Modesty misplaced for Cabral

League's top goal-scorer has done much on his own

NPSL notebook

November 03, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Blast midfielder Denison Cabral said he's just been in the right place at the right time this season.

That may be true for a few of his league-leading 10 goals, which won him the NPSL Offensive Player of the Month Award for October. But the others have to fall under the category of individual effort, especially considering four of them came on shootouts.

"It's nice to be recognized like that," Cabral said. "But it's a team award. I just do my job. An award like that, it's all about team. I didn't do anything by myself."

Cabral has scored six two-point goals and four one-point goals for 16 points in the Blast's three matches, leading the league in each of those categories. He has converted four of five shootout attempts.

He has accomplished all this in the face of the arrival of point-scorers Paul Wright and Erik Rasmussen, who also received some votes for the award.

"I've worked really hard and concentrated on finishing, especially knowing all those guys can create a situation for goals," Cabral, 25, said. "I know the opportunities are going to come in the games. I'm just going to be ready for them."

Rasmussen set Cabral up for two goals on re-starts early in Saturday's win over Milwaukee. Coach Kevin Healey said those goals, putting the Blast up 4-0, set the tone for an eventual, 26-12 victory.

Cabral finished third on the team last year with 110 points.

"Denison is a fine-offensive player, one of the top finishers in the league," Healey said.

"People also don't recognize how young he is. He's one of the up-and-coming stars in the league. And we at some time have to build our franchise around him."

Signings paying off

Healey said Wright and Rasmussen have given the team everything he thought they would when he signed them this off-season.

Rasmussen has 12 points on three goals and a league-leading six assists after missing most of the preseason due to a prior soccer commitment.

Wright has two goals and two assists. He missed most of the second half against the Wave with a strained hamstring, but returned to practice yesterday.

"They've brought a lot of stability to the team," Healey said. "They are both very good passers. They give us also a different type of play, depending on who's on the field making it hard to defend us.

"When Erik is on the field, he's strong and slows down play a little bit. When Paul gets the ball, he's extremely fast."

Rasmussen signed with the Blast after leading Wichita with 184 points last season. Wright makes his return to the indoor game after spending the last three seasons with Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards.

"I'm not at the top of the game," Wright said. "For me to come out of outdoors, it's going to take a little while for me to feel comfortable. As long as I'm not hurting the team until I really get going, I'm happy."

No comparison

The 3-0 start and optimism created after beating division champion Philadelphia twice is in significant contrast to the 0-4 start last season.

Healey stressed getting off to a fast start this season, especially over the first seven matches.

"Last year, we struggled to get into our rhythm and find a way to get to .500," he said.

"Three games isn't what we considered a start. We were looking more at seven games, so we still have our work cut out to get where we want to be. But it certainly feels a lot better at this point. Winning breeds winning."

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