Maryland Mania to kick off 14 home games on May 9 A-League team to play at UMBC through 2000

Soccer

December 20, 1998|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Mania will make its Baltimore-area debut in the A-League on May 9, Mothers Day, after having played the first league game in its history April 29 in Raleigh, N.C.

The home opener for the new, local entry in pro soccer's top minor league will be a 4: 05 p.m. affair against the Charleston (S.C.) Battery at UMBC Stadium, the team's home for at least two seasons.

Like all 30 A-League teams, the Mania will play 28 league games in a season that begins on the West Coast on April 9 and ends Sept. 6. Playoffs follow, with the championship to be decided the weekend of Oct. 16-18. The league has four divisions grouped in Western and Eastern Conferences.

Of the Mania's 14 home games, seven will be on Sundays, four on Saturdays, two on Fridays and one on a Thursday. A. J. Ali, the Columbia businessman who leads the Mania's ownership group, said the club expects to add several exhibitions to its home schedule.

On May 23, the last of four home games in May, the Mania will play host to the Rochester Raging Rhinos, last season's A-League champion and attendance leader. The club's likely toughest period figures to be an 11-game stretch from mid-July to mid-August; nine of those games will be on the road.

Sixteen Mania games will be against Eastern Conference-Atlantic Division competitors Atlanta, Charleston, Hampton Roads, Va., Hershey, Pa., Jacksonville, Fla., Raleigh and Richmond. Hershey appears on the local schedule four times, twice at home and twice there. Other Atlantic opponents will be played at home and away.

Single games are scheduled against Northeast Division foes in Boston, Connecticut, Long Island, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Staten Island and Toronto. The other Northeast team, the Lehigh Valley Steam, will be a Mania opponent three times. Like the Mania, Lehigh Valley and Pittsburgh are first-year A-League franchises.

The Mania is selling season tickets, with prices ranging from $126 to $180, as well as Founders Club packages, which include tickets and club-related events. Facilities for birthday parties and other gatherings will be available at UMBC Stadium, which will seat 5,100 for Mania games. Information: 410-715-GOAL.

Blast tonight

Opponent: Edmonton Drillers

Site: Skyreach Center, Edmonton, Alberta

Time: 8: 05

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM)

Outlook: Edmonton's six-game winning streak has it tied with Buffalo for the North Division lead. The team is 7-1 at home and is the second-stingiest team in the NPSL, allowing an average of less than 10 points per game. Goalie Pat Onstad is 8-3 with an 8.73 goals-against average. The Blast is 0-5 on the road.

Mania schedule

Date .... ...... Opponent ..... ......Time

April 29........ at Raleigh......... 7: 05

May 9............ Charleston........ 4: 05

May 15........... Lehigh Valley..... 7: 35

May 20........... Atlanta........... 7: 05

May 23........... Rochester......... 4: 05

May 29........... at Hampton Roads.. 7: 30

June 4........... at Richmond....... 7: 00

June 6........... Lehigh Valley..... 4: 05

June 12......... Jacksonville....... 7: 35

June 20......... Toronto............ 4: 05

June 25......... at Charleston...... 7: 30

June 26......... at Jacksonville.... 7: 35

July 3.......... Hershey............ 7: 35

July 9.......... Indiana............ 7: 35

July 17......... at Hershey......... 7: 35

July 24......... at Atlanta......... 7: 35

July 28......... at Lehigh Valley... 7: 30

July 30......... at Indiana......... 8: 35

Aug. 1.......... Pittsburgh......... 4: 05

Aug. 7.......... at Long Island..... 7: 30

Aug. 8.......... at Staten Island... 7: 00

Aug. 13 ....... ..at Hershey. ...... 7: 05

Aug. 15......... Hershey............ 4: 05

Aug. 20......... at Boston.......... 7: 30

Aug. 21......... at Connecticut..... 7: 30

Aug. 27......... Richmond........... 7: 35

Aug. 29......... Raleigh............ 4: 05

Sept. 4......... Hampton Roads...... 7: 35

Pub Date: 12/20/98

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