Spirit doesn't let Cooper feel at home Team honors ex-coach, pulls out 14-9 victory

November 05, 1995|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

Kenny Cooper had the strangest feeling when he arrived at BWI Airport with the Tampa Bay Terror.

"Part of me felt like I was a visitor," Cooper said. "And part of me felt like I had never left."

Cooper, the Spirit's former coach, felt very much the visitor after last night's game. Tampa Bay, the National Professional Soccer League's expansion team, bowed to the Spirit, 14-9, before 5,438 at the Baltimore Arena.

Three games into its maiden season, the Terror is still looking for a win. Cooper's old team, the Spirit, is at the opposite end of the spectrum at 3-0.

"We have to change some players -- there's an urgency to it," Cooper said. "When I first came to Baltimore, we had a revolving door until we got things right."

Cooper sighed. "We have a job to do. We need to win some games."

He was cheered by the fact the Terror made a fight of it, especially at first. He also liked the four goals by Lenin Steenkamp.

But the Spirit had too much firepower, too much balance, too much experience. And it had Joe Mallia.

Mallia, who has started in goal in place of injured Cris Vaccaro, celebrated his 26th birthday with his third victory, making 19 saves. He also started on his birthday last year, in an overtime defeat of the Canton Invaders.

"This was one birthday present, and I also had one in the afternoon when Loyola College's women's team beat Siena in the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament," said Mallia, assistant coach of that team, who added that Loyola will play Fairfield for the championship today at 2 p.m. at Curley Field.

After leading at halftime, 10-5, the Spirit let Tampa Bay back into it, surrendering three straight goals as the Terror pulled to 12-9.

"To our credit, we came back and didn't panic," said coach Dave MacWilliams. "We finished with a great goal by Kevin from Franklin [McIntosh]."

Spirit scoring was balanced. McIntosh led with two goals and two assists, but no one else had more than one goal or one assist. Zak Ibsen, Bobby Joe Esposito, Lance Johnson and David Vaudreuil and Sloan each had a goal.

NOTES: The Spirit's Omid Namazi (sprained ankle), Vaccaro (strained elbow) and Brad Smith (sprained knee) missed their third straight game. The club is considering placing them on the five-game disabled list. . . . Cooper, who became Baltimore's Mr. Soccer in his 14 years here, was welcomed back with a 20-second pregame salute read by public address announcer Bruce Maine. Cooper was greeted by warm applause. The Spirit tied its giveaway to the England native by handing out 3,000 English-style pint glasses. . . . The NPSL neither fined nor disciplined the Spirit's Ronald Simmons, whose collision with Buffalo's Marco Rizi last week resulted in two broken bones in the defender's leg. The league reviewed the game tape, ruled that Simmons didn't intentionally hurt Rizi and said no action would be taken. . . . The Spirit Fan Club is chartering buses for the team's games Saturday at Harrisburg and Nov. 18 against the Chicago Power at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. For information, call Dolores Schott, (410) 276-4664.

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