Scoring main star for NPSL All-Stars

February 23, 1994|By Keith Schildroth | Keith Schildroth,Special to The Sun

ST. LOUIS -- Perhaps it was a sign of things to come when Spirit goalie Cris Vaccaro tripped over the strobe light running on to the field through a haze of dry ice fog during introductions for TTC last night's 10th National Professional Soccer League All-Star Game.

It was not to be a night for goalies, with the teams setting an NPSL All-Star record in the National Division's 29-21 victory over the American Division at St. Louis Arena.

After his opening slip, the night barely improved for Vaccaro, who yielded all the points, including an Andy Chapman tap-in into an empty net after the ball bounced over his head, as the Nationals took a 14-4 halftime lead.

If it was any consolation, Vaccaro wasn't the only one victimized by Detroit's Chapman, who had two goals and four assists to earn Most Valuable Player honors despite being the game's oldest player at 34.

"I am 34 years young, not old," Chapman said. "This game is for the fans. You want to give them something different. We thought if we could hold them to 20 goals we might have a chance. You usually say 10, but 20 was the number we had with all the great players they had."

Added American coach Gary Hindley: "Andy put on quite a show."

So did the Spirit's other two representatives, Paul Wright and Doug Neely, who got into the scoring act, with Wright contributing a hat trick and Neely scoring two of the Americans' 11 points in a goal-filled, 24-point fourth quarter.

There were enough hat tricks to fill a rack, as St. Louis' David Doyle, Milwaukee's Michael King and Chicago's Pato Margetic had three goals for the Nationals and Cleveland's Hector Marinaro joined Wright with one for the Americans.

"The whole idea is to have something different for the fans," said National coach Daryl Doran. "We had a lot of scoring, a lot of goals and I think they enjoyed it."

Down 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter, some sloppy play by the National defense let the American team back into the game.

Goals from Canton's Gino DiFlorio at 4:53, Wright at 7:05 and 8:07, Marinaro at 8:58 and Neely at 9:37 and suddenly it was 24-19 and what was once a blowout now seemed within reach of the Americans.

"No game is over with the firepower they had up front," Doran said.

But the Nationals scored three of the last four goals, including Margetic's three-pointer off a kickoff, to put away the Nationals' first All-Star win in four years.

"The three-point goal from Margetic sealed it," Doran said. "I wasn't happy until he scored that goal."

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