Spirit beats Ambush, 20-12, behind Smith's three assists

January 14, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

It didn't take long for Kevin Smith to make his presence felt with the Baltimore Spirit.

Signed only hours before, Smith contributed three assists to the Spirit's 20-12 victory over the St. Louis Ambush last night before 3,060 at the Baltimore Arena.

The win raised Baltimore's record to 13-3, best in the National Professional Soccer League, and increased its American Division lead over the Cleveland Crunch to two games.

Joe Koziol scored a hat trick and Jason Dieter, Rusty Troy and Goran Hunjak each scored two goals. Hunjak moved past Buffalo's Rudy Pikuzinski in the league scoring race with 76 points and now trails only Cleveland's Hector Marinaro (103).

Smith, 30, was signed yesterday after spending eight years with the Dallas Sidekicks of the now defunct Major Soccer League.

Although he had been working out daily in Dallas, Smith hadn't played in a game in almost a month. He admitted he felt a bit rusty.

"Certain parts," Smith said. "I was tired in spots. But it was a good run, and we won. We should have buried them."

"Kevin was captain of the Sidekicks and showed when he faced the Blast to be a creative midfield player," Spirit coach Kenny Cooper said.

Smith played on the same line with Tatu, one of the world's great indoor players. Smith's feeding ability led to countless goals for Tatu.

"Kevin will remind fans here of Hunjak," Cooper said.

Smith, a native of England, had been one of four players under contract to the Sidekicks through Dec. 31. He was part of a team of Dallas and San Diego Sockers players that played in a tournament in Zurich, Switzerland, last month.

Despite Smith's efforts, St. Louis scored three straight goals in the fourth quarter to pull within 15-10, but Koziol's third goal broke the visitors' momentum. It was Koziol's first hat trick since his 1989-90 rookie season with Cleveland.

"Kenny has been on me, because a lot of times I get two goals and stop," said Koziol. "It feels good to finally get the hat trick."

"Joe has unlimited potential," Cooper said. "He's explosive, and can score four, five, six goals."

Troy gave the Spirit a 4-0 lead with the game's first two goals. On the second, he was assisted by Smith, who replaces Michael King, who will undergo knee surgery and miss the rest of the season.

St. Louis' Kevin Hundelt cut the lead to 4-2, but Koziol and Dieter scored the only goals of the second quarter to raise the Spirit's lead to 8-2.

St. Louis' Dan O'Keefe had four points to raise his career total to 517, three behind the retired Art Kramer, the NPSL's all-time points leader. Kramer needed eight seasons to amass his total. This is O'Keefe's sixth.

NOTES: Spirit rookie Billy Reinhardt, a Patterson High grad, missed the game with a wrist injury suffered Tuesday in practice when he tried to stop a shot with his hand. . . . The Spirit mascot made its debut, a person dressed in a white ghost-like costume who parades through the Arena during games. . . . The Spirit's game in Denver has been switched from Feb. 7 to Feb. 3. The Thunder revised its home schedule after switching arenas, from McNichols Sports Arena to the Denver Coliseum, where it will play its remaining home games. . . . Spirit rookie Eric Dade yesterday visited two young soccer fans scheduled to undergo bone marrow transplants at Johns Hopkins.

St. Louis 2 0 3 7 -- 12

Baltimore 4 4 6 6 -- 20

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