MSL fines Blast's Cooper for criticism of officials


Blast coach Kenny Cooper was fined yesterday for publicly criticizing Major Soccer League director of officials Herb Silva in particular and league officials in general after Sunday's 5-4, double-overtime loss to the Wings in Wichita, Kan.

MSL deputy commissioner John Borozzi announced that a fine had been levied on Cooper because he violated the league rule against public criticism of officials.

Borozzi said it was against league policy to release the amount of the fine, but it is believed the fine was $250 to $500.

Cooper, reached last night in San Diego, where the Blast will meet the Sockers tonight, said he would not reveal the amount of the fine.

But Cooper said: "It could have been worse. I spend that much when I take the boys out for chicken wings and a few beers. Maybe the next time I'll invite the refs. The only problem is, maybe the wings will be too hot to handle for the refs."

The criticism by Cooper included remarks that insinuated Silva has it in for the Blast because the team is 3-15 in games refereed by the director of officials.

"I don't want to see Herb again unless it's at a league meeting," Cooper had said.

That request has fallen on deaf ears, because Silva will referee tonight's game against the Sockers.

Borozzi and MSL commissioner Earl Foreman said there was no way the league would grant a request to ban an official from any team's games.

When Cooper was informed that Silva would be in San Diego tonight, the Blast coach said: "Maybe I'll bring Herb chicken wings."

Cooper said he would not appeal the fine because he respects Foreman and Borozzi.

"If it were any other commissioner or deputy commissioner, I'd be on their doorstep with my wife and kids," Cooper said.

Borozzi said he informed Cooper of the fine yesterday morning before he left for San Diego.

"Kenny was defending himself," Borozzi said. "But it's clearly stated in MSL regulations that there can be no public criticism of officials."

Blast tonight

Opponent: San Diego Sockers

Site: San Diego Sports Arena, 10:35 p.m.

Radio: WCAO (600 AM)

Outlook: The Blast opens a three-game road trip that will cover six days and take the team to San Diego tonight, Tacoma tomorrow night and St. Louis on Thursday. Baltimore will have to play at least tonight's game without No. 1 G Cris Vaccaro, who came down with food poisoning before Thursday night's game against Wichita but played anyway and was weak afterward. Blast coach Kenny Cooper decided yesterday morning not to take Vaccaro to San Diego. Cooper said Vaccaro may join the team in Tacoma tomorrow night. G Steve Powers, who was signed to a developmental contract this month, has been activated for tonight's game. Baltimore (14-15) turned back the Wings, 8-5, at the Baltimore Arena on Thursday night. San Diego will win the regular-season title in a walk after winning nine of its past 10 games, including an 8-3 romp over Tacoma on Sunday.

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