Spirit loses 3rd scorer in Wittman

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

First Rob Ukrop. Then Dan O'Keefe. Now Tim Wittman.

Wittman, the Spirit's No. 2 scorer, sprained ligaments in his right knee in Sunday's 19-8 win over the Cleveland Crunch and will be out six to eight weeks.

A Calvert Hall grad and 13-year indoor soccer veteran, Wittman follows Ukrop (broken jaw) and O'Keefe (sprained knee) onto the disabled list. Ukrop, a rookie, had scored 12 points in five games and O'Keefe, the National Professional Soccer League's all-time leading scorer with 320 goals, had 18 in eight games. Both are still out.

"That's an awful lot of points to lose," Spirit coach Kenny Cooper said, noting that Wittman's 40 rank second only to Paul Wright's 53.

Wittman, 30, leads the Spirit and is fourth in the NPSL in assists (19), and is tied for the team lead in blocks (17). He is a member of the Spirit's league-leading penalty-killing unit and is a top marker.

After Wittman's second-quarter injury, John Abe came off the bench and scored two goals. "Great depth," Cooper said, "has been part of our success."

O'Keefe might be the first one back. After missing tomorrow's game against Dayton at the Baltimore Arena, he will be questionable for Sunday's game at Buffalo. Ukrop could return by Jan. 14.

Westcoat playing more

The Kansas City Attack has turned for help at least temporarily to Severna Park High grad Warren Westcoat, the No. 2 goalie behind Scoop Stanisic, whose record is 2-6.

The defending NPSL champion Attack is 4-7 and tied for last in the National Division after surrendering 156 points in 11 games.

Westcoat, 25 and in his fifth proseason, has started the past three games, winning two. His points-against average is 13.03 to Stanisic's 14.31.

The Attack produced the latest NPSL Player of the Week -- Jon Parry, who had 11 points in two games.

Bad home cooking?

It doesn't speak well for home cooking that on Sunday, the day after Christmas, four of the five home teams lost.

The only home winner was the Chicago Power, over the Milwaukee Wave. The suddenly pitiful Wave, after a 3-0 start, has dropped seven of its past eight.

Rockers rockin'

The National Division-leading Detroit Rockers have a six-game winning streak and are the league's only unbeaten team (5-0) at home. In one torrid four-night stretch, all on the road, the Rockers beat Baltimore,Harrisburg and Dayton.

Miscellaneous

Dayton's No. 2 scorer is Kevin Sloan, an Oakland Mills grad. Sloan was with the Baltimore Blast in its final year (1991-92) and played for the Maryland Bays of the American Professional Soccer League. . . After eight games, the Spirit is sixth in the NPSL in average home attendance (5,499), having risen from ninth (4,989) through three games. The club said it has a season-high advance sale of 6,200 for tomorrow night's game. . . . Wright collected seven points in the win over Cleveland, marking the third time this season he has had seven or more. Dating to last season, when he was with Milwaukee, Wright has a string of 29 games in which he has had at least one point. . . . The Spirit is the only team with a winning road record (4-1) and the only one that has scored more points on the road than it has allowed (71 to 55). . . . Sunday against the Spirit, Cleveland's Zoran Karic scored his 100th point in his 13th game, putting him on pace for a league-record 300-plus during the 40-game season. With 40 assists, he is en route to breaking the NPSL record of 80 by Chicago's Pato Margetic in 1990-91. . . . The loss to Baltimore left the Crunch 22-6 at home in two seasons.

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