Spirit's woes continue with 11-9 OT loss Game-tying rally wasted in 11th straight road defeat

January 01, 1998|By Tim Pennington | Tim Pennington,SPECIAL TO THE SUN tTC

CINCINNATI -- The Spirit continued the role of road patsy yesterday, losing to the Cincinnati Silverbacks, 11-9, in overtime at The Crown.

Gino DiFlorio took a pass from Brad Smith at the top of the goal box and chipped a shot past Spirit keeper Khalil Azmi for the game-winner with 8: 43 left in the sudden-death overtime.

The loss was the Spirit's 11th straight road defeat dating to last season, including 10 this season.

The Spirit, which dropped to 3-15 this season, came back from a five-point deficit in the game's final two minutes to tie it and send it into overtime.

"If we have any luck, it's only bad," said the Spirit's player/coach, Mike Stankovic. "I've got to do something to this team. These kids are too inexperienced. But what can I do? Suit up my general manager and owner?"

As if another road game wasn't enough, the Spirit was playing without its top scorer, midfielder Bo Vukovic, who is nursing an ankle sprain.

Midfielder Barry Stitz also was missing from the Spirit's lineup after injuring his knee Sunday against Cleveland.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, was playing without its leading scorer, Franklin McIntosh, who was suspended before the game for refusing to accept a trade to St. Louis.

With both teams missing firepower, the game was uneventful in the first half except for a pair of two-point goals.

Wendell Regis scored his first goal of the season to give the Spirit a 2-0 lead. Regis scored off a pass from Chris Scotti at 11: 24 of the second quarter.

Cincinnati answered just before halftime after Fernandez fed Paul McDonnell following a foul call on Stankovic.

Following a scoreless third quarter, the Spirit reclaimed the lead on a Renato Sampaio two-point goal with 9: 38 left in the game, only to see Cincinnati come charging back to score five unanswered points within a minute.

Jason Vanacour scored on a two-point goal off a DiFlorio pass to tie the game at 4 with 9: 11 left, and the same pair connected on a three-pointer less than one minute later to make it 7-4.

When the Silverbacks' Doug Tegge hit a two-pointer with 3: 36 remaining, it looked as if Cincinnati had done enough to improve to 7-8 this season.

But Stankovic pulled Azmi for a sixth attacker, and Scotti scored with 1: 29 remaining to cut the lead to 9-6.

Then, with 33 seconds left, Lance Johnson let fly with a three-point blast from just inside the arc to tie it at 9.

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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