Hunjak's fight may draw more fines, suspension

January 11, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Fines and perhaps additional suspensions may be slapped on the Spirit's Goran Hunjak and the Buffalo Blizzard's Ralph Black.

Both players were ejected for fighting in the first quarter of Friday's Spirit victory. The incident was triggered by a Hunjak push, which led to a Black left hand to Hunjak's right eye (opening a two-stitch gash) and in turn to Hunjak yanking Black's head down and kneeing him in the face, drawing more blood.

"It's an automatic [but undisclosed] fine for an ejection," said Paul Luchowski, the National Professional Soccer League's director of operations. "Additional fines and suspensions could come after we review the game tape. We'll do that and probably make a decision later this week."

It was the first time in their two years in the NPSL that Hunjak or Black had been ejected.

Mobilio returning

Domenic Mobilio will encounter some familiar faces when he arrives with the Harrisburg Heat for Friday night's game against the Spirit.

Mobilio played four years for the Blast and led the team in scoring in 1990-91 with 49 goals, two short of Joey Fink's club record. After almost 18 months of playing for his native Canada in World Cup qualifying games, Mobilio inquired last month about catching on with an NPSL team after Canada was eliminated.

The Spirit balked at his salary demands, which would have made him the team's highest-paid player. In the course of conversations with Spirit vice president Drew Forrester, Mobilio said his green card had been revoked because he spent so much time out of the United States while playing for Canada's national team.

A green card grants a foreigner permanent U.S. residency. He cannot play in the NPSL without one. The league allows only two green card players per team.

"The Heat supplied us with a copy of Mobilio's green card and other pertinent information," Luchowski said. "We checked it out with the immigration people to ensure he meets the eligibility criteria. He does."

In his first three games with Harrisburg, Mobilio has collected 12 points, including five two-point goals.

Spirit coach Kenny Cooper acknowledges that Mobilio is a scoring machine who will help the league as well as Harrisburg.

"He's a natural goal scorer, one of the best finishers in the game." Cooper said. "It might take him a while to get in the flow, but Harrisburg has players who can get him the ball."

WMAR-TV pleased

The delayed broadcast of the Spirit-Buffalo game at 11 a.m. Saturday drew a 3.1 rating, according to WMAR-TV. That means about 30,000 households out of 977,000 in the total designated market audience were watching.

"The 3.1 rating was significantly higher than we anticipated, especially since the game was placed in an early time slot and the second half was up against the NFL," said WMAR-TV general manager Joe Lewin. "The rating is an extremely strong showing when you consider the broadcast was tape-delayed. It shows there's an audience for Spirit soccer on TV."

Next, WMAR-TV will tape the Jan. 21 game here against Wichita and show it the next day at 1 p.m.


At the halfway (10-game) point in its home schedule, Spirit attendance is up 32 percent over last year, from an average of 4,406 to 5,810. The club has drawn three 7,000-plus crowds; last year its first wasn't until Feb. 13. . . . Doug Neely (cold) and John Abe (strained hip flexor) skipped yesterday's practice, but will play Friday night. . . . Rookie Rob Ukrop, back after a broken jaw, is practicing and will dress for Friday's game. . . . Major knee surgery for Tim Wittman has been postponed until late next month because he can't straighten his leg and a staph infection has set in.

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