For starters, home field puts visitors on foreign turf

Hosts off to 7-0 start for first 2 weeks of season

MISL notebook

Soccer

October 31, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Two weeks into the season and the home teams are a perfect 7-0, outscoring the visitors by an 83-46 margin.

Blast coach Kevin Healey said there are a number of factors that contribute to the fast start in friendly confines.

"A lot of the games are home openers for teams and plenty of emotion goes into it. Players want to produce in front of their fans, their coaches and their owners - it's a distinct advantage," he said.

The Blast (2-1) had double trouble in losing its first game of the season on Saturday - a 16-7 setback in Cleveland.

It was the Crunch's home opener, and while the Blast was handling the Kansas City Comets, 9-6, in Baltimore the night before and then shuffling off to the airport the next morning, the Clevelanders were comfortably resting with a night off on Friday.

Four more times this season, the Blast will have back-to-back weekend games where the second-day opponent had the previous night off. On the flip side, only twice will the Blast be rested and play an opponent that had a game the night before.

Nashville skyline

League commissioner Steve Ryan is in Nashville, Tenn., today to promote two neutral-site games that will be played there later this season at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Nashville is the prototype of what the league is looking for toward potential expansion.

With strong interest coming from the group that owns the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators, there's strong financial backing to go with a marketing team that would already be in place, open dates in the arena and an active recreation council soccer community, much like Baltimore.

Players of Week named

Philadelphia forward Kevin Sloan was named MISL Offensive Player of the Week, with Milwaukee goalkeeper Victor Nogueira nabbing Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Sloan had three two-point goals and an assist for seven points to lead the KiXX past visiting Kansas City, 11-8, on Saturday. It was the 300th career game for the Oakland Mills High grad, who has totaled 893 points in 10 seasons.

Nogueira turned back 13 of the 14 shots he faced in a 12-2 win over visiting Harrisburg on Friday. After allowing a restart goal by David Bascome at the 3:37 mark of the first quarter, the seven-time Goalkeeper of the Year held the Heat scoreless for the final 56-plus minutes.

Games on Comcast

Suburban Baltimore residents served by Comcast cable can check out the Blast three times during the 2002 portion of the season on CN8, which will televise nine Philadelphia KiXX games in all.

Scheduled broadcasts of games between the two rivals will take place on Jan. 6, March 1 and March 30.

Short kicks

Milwaukee veteran forward Joe Reiniger finished with two points in the Wave's win over Harrisburg to extend his scoring streak to 76 games. Former Cleveland Crunch star Zoran Karic has the all-time mark, registering at least one point in 159 consecutive games from 1992-1997. ... The Crunch's 16-7 win over the Blast on Saturday, its 300th as a franchise, also was the first professional victory for rookie coach Mike Pilger, who was previously a longtime college coach. ... Harrisburg keeper Doug Petras, an eight-year veteran, recorded his 3,000th career save in Friday's loss at Milwaukee.

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