit due this week.

The fate of the Storm, which averaged a league-high 10,000 fans this season, is dependent on a transfer of ownership from Milan Mandaric to Abe Hawatmeh of St. Louis.

Hawatmeh told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch yesterday Mandaric has agreed to assume all Storm debts and lower his undisclosed asking price. But Hawatmeh also said he has two hurdles yet to cross: the question of financial liability that may arise from current problems and the matter of finding investors to put up $950,000 in two weeks.

"The ball is in my court," Hawatmeh said. "In the next 24 or 48 hours, I'll know where I stand. If it goes through, I'll be a hero. If it doesn't, I'll be a son of a gun."

* How many goalkeepers can pinpoint the injuries of his counterpart in the far goal? The Sockers' Victor Nogueira, talking about how he played with a secret bum shoulder earlier this season, said he can.

"Cris Vaccaro is playing with an injured shoulder now," he said. "Our whole team knows. You can see him resting his arm and after he catches the ball, when he throws, he has no strength in it. But he's playing great and not getting much credit, because they're behind in the series."

Blast trainer Marty McGinty has not listed Vaccaro on his injury lists.

* While the Blast and Sockers are drawing half the crowds of the regular season, Dallas averaged 7,000 for its two playoff games, three fans shy of its season average. Cleveland expects 8,000 for Game 3 tonight.

* Homecomings may not be what former Blast/now Socker Tim Wittman expected. During the regular season, fans harassed him about everything from his soccer ability to his haircut (shaved head the last time).

"Now they're calling me 'Chia-Pet,' because my hair is starting to grow back," Wittman said, recalling the television commercial for the little ceramic pet planter. "I thought that was good. Quite funny, really."

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