Spirit finds scoring punch, defeats Silverbacks, 21-17 Even without Vuckovic, club records third victory with 10-point 4th quarter

December 14, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

The Spirit, playing without its top scorer Bo Vuckovic, sidelined with an ankle sprain, went on a scoring binge and beat the Cincinnati Silverbacks, 21-17, at the Baltimore Arena last night.

It was the team's third victory -- all at home -- in 13 games, and the second time over Cincinnati.

The Spirit got off quick on two goals by Renator Sampaio to go ahead 9-2, only to go into one of its patented droughts.

Outscored 9-0 over a 14-minute stretch, the Spirit fell behind twice before scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter.

"We changed our style a little bit," said Spirit coach Mike Stankovic, who celebrated his second start of the season with an assist. "[Cincinnati] is a counter-attacking team, so we fell back and didn't pressure the goalkeeper as much as in the past.

"This served a dual purpose as we seemed to save our strength for down the stretch. Sometimes, the last five minutes of games don't have a lot to do with soccer. It comes down to a case of who's going to give that little bit extra and refuse to give in. We did a good job of that."

Lance Johnson started the scoring, converting two minutes into the last period to lift the Spirit into a 13-13 tie.

Chris Scotti then scored a shootout point, Shane Dougherty converted a power-play opportunity and the team pulled clear on the most spectacular goal of the game.

It was a double header as Dougherty set up Mike Henning for the score.

"I've been around a long time and seen a million goals," Stankovic said. "But that matches any of them. It was a work of art."

Sampaio got the Spirit's first two goals, the first on a restart setup by Stankovic just 93 seconds into the game.

Dougherty made a feed to set up Sampaio's second score and his fifth goal in just his third game played.

The Spirit pushed ahead to a 9-2 advantage on a Johnson two-pointer and a three-point shot by Ron Simmons on a free kick from 50 feet. Cincinnati scored goals late in each of the first two periods and trailed, 9-4 at the intermission.

NOTES: The NPSL's annual college draft, which has led to Shane Dougherty, Matt Tirschman, Todd Hicks and Lance Johnson joining the Spirit the past few years, will be conducted Wednesday in a conference call.

Pub Date: 12/14/97


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