Npsl Teams At A Glance

October 29, 1993

AMERICAN DIVISION

Baltimore Spirit

Arena: Baltimore Arena (12,392)

Last season: 27-13 (first in division); lost to Harrisburg in first round of playoffs

Coach: Kenny Cooper (second year in NPSL, 27-13; 394-302 in 12 years with Blast of Major Soccer League)

Key players: Cris Vaccaro, goalkeeper of year with 23 wins and 11.22 points-against average; Goran Hunjak (141 points); Rusty Troy (116); Tim Wittman, Calvert Hall alumnus entering his 13th pro season; Dan O'Keefe, NPSL's all-time leading goal scorer with 311, acquired from St. Louis; Paul Wright, another &r newcomer and the league's fastest player.

Outlook: The Spirit will have more speed, size and scoring punch with the acquisition of O'Keefe and Wright. Vaccaro, still effective at 35, heads the defense that ranked second in the NPSL in points-against. Rookie forwards Rob Ukrop and Tarik Walker figure to contribute.

Buffalo Blizzard

Arena: Memorial Auditorium (16,200), Buffalo, N.Y.

Last season: 23-17 (third in division); lost in first round of playoffs to Cleveland

Coach: Trevor Dawkins (fifth year in NPSL, 99-47, second season in Buffalo)

Key players: Brothers Rudy and Randy Pikuzinski combined for 271 points and 141 blocked shots last season; assistant coach/midfielder David Hoggan; Jamie Swanner, the league's all-time winningest goalie with 166 wins; high-scoring forward Paul Dougherty.

Outlook: The Blizzard, in its second NPSL season, again will rely on the strong play of Rudy Pikuzinski, who was fourth in the league with 165 points, and Swanner, five-time NPSL goalie of the year. Veteran defenders Kris Kelderman and Chris Szanto will roam the back line in front of Swanner. This is a well-balanced team with proven scorers.

Canton Invaders

Arena: Canton Civic Center (4,200), Canton, Ohio

Last season: 13-27 (seventh place in division)

Coach: Andy Smiles (first NPSL season)

Key players: Gino DiFlorio, third in league in scoring with 178 points; Kia, 10th with 136; defenders Denzil Antonio and Oscar ++ Pisano.

Outlook: After dominating the league in their first eight years, the Invaders slipped to seventh last season. In trying to rebuild, rookie coach Smiles has some quality talent in DiFlorio, Kia, Antonio and Pisano. The key for a turnaround may be newcomer P. J. Johns, a former MSL All-Star in Cleveland.

Cleveland Crunch

Arena: Cleveland State University Convocation Center (12,493), Solon, Ohio

Last season: 25-15 (second in division); lost to Kansas City in NPSL finals

Coach: Gary Hindley (career record, 28-21; second season in Cleveland, third in NPSL)

Key players: Hector Marinaro, league Most Valuable Player and scoring leader (248 points); Zoran Karic, No. 2 with 222 points; G Otto Orf; team captain and D George Fernandez; 10-year veteran Tim Tyma; midfielders Tommy Tanner and Andy Schmetzer.

Outlook: The Crunch has the strongest one-two punch in indoor soccer in Marinaro and Karic. They receive help from Nassim Olabi (114 points) and Mark Thomas (86). Cleveland has the same punch that enabled it to set a league record with 702 points. Schmetzer is back after missing most of last season with a knee injury. Last year, the Crunch took Kansas City to the fifth and final game in the championship series.

Dayton Dynamo

Arena: Dayton Convocation Center (4,700), Dayton, Ohio

Last season: 20-20 (fifth in division)

Coach: Terry Nicholl (career record, 57-40; second season in Dayton, fourth in NPSL)

Key players: M Tony Bono, top returning scorer; Brad Smith, Dennis Brose and Scott Cook, who each scored more than 100 points; G Carlos Pena.

Outlook: The Dynamo, which after five years in the league has yet to win a championship, lost out on the final playoff spot when it bowed to Harrisburg on the final weekend. The team is led by Bono, a three-time All-Star, and Smith, Cook and Brose. Pena returns after winning 20 games and posting a 13.71 points-against mark. D Vincent Beck blocked a team-high 80 shots.

Harrisburg Heat

Arena: State Farm Show Arena (7,600), Harrisburg, Pa.

Last season: 22-18 (fourth in division); lost in division finals to Cleveland

Coach: Jim Pollihan (career record, 46-34; second season)

Key players: Franklin McIntosh, NPSL career leader in points (592); goalies Joe Mallia and Brett Phillips; M Danny Kelly, 101 points; defenders Angelo Panzetta and Todd Smith.

Outlook: The Heat eliminated the Spirit in the opening round of the playoffs, prompting Baltimore coach Kenny Cooper to call Harrisburg "the best team we played." All the main players are back, including McIntosh, Kelly and Doug Miller (74 points). The defensive keys are the platooning goalies, Mallia and Phillips, the NPSL's Rookie of the Year.

NATIONAL DIVISION

Chicago Power

Arena: Rosemont (Ill.) Horizon (16,518)

Last year: 22-18 (third in division); lost in division semifinals to Kansas City

Coach: Pato Margetic (career record, 75-45; fourth season)

Key players: Player/coach Margetic, who led the team with 118 points, including 65 assists; M Teddy Kraft; M Michael Richardson; F Ken Snow.

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