Milwaukee surges past Spirit, 14-5 Wave builds 9-1 lead, ends Baltimore's 2-game streak

February 03, 1997|By Steve Zimmerman | Steve Zimmerman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILWAUKEE -- Coming off a seven-day break, the Spirit hoped to jump out to an early lead against a road-weary defensive team. Instead, the Milwaukee Wave did the leaping.

The Wave showed no signs of fatigue after three games in three days, beating the Spirit, 14-5, yesterday in a National Professional Soccer League game before 6,798 at the Bradley Center.

The Wave took control with a quick-strike offense in the first quarter. Second-year forward Pat White led a 7-1 opening-quarter blitz with two goals 19 seconds apart. Steve Morris added a restart goal 6: 13 into the second quarter to push the lead to 9-1.

"[Milwaukee] played well, but we gave up some bad goals," Spirit coach Mike Stankovic said. "We played a sluggish first quarter.

"Our focus wasn't there. Our execution wasn't there for some reason. We turned it around later on, but it was too late. They didn't connect as a group tonight."

The loss ended the Spirit's two-game winning streak and boosted the Wave's home record to 9-2. Baltimore is 13-13 overall, Milwaukee 13-9.

"We were off a week, and sometimes that has a tendency to get you," Spirit midfielder Bobby Joe Esposito said. "Our worst concern was to come out flat, which we did. It gave them some confidence and some goals.

"We wanted to pressure and get a few goals early. We had at least four three-on-twos that we didn't convert for whatever reason. If we did get a shot off, it was a weak one."

After the Wave's Obi Moneme scored the game's opening goal on a deflection, White connected on a cross-field pass from Morris at 7: 51 and pushed the lead to 7-0 with a three-point blast from 47 feet away. Spirit goalkeeper Joe Mallia was partially blocked on White's attempt from long range by two players battling for position in front.

Esposito put the Spirit on the board with a one-point goal at 12: 05 in the first quarter by collecting his shot that bounced off Milwaukee goalkeeper Victor Nogueira. He tapped it in for his 22nd goal of the season.

However, the collapsing Wave defense tightened up and prevented any sustained pressure on goal the rest of the half.

"Any time you get down 9-1, it's tough," Esposito said. "Put that on top of a good defensive team like Milwaukee and it's doubly tough. They may have played three games in three days, but they still come out to win."

One-point goals by forward Branko Segota and defender Doug Neely and a two-point goal midfielder Mike Henning cut the deficit to 9-5 midway through the third quarter.

(NPSL standings, 9C)

Pub Date: 2/03/97

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