Hunjak, Stankovic ignite Spirit

January 29, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

The Yugoslavian Connection is once more with the Spirit.

Mike Stankovic-to-Goran Hunjak hadn't been an item since last March, when Stankovic, the assistant coach, was activated and played in four games.

Activated again Thursday, Stankovic and Hunjak accounted for 13 points. Stankovic assisted on two Hunjak goals and Hunjak was fed by Tarik Walker, Clark Brisson and Eric Dade on three others. His five goals tied Paul Wright's team record and his 11 points broke Tim Wittman's mark set last season.

The result was a 17-12 victory over the Kansas City Attack last night before 5,678 at the Baltimore Arena.

"It was my son Tanner John's first birthday today," Hunjak said. "Last year, the day he was born, we were in Dayton and I tried so hard to score and get him a game ball, but didn't have a point."

Both of Stankovic's assists on Hunjak goals came in free-kick situations. "I told Goran to be ready, that I'd get it to him easy, so he could step and hit it," Stankovic said.

Behind 6-2 at halftime, the Spirit responded with 15 second-half points after coach Kenny Cooper's blistering intermission tirade.

"I absolutely blitzed them," Cooper said. "They played like poodles, when they need to play like bulldogs."

Cooper was concerned that a Spirit defeat would "send a message around the league that we couldn't win without Paul Wright." Wright, the team's leading scorer (76 points), was recalled by his summer team, the outdoor Los Angeles Salsa, for a game against El Salvador this weekend.

"It's the sign of a good team," Hunjak said of the second half. "Someone always steps up. We have a lot of guns."

The Spirit reached the halfway point in its 40-game National Professional Soccer League season with a 17-3 record. The team plays 14 of its remaining 20 games on the road.

Jon Parry, Kansas City's scoring leader, raised his total to 70 points with the game-opening goal.

Cris Vaccaro, the NPSL's second-ranked goalie who has started 18 of the Spirit's 20 games, will start again tonight in St. Louis and then take a night off Wednesday on the road at the Canton Invaders.

NOTES: Stankovic, 37, a six-time Major Soccer League All-Star with the Blast, drew the largest ovation when Spirit players were introduced before the game. . . . Spirit captain Rusty Troy played despite a sprained knee. . . . G Warren Westcoat came to the Attack by way of Severna Park High. His brother Scott is the Spirit's vice president of ticket sales.

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