Rookies provide Spirit with 13-12 lift Milovanovic's 2-shirt night, Zoric's hat trick help foil Silverbacks, earn 3rd win

November 17, 1996|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

Nesko Milovanovic is starting to cost the Spirit money, but the club doesn't mind a bit.

The rookie from Yugoslavia with the habit of throwing his jersey into the crowd after scoring a goal tallied twice last night, giving him three goals -- and three discarded jerseys -- this season.

Milovanovic's goals, plus a hat trick by fellow Yugoslavian rookie Sasa Zoric -- the team's first of the season -- powered the Spirit to a 13-12 win over the Cincinnati Silverbacks before 5,917 at the Baltimore Arena.

The difference was that the Spirit (3-3) held Franklin McIntosh to one assist. The National Professional Soccer League's career points leader, McIntosh ranks second in the league this season with 30 points.

"Mike and Lance did a nice job on Franklin," goalie-assistant coach Cris Vaccaro said, referring to player-coach Mike Stankovic and Lance Johnson.

But Cincinnati (2-5) did get four goals from Mike Araujo, the team's second-leading scorer behind McIntosh.

The Spirit squandered most of an 11-6 lead entering the final quarter. Araujo had two goals and Dan Creech one, while the Spirit was held to a single goal, by Zoric.

While nursing the one-point advantage in the final frenzied moments, Jason Dieter blocked a shot by McIntosh with 2.6 seconds remaining, and a deflected shot by Danny Pena fell into Vaccaro's arms at the buzzer. Vaccaro earned the 70th win of his NPSL career.

"You've got to give the defense a lot of credit," said Vaccaro. "They made some big blocks -- Bill Harte, Jason. You've got to sacrifice your body at times in tight situations.

"That can be the difference between winning and losing. We had a couple defensive lapses, but we'll take the win."

Already injury-riddled, the Spirit might have another casualty. Trainer Carlo Mastrangelo said Bo Vuckovic suffered a hyper-extended left elbow and will have X-rays taken tomorrow.

The victory raised the Spirit's record against the Silverbacks, formerly the Dayton Dynamo, to 9-0 at the Arena.

Araujo scored the game's first goal, but the Spirit ran off seven straight points, including a three-pointer by Stankovic. In the second quarter, Araujo scored his second goal, McIntosh assisting, to bring Cincinnati within 7-4 at halftime.

Vaccaro was back in goal for the first time since fracturing his right big toe in the opener against the Tampa Bay Terror four weeks ago.

"It's still sore, but good enough to play on," said Vaccaro, who wore a plastic shield on the toe. "It needs a good two months to completely heal. You get used to the pain, so it's no big deal."

Vaccaro returned in time to face an ex-teammate, McIntosh, who was the Spirit's scoring leader last season.

"You always look forward to facing a good player like Franklin," Vaccaro said. "It's difficult to hold him clear of points. You have to be patient and not mark him too tight because he has spin moves and other tricks."

NOTES: Johnson last night became the Spirit's third captain of the season, succeeding Barry Stitz (sprained ankle), who was followed by Doug Neely, who is in Brazil this weekend with the U.S. beach soccer team. Stankovic plans to have Johnson, Stitz and Dieter share the job. . . . Of the 21 players on the roster, only Joe Mallia, Jim McCombs, Josh Houle and Neely haven't received medical treatment of some kind.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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