ST. LOUIS - The Baltimore Spirit earned the home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs by defeating the St. Louis Ambush, 6-5, before an all-time NPSL crowd of 17,603 at the Kiel Center last night.
The Spirit clinched second place without leading scorer Franklin McIntosh, who was suspended by coach Mike Stankovic earlier in the week for missing practice.
The Spirit will play Harrisburg on Thursday in Game 1 at home; on April 1 they will play in Harrisburg and Game 3 will be in Baltimore on April 2.
The Spirit took a 6-5 lead when St. Louis defender Mike LaPosha sent a clearing pass in front of his goal that was picked off by Bobby Joe Esposito.
Esposito hit Dave Vaudreil, who beat goalie Jamie Swanner to the far left post at 11: 20 of the final quarter.
St. Louis led 5-4 after the end of three quarters. Joe Reiniger scored off a restart at 11: 23 just outside the three-point arc.
Mike Stankovic gave the Spirit a 4-2 lead at 11: 13 off a restart. His shot beat Jamie Swanner to the lower left post.
Moser had goalie Cris Vaccaro beat early in the quarter but his long shot hit the left post.
The score was tied at 2 at the end of the first half. Greg Muhr scored at 4: 47 when he slipped a shot behind Vaccaro.
Vaccaro was busy in the half. He robbed Kevin Groark in the crease with 11 minutes to go. Jamie Swanner was just as good for the Ambush stopping Lance Johnson with 5: 35 left in the half.
The Spirit led 2-0 at the end of the first quarter. Esposito scored off a restart at 7: 37. Mike Stankovic started the play.
St. Louis best scoring chance came late in the quarter. Vaccaro stopped St. Louis defender Daryl Doran with 1: 07 left in the quarter from point-blank range.
St. Louis 0 2 3 0 5 Spirit 2 0 2 2 6 First quarter Spirit Esposito (Stankovic) 7: 37, 2 pt. Penalties None. Second quarter St. Louis Muhr (Hundelt) 4: 47, 2 pt Third quarter Spirit Stankovic (Namazi) 11: 13, 2 pt; St. Louis Reiniger (unassisted) 11: 23, 3 pt. Penalties None. Fourth quarter Spirit Vaudreil (Esposito) 11: 20, 2 pt. Penalties None. Shots-on-goal Spirit 15-5-8-7-35; Ambush 9-9-11-7-36. A17,603. GoaliesSpirit, Vaccaro (14-6), Ambush, Swanner (17-13).
Opponent: Kansas City Attack
Site: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo.
Time: 7: 05
Radio: WWLG (1360 AM), WASA (1330 AM)
Outlook: Tonight is the final regular-season game for the Spirit, who will play host to Harrisburg in Thursday's opening round of the NPSL's American Division playoffs. For the second straight night, the Spirit will be without its leading scorer, Franklin McIntosh, who was suspended two games for missing practice.
Pub Date: 3/24/96