First-year Spirit has unique distinction in NPSL-it's unbeaten

November 23, 1992|By From Staff Reports

The Spirit has taken the National Professional Soccer League by storm. Or should that be blizzard, as in Saturday night's 17-11 victory over the Buffalo Blizzard?

The win gave Baltimore a 4-0 record in the NPSL, good for first place in the American Division. The Spirit is the only undefeated team in the league, and it doesn't play again until Saturday (2:05 p.m.) against Harrisburg at the Baltimore Arena.

Rusty Troy led the Spirit offense with four goals Saturday night, and goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro had 23 saves, including some spectacular ones.

Troy, 26, played four years for the Baltimore Blast. He became the first Spirit player to score four goals in one game.

"Rusty thrives on the up-and-down style of play in this league," said Spirit coach Kenny Cooper. "It's hard work, and he's a hard worker."

Goran Hunjak also scored seven points for the Spirit on three goals and two assists.

The Spirit played without Tim Wittman, who sprained his right ankle in the win over Cleveland eight days ago. Wittman was leading the team with five goals when he was hurt. He didn't practice all week.

The Spirit scarcely missed a beat without Wittman in the second half of the Cleveland game. Cooper appointed Troy to share the target-man spot with Michael King, then shifted Eric Dade from defense to midfield to replace Troy.

"We've worked toward putting together a team with interchangeable parts," Cooper said. "Timmy and most of the others are not one-dimensional."

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