Choosing All-Stars easier than facing them Players, coaches vote starters for Feb. 17 game

Spirit notebook

January 23, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Players busied themselves this week making selections for the NPSL All-Star Game in Cincinnati Feb. 17 and the Spirit probably had little difficulty ascertaining which players should be on the 14-man American Conference squad.

To begin with, the Cleveland Crunch, despite its slow start, has the 1-2 all-time scoring punch in the league in Hector Marinaro and Zoran Karic, plus perennial All-Star Otto Orf in goal. Philadelphia features forwards Kevin Sloan and Don D'Ambra, high-scoring Matt Knowles and solid Omid Namazi on the back line and Pete Pappas in net.

Goalie Victor Nogueira, who recorded all 26 victories Milwaukee posted last year and who is having another banner year, and Michael King are Wave players who are shoo-ins to be selected. Gino DiFlorio of Cincinnati is about to become the sixth player in league history to reach 1,000 points, teammate Franklin McIntosh is already there and, with the game being played at The Crown in Cincinnati, you know the Silverbacks will be well represented.

Players and coaches pick the starters, then eight reserves are added with each of the league's 13 teams represented. The squads will be handled by the coaches of the teams with the best win percentage as of Feb. 2. Philadelphia coach Dave MacWilliams is the front-runner in the American Conference.

The All-Star Game was held in Baltimore last year, 8,317 watching the Nationals beat the Americans, 20-14.

Youth workshop, then game

Lauren Gregg, assistant coach of the U.S. women's national team and coach of the American Under-20 women, tops featured speakers at the 1998 Maryland State Youth Soccer Association Workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Baltimore Arena.

The day of clinics and workshops on subjects such as player development, refereeing, tournaments, the Olympic Development program, and a number of other youth-soccer topics will conclude with the Spirit playing host to the Crunch at 5: 05 p.m.

Ticket information: 410-987- 6797.

Miscellaneous

With a three-game, 23-point burst last week, Karic jumped to No. 2 on the NPSL all-time scoring list with 1,269 points. Karic has scored 75 points in Cleveland's past nine games, an 8.3 per-game average. The U.S. Indoor (five-a-side) National team, with half a dozen NPSL players aboard, grabbed third in a major tournament in Brazil last week with a 2-1-1 record. The home team was perfect. Attendance in the league is up 11 percent, increasing to a game average of 5,919 from 5,284. The NPSL average was 4,657 just two years ago. The Spirit has averaged 4,710 through its first 11 home dates.

(NPSL standings, Page 11D)

Spirit tonight

Opponent: Harrisburg Heat

Site: State Farm Show Arena, Harrisburg, Pa.

Time: 7: 35

Radio: WCBM (680 AM)

Outlook: After two close losses, the Spirit defeated the Heat last week, but that was at home, where the team is 5-6. Playing on the road is a different matter (0-12). The Heat -- 10-11 after Wednesday's 19-14 loss in Cincinnati -- has lost seven straight games and two goalkeepers, and is in the midst of playing three games in four nights. Harrisburg, 7-3 at home, has fallen 4 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the East.

Pub Date: 1/23/98

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