Troy's 3 goals lift Spirit over Attack, 17-16 Joins Hunjak in 100-point club with 7 points

February 28, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Rusty Troy picked an opportune time to become the second Spirit player to reach 100 points.

Troy collected three goals and two assists for a game-high seven points to lead the Spirit to a 17-16 victory over the Kansas City Attack in a battle of National Professional Soccer League leaders last night at the Baltimore Arena.

Troy joined Goran Hunjak as the Spirit's 100-point men. One of Troy's goals was his seventh shootout, a team high.

The crowd of 8,040 was the Spirit's second largest of the season behind the 10,385 for the Feb. 13 game against the Cleveland Crunch. The Spirit averaged 7,871 for its three home games in February.

After a third quarter in which only one point was scored -- by Troy for a 9-8 Baltimore lead -- the fourth period was punctuated by frenzied action.

The lead changed hands five times. Tim Wittman gave the Spirit a 15-14 edge with 3:03 left with an assist from Troy (his 100th point).

Kevin Smith's empty-net goal raised the lead to 17-14, and Bobby Esposito scored the game's final goal with 59 seconds left.

"The ball popped out to me after Timmy put pressure on the Kansas City guy," Smith said. "My eyes lit up. The goal was wide open."

The Spirit raised its NPSL-best record to 22-8 (14-2 at home) while snapping Kansas City's winning streak at four. The Attack (18-10) is 6-6 on the road.

The Spirit's Eric Dade opened the scoring, heading the ball past Kansas City goaltender Scoop Stanisic after Hunjak's shot bounced off the boards. Jon Parry and Esposito sent the Attack to a 4-2 lead with successive goals, but Smith squared it at 4.

In the second quarter, Parry's second goal, raising his points total to 115, fifth best in the NPSL, gave Kansas City a 6-4 lead. Back-to-back goals by Troy and Hunjak put Baltimore ahead, 8-6, but Jim Schwab scored for an 8-8 halftime tie.

Joey Murtagh, 19, a rookie acquired Friday from the Denver Thunder for cash, made his Spirit debut last night. A native of Philadelphia, Murtagh was Denver's No. 8 scorer with 26 points in 23 games.

"We needed depth at the target position," coach Kenny Cooper said, referring to the key forward spot. "He's young, with a lot of potential, and made a good impression the times he played against us this season. I think he was a little homesick, being so far from Philly."

Cooper talked, as former Orioles manager Earl Weaver often did, of having "deep depth." When key players like Michael King, Wittman and Doug Neely were hurt, the lineup was juggled and '' the team marched on.

"Down the stretch, we have to maintain that balance," Cooper said. "Murtagh should help us do that."

NOTES:The game started 15 minutes late because an autograph session was extended to 75 minutes to allow fans with soccer balls to have them signed by the players. . . . Cooper considered giving rookie Brian Hartlove his second start last night, but opted for Cris Vaccaro, the second ranked goalie in the NPSL. "If we had beaten Buffalo Thursday night, we would have started Brian," Cooper said. "We want to play Brian, but Cris is a competitor and wants to play, too. We'll take it game by game. Maybe [today] in Chicago." Hartlove won his only start, Jan. 18 against the Canton Invaders. . . . The Spirit has three straight road games -- today against the Chicago Power, Friday against the Harrisburg Heat and a week from today against the Detroit Rockers. The next home game is March 10 against the Milwaukee Wave.

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