Kixx wasn't told it can't win yet NPSL notebook

November 28, 1996|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

This isn't the way it's supposed to be. Expansion teams simply aren't supposed to prosper in their first year.

But the expansion Philadelphia Kixx is storming through the National Professional Soccer League as if intent on burying the old truism. Ex-Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams' club has the best record (7-1) in the 15-team league.

After the Kixx disposed of two East Division rivals, the Spirit and the Harrisburg Heat, last weekend, MacWilliams announced his grand plan.

"My main goal, seriously, is to be in the championship series," MacWilliams said, meaning not merely the playoffs, but the final round, when only two teams are still standing. "It might sound crazy as a new franchise, but that's what it is."

The improbable story of Kixx rookie goalie Pete Pappas continues. He's 7-1 and the NPSL Player of the Week after allowing a total of 14 points in the wins over Baltimore and Harrisburg.

This is the fellow who was to be veteran Bill Andracki's backup, but when Andracki got hurt in the A-League championship game before the season, Pappas became the starter. Andracki has recovered, but all he does now is watch.

The Kixx will visit the team with the next-best record, the St. Louis Ambush (5-1), tomorrow in the marquee game of the weekend. St. Louis handed Philadelphia its lone defeat two weeks ago, 14-12.

Stars in Spain

Some NPSL teams have been temporarily weakened while their leading players are with the U.S. Indoor National Team that is competing in the third FIFA World Championships in Spain. The event began Sunday and will conclude Dec. 8.

The 12-man team includes seven current and four former NPSL players, but none from the Spirit, although two once played here.

The Cincinnati Silverbacks will have to limp along without Franklin McIntosh, the Spirit's scoring leader last season, and the Kansas City Attack will be missing Goran Hunjak, who led the Spirit in scoring in 1992-93, when it plays at the Baltimore Arena on Saturday.

The U.S. team is considered a title contender after finishing third in 1989 and second in 1992, the highest finish in history by an American men's soccer team in world-championship competition.

Quotes of the week

Sterling Wescott, 5-foot-4 midfielder and teammate of the Wichita Wings' 5-1 Eddie Henderson: "I love playing in Wichita. It's the only place where I'm not the shortest guy on the team."

Mark Pulisic, who not only plays for Harrisburg, but coaches the Lebanon Valley College men's and women's teams. "I thrive on the packed schedule during the day, but when nighttime comes I'm dead."

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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