Total and average attendance could set records this season Per-game figure of 5,379 ranks 2nd best all-time

NPSL notebook

February 25, 1997|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,SUN STAFF

With more than a month of the regular season remaining, the National Professional Soccer League is threatening its attendance records.

Through 229 games, total attendance of 1,231,837 is only 146,571 short of the 1,378,408 record established in 1993-94, thanks in part to the addition this season of two more teams, the Philadelphia Kixx and Toronto Shooting Stars. A mere 2,100 average in the remaining 71 games is needed to break the record.

Average attendance of 5,379, second best in league history, is 11 percent above the mark at this time a year ago. With several large crowds anticipated in the final month, the record average of 5,720 in 1993-94 is in jeopardy.

The Spirit, 11th in the league with a 4,938 average, expects crowds of 5,000-plus for games Friday against the Edmonton Drillers and Saturday against the Harrisburg Heat. The gathering for the March 28 date against Toronto could exceed the season-high of 8,317 for the All-Star Game here.

Reiniger delivers

Contributions of 11 and seven points by Joe Reiniger in two victories enabled the St. Louis Ambush to maintain the best record (23-5) in the league despite injuries that have sidelined All-Stars Daryl Doran and Kevin Hundelt.

In a week of strong individual efforts, Reiniger was named NPSL Player of the Week.

One of Reiniger's challengers for the award, the Cleveland Crunch's Zoran Karic, had 23 points in two wins and ousted the Detroit Rockers' Dennis Brose for the NPSL scoring lead.

Karic went over 200 points (208) for the fourth time in five years. He and teammate Hector Marinaro, who has four 200-plus point seasons, are the only players who have reached 200. Brose (191 points with eight games to play) is likely to join them this year.

Quote of week

Toronto coach Art Kramer, on the Shooting Stars' overtime win against the Buffalo Blizzard that ended their 11-game losing streak: "I've got three words for it: It's about time."


The to-be-announced time for the Spirit-Tampa Bay game next Tuesday at Baltimore Arena is 7: 35 p.m. Spirit rookie Todd Hicks, eight credits shy of his Towson State degree but determined to graduate, is interning after practice with the club for "sports study" credit in his sports communications major. The Spirit will endure a three-games-in-three-days grind this weekend, ending with Sunday's meeting with Toronto in Rochester, N.Y. In its previous three-in-three, the team went 1-2.

Pub Date: 2/25/97

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