After early charge, Mania flounders, drops to 0-5

Rochester rebounds from Corneli goal, 4-1

May 24, 1999|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

In a game coached by two, well, Blasts from the past, the Maryland Mania started quickly yesterday but then faded into their fifth straight A-League loss, 4-1, against the deeper, clearly more experienced Rochester Raging Rhinos.

"We got beat by a quality team, probably the best team in the A-League right now," said Mania coach Paul Kitson, a forward with Rhinos coach Pat Ercoli on the 1984 Blast team that won the Major Indoor Soccer League title. "They've got players off the bench who can start for us."

Said Ercoli, who chatted with Kitson and greeted several of an announced 560 fans with obvious fondness: "We haven't had a good history on [synthetic] turf, so we're glad to win. But Paul's going to need some time to get players he's comfortable with, and they obviously need to work on getting some fans here."

The winless Mania, punchless for most of their first four games, wasted no time scoring this time at UMBC Stadium, taking a 1-0 lead on their first shot just 3: 23 into the match. Newly signed forward Nicola Corneli, who played in Montreal for Kitson last season, took a short pass at midfield from teammate Todd Haskins, carried it about 35 yards and beat Rhinos goalkeeper Pat Onstad from about 12 yards.

The Mania shot three more times in the next seven minutes, but with only a couple exceptions, that was the extent of their offensive creativity.

The 4-1, defending-champion Rhinos pulled even at 1-1 in the 19th minute and never looked back.

Midfielder Mauro Biello tucked in a 7-yard shot -- first of his two goals -- from just off the left post.

After a stretch of rough play, in which each side got yellow cards, the Rhinos took the lead, 2-1, in the 33rd minute on a restart from 38 yards. Defender Scott Schweitzer's kick to the center of the box found both Baltimore-born Yari Allnutt and Mania keeper Russell Payne soaring for it, with the Rhinos' captain heading in from 12 yards.

Allnutt also scored the Rhinos' fourth goal in the 67th minute. Rochester's third goal, by Biello, came in the 59th minute.

NOTE: The Mania has released two forwards, Richard Moller and Scott Pearson. Moller was a top NCAA Division I scorer the last two seasons at Towson University; Pearson was American University's all-time assists leader.

Goals: R--Biello 2 (19th minute, 59th minute), Allnutt 2 (33rd minute, 67th minute); M--Corneli (4th minute). Assists: R-Miller, Schweitzer, Glenn, Zavala. M-Haskins. Saves: R-Onstad 2; M-Payne 8. Yellow cards: R-1. M-3. Half: R, 2-1.

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