Spirit takes advantage of Rockers' uneven play Vaccaro sets up 14-11 triumph

February 15, 1993|By Paul Harris | Paul Harris,Contributing Writer

DETROIT -- The outcome of yesterday's National Professional Soccer League game at Cobo Arena between the Baltimore Spirit and the Detroit Rockers was evident by what individuals from each team said after the game:

Of his squad, Baltimore coach Kenny Cooper said: "We just try to get better every game. We have a very hard-working team, a very honest team."

But Detroit's Sean Bowers said: "We have a lot of people who want to win. But we also have some guys who don't care whether they win or lose, as long as they're getting paid."

Apparently then, the latter group didn't mind as the Spirit defeated the Rockers, 14-11, before a crowd of 4,409.

The contest wasn't as close as the score indicated. Bowers scored a three-point goal with 54.5 seconds remaining.

The attitudes of the teams also reflect their positions in the standings.

Baltimore is 20-6 and leads the American Division. Detroit, which has lost seven straight games, is last in the division with an 8-19 record.

Rockers coach Brian Tinnion agreed with Bowers' assessment.

"I know some of them [the players] aren't [working hard]," he said. "So there'll be changes."

When asked when, he replied, "Very soon."

But things can stay just the way they are as far as the Spirit is concerned.

Baltimore used the speed of forward Rusty Troy and midfielders Joe Koziol and Goran Hunjak to take advantage of the strong arm of goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro. He continually connected with his teammates on the move, deep in the Rockers' zone, to set up excellent scoring opportunities.

"We're fortunate to have a goalie with such a great arm," Troy said.

After Randy Prescott opened the scoring with a two-pointer 8:30 into the first quarter, Baltimore capitalized on three chances in less than three minutes.

From deep in the right wing corner, Koziol slipped a two-pointer between Detroit goaltender Bryan Finnerty and the short-side goal post just 12 seconds after Bowers' goal.

At 9:44, Troy deflected a perfect goal-mouth pass from Tim Wittman past Finnerty for another two points.

Koziol converted one of Vaccaro's long passes into a goal 1:16 later for a 6-2 Spirit lead. Eloy Salgado scored a single for Detroit as the quarter ended 6-3.

The only Spirit goal of the second quarter came on a two-on-one break. Eric Dade's pass in front of the net was drilled in by Hunjak at 8:16. Andy Chapman scored a one-pointer for the Rockers for an 8-4 halftime margin.

The Rockers tied it at 8 after Wes Wade scored at 3:03 of the third quarter and Tim Ernst scored 10 seconds into the fourth.

But 11 seconds later, Troy's second goal of the game put Baltimore ahead for good at 10-8. Troy added a one-pointer with 5:16 left, and 11 seconds later, Wittman scored a one-point power-play goal. Kevin Smith's two-pointer into an empty net at 13:21 capped the Spirit's scoring.

"We haven't won a darn thing yet," Cooper said. "Yes, we're in first place, but that means people get fired up against us."

Apparently, not all of the Rockers did.

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