Spirt's Vaccaro on record-setting pace

December 14, 1993|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

At the season's one-quarter mark, the Spirit's Cris Vaccaro has one National Professional Soccer League record in hand and is tracking down two others.

Vaccaro, named NPSL Player of the Week on the strength of two victories that raised his record to 9-0, broke the mark for most goals in one season by a goalie with No. 4 in Sunday's victory over the Chicago Power. It was achieved like the previous three, with a heave into an open net after the Power had pulled its goalie and inserted a sixth attacker.

Vaccaro, 35, has 10 points on four goals and two assists. The league points record for a goalie is 22 (two two-point goals, 18 assists) by the Detroit Rockers' Brian Finnerty in 1990-91.

With his NPSL-best 9-0 record, Vaccaro is halfway toward the mark of 18 straight by the Canton Invaders' Bill Naumovski in the mid-1980s. Vaccaro also leads the league with a 10.29 points-against average.

Hunjak, Stitz hurt

Goran Hunjak and Barry Stitz suffered sprained knees in the win over Chicago and are questionable for Friday's game against the Detroit Rockers at the Baltimore Arena. Describing the game as "very physical,"coach Kenny Cooper gave the team an extra day off yesterday.

"Everybody's fired up to play us," said Cooper of his 10-0 team. "They're trying to physically beat us up, but it's not working."

Oh, brother

When Chicago signed U.S. Olympian Steve Snow last week, it gave the league its fifth brother combination, as Steve joined Ken Snow on the Power.

Other brothers include Rudy and Randy Pikuzinski and Bobby and Michael DiNunzio with the Buffalo Blizzard, Carlos and Danny Pena with the Dayton Dynamo and the Marinaros, Hector with the Cleveland Crunch and Rob with Chicago.

Brisson on target

Clark Brisson, a reserve at season's start, has stepped into a Spirit target man role after injuries to Rob Ukrop and Dan O'Keefe.

Brisson, signed as a free agent after the 1992-93 season in which he scored 92 points for Canton, has 18 points in his past five games.

He shares with Tarik Walker and Barry Stitz the position as target man, who must play with his back to the goal and be able to endure physical punishment.

"Brisson has gotten better every game," Cooper said. "He has quick feet and the ability to get the ball off fast."

O'Keefe, who has missed the past four games with a sprained knee, is scheduled to return Friday.

Draft day

Teams will select about 60 players in tomorrow's NPSL draft. Drafting order is based on inverse 1992-93 regular-season standings. The Spirit will draft next-to-last, ahead of the Wichita Wings.

Noting that the Spirit will concentrate on "speed, size and strength," Cooper said he's looking for a goalie, defender and midfielder. Loyola fullback Billy Harte and Towson State goalie Rich Pelligrini might be taken by the Spirit in the territorial draft.


NPSL teams, averaging 5,811, are on pace to break last season's attendance record of 5,213. . . . At 10-0, the Spirit is within three wins of matching the NPSL record for consecutive wins at the start of a season set by the 1989-90 Canton Invaders. . . . The Spirit's 7:35 p.m. game against the Rockers Friday will be the NPSL's Game of the Week on ESPN2. . . . Michael and Marian Ilitch bought the Rockers last week. The Ilitches also own the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Drive of the Arena Football league, in addition to Little Caesar Enterprises, the pizza chain. Said NPSL commissioner Steve Paxos: "The addition of Mark and Marian Ilitch as owners greatly enhances the NPSL and will assist us in our continued growth."

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