Patience pays in Spirit victory Third-quarter spurt dooms Dynamo, 8-4

January 31, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The Spirit's Tim Wittman believes in the law of averages. Sooner or later, he reasoned, the ball has to go in the goal.

For 30 frustrating minutes yesterday, the ball didn't go in for the Spirit. The Dayton Dynamo had a tenuous 2-0 lead at halftime, although it had been outshot by Baltimore 15-6.

"One had to go in," Wittman said. "We had a lot of shots. When the first one does go in, things start to come along. You can't panic and say, 'This isn't our night.' You keep going."

The Spirit awoke for four unanswered third-quarter goals and went on to defeat Dayton, 8-4, before 5,518 at the Baltimore Arena. The victory raised the Spirit's record to 17-6, best in the National Professional Soccer League, its home mark to 11-2 and its grip on the Dynamo to 3-0.

Barry Stitz started Baltimore's run of goals, tying the score at 2. Wittman's two-pointer 1:11 later, 3:43 into the third period, put the Spirit ahead for good at 4-2. Eric Dade and Jason Dieter followed with two-pointers for an 8-2 advantage that Dayton could only nibble at in the final quarter.

"Both teams were playing good defense," Rusty Troy said. "The goalies were making big saves. All those goals in one quarter was just one of those things."

At halftime, coach Kenny Cooper changed the offensive plan. Instead of positioning two men inside and three outside, he switched to an umbrella, with four out and one in.

"That gave us a better chance of getting the ball in to the target men, Barry and Rusty," Cooper said. "We were too crowded in front of the goal.

"It was a matter of being patient. Dayton ran hard and made us earn all we got. We had lots of opportunities, so the key was to be patient. Timmy's goal was the one that broke the ice and put us ahead. Psychologically, that helped."

So did goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro's two saves on shootouts, one in the second quarter, the other in the third. Vaccaro has thwarted 19 of 26 shootout attempts this season, the best showing among the league's goalies.

"It's partly a guessing game," Vaccaro said. "The idea is not to commit too early. You put yourself in a position to make him commit. Then you react to it."

NOTES: Dieter, the Spirit's No. 6 scorer, returned after missing two games with a sprained ankle. . . . The goal by Dayton's Jeff De Vettori 11 seconds into the game was the first of his NPSL career. . . . Curtis McAlister made his fourth start in goal for Dayton to give Carlos Pena (21 starts) a breather before today's game against the Detroit Rockers. . . . Kevin Smith, signed in mid-month to replace Michael King (out for the season after knee surgery), has decided to remain with the Spirit after originally agreeing to a 15-day arrangement. "He has a wife and two kids in Dallas and other commitments there," Cooper said. "But every day it became more and more contagious for him, and we're delighted to have him." Smith, who has three goals and seven assists in eight games, said, "I'm having fun." . . . Goran Hunjak is within nine points of becoming the third NPSL player to reach 100 this season and joining the Cleveland Crunch's Hector Marinaro and the Buffalo Blizzard's Rudy Pikuzinski. Hunjak and his wife, Gina, became parents for the second time Thursday: Tanner John, 9 pounds, 2 ounces . . . Two Dayton players, Scott Cook (C. W. Woodward High in Bethesda) and Kevin Sloan (Oakland Mills), have a Blast connection. Sloan played for the team for a year and Cook, the Dynamo's scoring leader and No. 12 in the NPSL, was in the Blast's preseason camp two years ago. . . . Next for the Spirit is Wednesday's trip to Denver to play the Thunder. The game will be broadcast by WTMD (89.7 FM) starting at 9:05 p.m. . . . The Spirit's next home game is Feb. 13 against Cleveland. The first 5,000 fans 18 and under will receive an NPSL soccer ball.

Dayton 2 0 0 2 -- 4

Spirit 0 0 8 0 -- 8

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.