Facing Sockers or Europe would make for better All-Star Game


With only seven teams in the Major Soccer League, whose idea was it to divide them up for an East vs. West All-Star Game?

No one is telling, but the best bet is that this way 32 players will get to participate, instead of just 16 All-Stars if one team was chosen.

Still, it might be a more interesting game if a single group of MSL All-Stars lined up to play the MSL's four-time defending champion San Diego Sockers or an imported challenger from Europe -- where the MSL has been so willing to go of late for tournament competition.

The voting for the teams begins this week, as players on each team vote for players on other teams in their East (Baltimore, Dallas and Cleveland) or West (St. Louis, Wichita, Tacoma, San Diego) Division.

The players will select 12 All-Stars: six offensive, four defenders and two goalkeepers. Then the head coaches, Cleveland's Trevor Dawkins in the East and San Diego's Ron Newman in the West, will round out the team with four picks each to bring the roster to 16.

The game, which very well could break down as an offensive East team against a more defensive West squad, will be played here at the Arena, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m.

* COLLEGE SHOWCASE: The names of the 32 best college senior soccer stars who will participate in the annual showcase in conjunction with the MSL All-Star festivities, are to be released later this week.

The college stars will play at 5 p.m., Feb. 13, preceding the MSL All-Star Game.

* MIGHTY QUINN EXITS: The San Diego Sockers are about to find out what life is like in the real world. Their all-everything midfielder Brian Quinn will play what is expected to be his last game this season in the MSL this Sunday, when his short-term contract expires.

"I have a feeling we won't be able to work out another short-term agreement," said Quinn. "I just do not feel it is realistic to do both indoors and outdoors with the National Team. I believed that at the start of the season and that's what I believe now. There's just too much travel and too many games."

Quinn, who became a U.S. citizen last spring, has a full-time contract with the U.S. National Team, which begins preparation in Miami this week for its season. The National team is scheduled to play eight games between now and mid- May.

But Sockers coach Newman gives a new twist to the term "positive thinking" when he says he isn't counting out the possibility of having Quinn back at some point: "You never know," Newman said. "Maybe we'll have a couple players injured for a game and we can bring Brian back. We can always keep that door open."

* BEST ON OFFENSE: Believe it or not, Blast midfielder/defender Mark Mettrick is the MSL's Offensive Player of the Week. Mettrick scored the first hat trick of his four-year career Friday in the Blast's 9-4 victory over Dallas.

* DOWLER BREAKS STRING: Tacoma goalkeeper Mike Dowler helped the Stars break a seven-game road losing streak Saturday. He shut out the Dallas Sidekicks during the second half and 2:17 into overtime, to help the Stars to a 3-2 victory. For his efforts he is the league's Defensive Player of the Week.

* RIVALRY BREWING: Wichita defender Terry Rowe is getting something of a bad-boy reputation in Cleveland. In two games, the Wings and Crunch have seen four players tossed for violent conduct, and Rowe was in the midst of each controversy.

On the other hand, maybe it's just a strong two-sided rivalry developing between a team that usually has had the upper hand (Cleveland) and one that is enjoying its new-found strength and position at the top of the standings.

Still it could be a more personal thing, given a number of Wichita players formerly played for Cleveland and several former Wings are now with Cleveland.

In the Cleveland media guide, defender David Hoggan, who spent 2 1/2 years in Wichita in the mid-1980s, lists his most memorable career moment as telling Wings coach Roy Turner to take a hike.

* MSL-LANIA: San Diego is in the midst of a 13-day layoff before back-to-back games at Wichita Saturday and home against the Blast Sunday . . . The Blast's Joe Koziol has a team-best five games in which he has scored two goals. Blast teammate Domenic Mobilio has goals in five straight games and a point in 16 of 20.

Dale Mitchell scored Tacoma's winning goal at Dallas Saturday, 2:17 into overtime . . . Socker Paul Wright has scored in six straight games and has 19 goals, four assists in his last nine.

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