Spirit holds off Wichita, 20-19

January 22, 1995|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Paul Wright again came up empty against his old team.

The first time it was because of tight defense by the Spirit's Omid Namazi.

This time it was because of an aggravated groin pull.

Wright, who led the Spirit in scoring with 146 points last year, has faced Baltimore twice this season with the Wichita Wings and has yet to earn a point.

After playing one shift last night, Wright aggravated the groin pull and spent most of the rest of the game on the bench as the Spirit defeated the Wings, 20-19, before 9,323 at the Baltimore Arena, the largest crowd of the season.

"Paul strained it Friday night in Harrisburg and reinjured it in the first quarter," said Wichita assistant coach Kevin Kewley. "That hurt because we were down to 11 players. Guys had to do double shifts. But that happens."

The Spirit ran off 13 unanswered points in the first half for a 13-3 lead and withstood a Wichita fourth-quarter rally to raise its record against teams in the National Professional Soccer League's National Division to 8-0.

"We're giving up too many easy goals," coach Dave MacWilliams said. "When we're winning, we don't know how to keep playing the same way."

The game included three goals and seven points by Spirit rookie Jamie Christie, who had only three goals in his previous 11 games this season.

"Franklin set me up twice," Christie said, referring to Franklin McIntosh. "The first time he gave me a tap-in and the second time he hit one from three-point land that bounced off my shoulder into the goal."

A three-point goal by Wichita goalie Kris Peat brought the Wings within 18-15 in the fourth quarter. The only other three-pointer by a goalie in NPSL history was by the Dayton Dynamo's Carlos Pena during the 1990-91 season.

Wichita inched within 18-17 early in the fourth quarter and then, after Barry Stitz's third goal, made it 20-19 on Jim McGeough's goal with 18 seconds remaining.

BStitz had three goals and two assists for eight points, one shy of his career high.

NOTES: Joe Mallia started in place of regular goalie Cris Vaccaro, who was home in Camden, N.J., with the flu and a touch of vertigo. If Mallia had gotten hurt, coach MacWilliams would have resorted to Ricky Bush, who has worked in the goal in practice. It was the ninth start for Mallia, whose record is now 7-3. He will start tonight in Dayton against the Dynamo. . . . Lance Johnson (groin pull) and Brad Smith (knee) played despite their injuries. . . . Wichita will complete its grueling stretch of three road games in as many days against the Cleveland Crunch today. The Wings lost Friday to the Harrisburg Heat, 17-8.

Wichita .... 3 .. 3 .. 6 .. 7 .. -- .. 19

Baltimore .. 4 .. 9 .. 5 .. 2 .. -- .. 20

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