Spirit escapes Attack, 14-11 Hunjak scores 2 to break 8-8 tie

January 25, 1993|By La Velle E. Neal III | La Velle E. Neal III,Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kenny Cooper had a good reason to be impressed last night with his team, a bunch of impostors called the Baltimore Spirit.

The Spirit looked nothing like a team playing its third game in 48 hours, holding off the Kansas City Attack, 14-11, in a National Professional Soccer League game at Kemper Arena.

Cooper did his part by using his entire complement of players and by using three lines in the game against the league's second highest-scoring team.

"We're exhausted," said Cooper, whose Spirit avoided its first three-game losing streak, "but we decided that we were going to go out there and play hard. We talked about that [losing streak], too. We don't play another game until Saturday. If you don't win, you have a long time to think about it."

Two goals by Goran Hunjak helped the Spirit pull away from Kansas City. Baltimore improved to 16-6 in the American Division. Kansas City dropped to 12-8 in the National Division, and its five-game home winning streak ended.

Hunjak broke an 8-8 tie in the second half with his goals. He scored from in front at 13:35 of the third quarter to put Baltimore ahead 10-8. Then he controlled a header from Kansas City's Larry Julius near midfield and moved forward. Hunjak used a fake to get Attack goalkeeper Warren Westcoat to shift before his shot reached the back of the right corner of the net at the 2:55 mark of the fourth.

"Both our other players were covered, and I didn't have an option, so I took a shot," said Hunjak, whose five points gave him a team-high 90. "The goalkeeper took my move."

The Attack closed to 12-10 on a goal by Jon Parry. Then Julius' shootout goal with 6:27 left made it 12-11. Baltimore held off the Attack the rest of the way. Kansas City switched to a sixth attacker with 1:54 left, but that idea flopped when the Spirit's Tim Wittman scored with 1:04 left on a breakaway.

The key, Hunjak said, was that the Spirit didn't try to act well-rested and try to run with the Attack.

"We tried to play slower tonight because our legs were tired," he said. "We had an excellent performance. We dropped back and played solid team defense. We stole the ball and took our chances and had some shots."

The Spirit led 4-2 at halftime and took a 8-2 lead in the third quarter on goals by Rusty Troy and Doug Neely. But the Attack came back with three straight goals to tie it at 8.

That was the only time the Attack had success against the Spirit's defense.

"Ball control was the key for us tonight," Cooper said. "We wanted to slow it down. We didn't want to let Kansas City get into a rhythm."

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