Barber traded, Neely waived as Blast looks for right mix

Forward Felician acquired in deal with Harrisburg

Soccer

February 20, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Determined to find the right equation in time for the playoffs, the Blast did some adding and subtracting yesterday and is not through yet.

With a disappointing 13-14 mark that has his team in fourth place in the Major Indoor Soccer League, Blast head coach/general manager Kevin Healey acquired forward Lester Felician from the Harrisburg Heat for midfielder Danny Barber, and also waived 36-year-old defender Doug Neely.

The departure of Neely, a 17-year pro who had two stints and seven seasons in Baltimore, will make room for fellow veteran defender Iain Fraser, who, coming from the Sacramento Knights of the former World Indoor Soccer League, was the Blast's first selection in last week's allocation draft. Healey said Fraser will join the team in Kansas City for Friday night's game against the Comets.

After the Blast's mistake-filled 16-14 home loss to the Philadelphia KiXX last Wednesday, Healey told his group changes would be made.

"But we didn't just make moves to make moves. We made moves that we believe will get us better," he said. "Yes, it will get their attention, but we didn't do it to just shake things up."

Felician is creative and composed with the ball and can get by defenders to provide instant offense. In 12 games with the Heat this season, the Trinidad native had one three-point goal, three two-pointers and eight assists for 17 points. He's looking forward to the fresh start here and is confident he'll be able to fit right in.

"I'm an easy player to get along with, and as far as gelling, the guys here are very skillful and can play the ball [to the feet] - that's the type of player I am also, so I don't think it will take very long," he said.

Neely, a former All-Star and favorite everywhere he went, will be missed, Blast team operator Ed Hale said.

"Dougie is one of the best guys I've met in soccer. He's very smart, well educated, articulate and always represented us very well. This stings a little bit," Hale said.

The Blast also waived backup goalkeeper Eric Hymowitz and signed keeper Karim Mounbam, a Cameroon native who just got his visa to work in the United States.

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