Hale discounts dissension but muttering continues


Owner Ed Hale said Friday night he doesn't believe there is any dissension on the Baltimore Blast.

But this team has too much talent to be faltering three and fougames under .500 and possibly more before the season is over.

After one game a couple of months ago when the Blast wabeaten at home by the Tacoma Stars, Tim Wittman said: "They don't worry about who scores the goals, and that's why they won."

Wittman ended his comments right there, but it was obvious hwas implying there are some Blast players who do think too much about scoring goals.

One has to wonder where all the team unity has gone over thpast three years. Some key players are gone from the 1988-89 team that lost, 6-5, to the San Diego Sockers in Game 7 of the Major Soccer League championship series.

But it seems there are enough players left to pick up the pieceand go on after the departure of the likes of David Byrne, Kai Haaskivi, Carl Valentine, Mike Sweeney and Freddie Thompson.

However, very few of those returning players (Wittman, ScotManning, Domenic Mobilio, Bruce Savage and Billy Ronson) seem to be enjoying themselves much anymore.

Even third-year players Mark Mettrick and Rusty Troy seem thave lost some intensity.


Blast coach Kenny Cooper has tried everything on the floor tshake the team up. Nothing has worked.

Maybe he should give the players three or four days off as sooas possible and tell them to forget soccer. Maybe they would come back with fresh minds and bodies for the stretch drive and the playoffs.

There are some ready-made excuses for the Blast this season -numerous injuries from Day 1 and 12 one-goal losses (six in overtime).

D8 But Cooper said he doesn't believe in making excuses.*

Hale said Friday he and Cooper have talked about having Calvert Hall product Chris Reif on the Blast full-time next season.

"We want Chris to have a place on the team," said Hale. "He'helped us with his enthusiasm. I had to call Mike Chesser [Baltimore Gas and Electric executive] at a convention in Houston and talk him into letting Chris sign with us for 15 days."

Reif was signed to the 15-day contract 11 days ago and scoreone goal and had two assists in the first two games he played.

Reif, a defender, is a meter reader for BG&E; and will return to thjob when he is finished with the Blast.

Wittman, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee March 4, said he will be ready to play in seven days when he comes off the five-game disabled list.

Joe Barger, also on the disabled list for five games, said hiseverely strained neck is OK now and he will be set to play next Sunday when he gets off the DL.


Former Baltimore Blast goalkeeper Scoop Stanisic has been suspended indefinitely by Hershey Impact coach Niki Nikolic for his actions after a 27-17 victory over the Illinois Thunder March 2 in a National Professional Soccer League indoor game.

Even though the Impact won the game, Stanisic was unhappthat his defenders played softly in the fourth quarter after Hershey had taken a 17-3 lead into that period.

In the NPSL, goals from the red line or farther count three pointsregular goals are two points and shootouts are one point.

Stanisic didn't yell at anybody, but he silently let it be known hwasn't happy with his teammates.

Nikolic felt that Stanisic's surly attitude wasn't good for teamorale and he slapped him with the suspension.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to see Stanisic in any kind otrouble because he never had any in the Major Soccer League.


Another kind of quiet guy, San Diego midfielder Branko Segota, finds himself in a little trouble.

Segota was suspended for one game and fined $1,000 by MScommissioner Earl Foreman for striking Kansas City Comets goalkeeper Jim Gorsek in the upper left thigh with an extended foot in a March 1 game.

Gorsek sustained a severe contusion and has been out since thincident occurred.

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