The Spirit's 10-game winning streak to begin the season apparently has caught the attention of its National Professional Soccer League opposition.
"When you're 10-0, you hope you can win forever," Spirit coach Kenny Cooper said after Saturday's 9-4 loss in Buffalo to the Blizzard. "But teams are getting geared up for us."
And the Blizzard had extra incentive against the Spirit (10-2).
"They came out flying," Cooper said. "They lost, 17-3, in Baltimore and had something to prove."
The real key to the game was Buffalo goalkeeper Jamie Swanner. He faced 28 Spirit shots, giving up just two third-quarter goals.
"I think we wanted it more," Swanner said. "We decided we had to push up right away and force them."
The Blizzard took charge early. The first quarter's only goal was a two-pointer by Rudy Pikuzinski 3:42 into the game. The Blizzard added five points in the second quarter, and the Spirit couldn't score.
The Spirit rebounded in the second half. In the third quarter, two-point goals by John Abe and Goran Hunjak narrowed the margin to 7-4.
"The effort in the second half was tremendous," Cooper said. "But when the [opposing] goalkeepers play well, as they did these past two games, it's tough."