Blast to test Wave force in Game 2 Tough Milwaukee figures to offer clues to season

Soccer

November 06, 1998|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

To borrow a line etched on one of the pyramids, one game does not a season make. Still, the Blast should get a strong early indication of how successful it can be in the NPSL this season when it plays its first road game tomorrow.

When you talk about the Milwaukee Wave, the Blast's opponent (WJFK 1300 AM, 8: 05 p.m.), you're talking about the big boys. The Wave cruised to the league championship last season with an overall record of 37-14 -- 28-12 during the season, 9-2 in the playoffs. It won 24 of 26 games played at the Bradley Center and returns about 90 percent of its players.

This means Michael King (139 points), Mike Richardson (113), Pete Hattrup (94) and Todd Dusosky (80) piling up the points, Rusty Troy blocking shots and league and playoff MVP Victor Nogueira stopping nearly everything sent his way in goal.

Beating the Wave is a daunting assignment, but one Blast coach Kevin Healey and his squad is looking forward to, especially after being idle two weeks following a disappointing loss to Harrisburg, 19-18, before 9,000 fans in the home opener Oct. 24.

"It'll be tough playing there," said Healey. "They [the Wave] won 19 of 20 games at home last year. But we've had a bunch of good practices lately and our physical condition is good right now."

How good is Milwaukee at the Bradley Center? Before last

season, it had a pair of 18-2 records at home, meaning the team is 55-5 since the beginning of the 1995-96 season.

NOTES: The Blast's game was switched from afternoon to night because of the NBA strike. Blast owner Ed Hale has announced the team will donate $2 from each ticket sold for the Nov. 13 home game against St. Louis to the Baltimore City F.O.P. Memorial Fund in memory of recently deceased police officers Harold J. Carey and Barry W. Wood. Bo Vuckovic, one of the bright lights for the downtrodden Baltimore Spirit last season, scored four goals in his debut with Kansas City, including the tying and game-winning scores in the Attack's 13-12 overtime win over Cleveland.

Ken Snow, a reliable gunner in the early years of the decade with the defunct Chicago Power, made a sensational return to the NPSL by scoring six goals for St. Louis in its opening victory over Edmonton. Snow had both game-winning goals in the Ambush's 2-0 start. Record home attendances have already been turned in by Kansas City (13,971) and Philadelphia (11,524).

It's tough being an expansion team: the Florida Thundercats play eight of their first nine games as visitors. Age is obviously no enemy of Jamie Swammer, 37-year-old St. Louis keeper. He held Wichita and K.C. under 10 points in his first two starts, won the Defensive Player of the Month Award and is the NPSL's all-time leader in goalie victories with 276.

The North Division favorite Buffalo Blizzard finally plays its first game tonight at home against St. Louis. Philadelphia public-address announcer Kevin Casey proposed to his girlfriend during the first period of the Kixx-Detroit game. She accepted. Someday, a young woman in that situation is going to say forget it, and won't that be embarrassing?

Pub date 11/6/98

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