Attack can mend nets with best

ON SOCCER

January 04, 1995|By DOUG BROWN

For one game at least, the Kansas City Attack didn't miss a beat after losing its No. 1 goalie, Warren Westcoat.

After Westcoat, a Severna Park native, broke his right hand in last Thursday night's win over the Chicago Power, Kansas City was confronted the next night by a team on a roll, the St. Louis Ambush, winner of 10 straight.

No. 2 goalie Kyle Robertson started but went out with a concussion, bringing on Ken McDaniel, recently released by the Harrisburg Heat and signed that day by the Attack. McDaniel played the final 36 minutes and picked up his first National Professional Soccer League victory.

The game's offensive star was ex-Spirit Goran Hunjak, with a three-point goal, a two-pointer and two assists. Hunjak was named NPSL Player of the Week after collecting 19 points in Kansas City's three-wins-in-three-days tear.

Hunjak, No. 6 in the points race with 68, might still be with the Spirit if he hadn't spurned a two-year contract offer in May. He wound up with a two-year deal with the Attack, doubtless influenced by the fact his wife Gina is a Kansas native.

Marinaro bounces back

The Cleveland Crunch's Hector Marinaro came back from an injury with a vengeance.

After missing five games with a pulled thigh muscle, Marinaro scored 54 points in his next seven games, a burst that warranted Player of the Month for December honors.

Marinaro, second behind the Dayton Dynamo's Dennis Brose in scoring with 94 points in just 11 games, has been Player of the Month four times in three seasons. Marinaro was the league's MVP in 1992-93 and first team All-NPSL last season.

Wright not always right

Paul Wright, the Spirit's scoring leader last season, was asked by a Kansas writer what he would bring to his new team, the Wichita Wings, before last Friday's game against his former Baltimore teammates.

"First of all, my teams don't lose," Wright said. "That's the main thing. It comes with the territory."

Winning didn't come with the territory that night. Wichita lost, 13-7, and Wright was shut out.

Meola gains first win

Two days after his NPSL debut, a loss to Dayton, U.S. World Cup captain and goalie Tony Meola picked up his first victory. Before a Buffalo season-high crowd of 9,283, Meola made 15 saves in helping the Blizzard beat the Detroit Rockers, 24-9.

Meola said he was shaky at first in Dayton, in part because the floor is the narrowest (78 feet) in the league, but felt sharper and more at ease against the Rockers. The Spirit probably will encounter Meola when it visits Buffalo on Jan. 13.

"Outdoor and indoor are two different games, but the better players can play both and Meola is in that category," Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams said. "It takes awhile to get used to the boards and angles. Meola is great for the league."

Spirit attendance lags

The Spirit is seventh in the 12-team NPSL in attendance with a 5,100 average for 10 dates, 710 behind last season's pace. But crowds usually increase after Christmas.

The Spirit already has sold more than 9,000 tickets for the Jan. 21 game against Wichita that will mark Wright's return. Attendance is likely to threaten the club record of 10,457 set last February against St. Louis.

Miscellaneous

A poster of the Spirit's Franklin McIntosh will be distributed free to students at the Jan. 21 game. . . . The Spirit has 18 three-pointers in 18 games, matching its total for the past two seasons over 80 games; St. Louis leads the NPSL with 19 and Dayton is tied with the Spirit. . . . The undefeated (3-0) Spirit Reserves, a farm team of 12 local players led in scoring by Matt Ruopp, will play J.J.'s Pelicans in a Maryland Premier Unlimited League game tomorrow night at 10 at Du Burns Arena.

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