Spirit halts 2-game skid by beating Wings, 22-10

February 26, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Whether Wichita Wings coach Roy Turner is Kenny Cooper's best man or worst man depends on the outcome of the event.

L In 1979 Turner was indeed Cooper's best man, at his wedding.

"But he's my worst man when he beats me," the Spirit coach said.

A string of nine unanswered points in the third quarter, raising Baltimore's lead to 16-6, ensured that Turner wouldn't be on Cooper's black list last night. The Spirit raised its home record to 15-1 with a 22-10 victory over Wichita before 6,219 at the Baltimore Arena. The NPSL-leading Spirit had lost two straight, both on the road.

Paul Wright and Dan O'Keefe each scored four goals. It was the fourth time this season that O'Keefe has scored four or more goals in a game.

Wright's four goals and five assists added up to 10 points, giving him 19 points in two games against Wichita this season. Wright, the Spirit's leading scorer with 111 points, has 44 in his past seven games.

Wichita took a 2-0 lead on one-point goals by Beto and Dale Ervine. For Ervine, the Wings' leading scorer, it was point No. 96 of the season.

Baltimore rookie Tarik Walker answered with a booming shot that glanced off the Wings' Arturo Velazco past goalie Kris Peat into the net. O'Keefe gave the Spirit a 4-2 lead with his NPSL-record 337th lifetime goal, but Tatu tied it.

The final three goals of the first half were by the Wright (his 14th shootout goal), O'Keefe and Goran Hunjak for a 7-4 advantage.

NOTES: Spirit coach Kenny Cooper had a nightmarish return trip from England, where he was visiting his father, who is terminally ill with leukemia. Because his Manchester-to-New York flight left four hours late, Cooper missed his New York connection to Baltimore and wound up taking the train, arriving at his home at 2:20 a.m. yesterday. . . . The Spirit's Rusty Troy returned after missing a game with aching knees. . . . Kim Roentved, Wichita's No. 5 scorer and last year's NPSL Defender of the Year, missed the game with a knee injury. . . . The Wings' Beto arrived just before the game after landing at Dulles Airport from Los Angeles, where he attended his father-in-law's funeral. . . . The Famous Chicken, formerly the San Diego Chicken, will perform and lead cheers at the Spirit-Buffalo Blizzard game March 29. The first 2,000 children 16 and under will receive replicas of NPSL soccer balls. . . . Cooper, Jason Dieter and Brian Hartlove, plus a St. Louis Ambush player, will speak at tonight's pre-game rally for area middle-school students who have participated in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. A crowd of 10,000-plus is expected tonight, threatening the franchise-record 10,385 for a Cleveland Crunch game last season.


Opponent: St. Louis Ambush

Site: Baltimore Arena

Time: 7:05

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM), WAMD (970 AM)

Tickets: Fewer than 2,000 available

Outlook: This is the middle game for the Spirit and Ambush in their three-games-in-three-nights stretches. St. Louis, the NPSL's surprise National Division leader, entered the weekend as the hottest team with five straight wins. The Ambush's latest addition is Ted Eck, a former U.S. national team player who had nine points in his first five games with St. Louis. The Ambush is paced in scoring by David Doyle, Mark Moser, Steve Maurer and player-coach Daryl Doran. Jeff Robben is the NPSL's sixth-rated goalie. The first 3,000 fans will receive Spirit team posters.

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