Spirit duo finds fighting has its price


The Spirit's Franklin McIntosh and Lance Johnson and the Dayton Dynamo's Jeff De Vettori and Chris Pfau are about to pay the penalty for fighting.

They will be suspended by the National Professional Soccer League for at least one game and fined a minimum of $75 for fighting during the Spirit's 29-10 victory Sunday in Dayton. League director of operations Paul Luchowski said additional disciplinary measures could be taken after the game film is reviewed.

"If the benches emptied, we can't have that kind of stuff," Luchowski said.

McIntosh and Johnson will miss Friday night's game here against the Kansas City Attack, but might be available for Sunday's visit to the Canton Invaders.

The fight broke out after De Vettori tackled McIntosh, who replied with a half-dozen quick punches and then hurled De Vettori to the floor. As the first off their respective benches to join the fun, Johnson and Pfau were ejected along with McIntosh and De Vettori.

"A tackle above the knee like that could have ended Franklin's season," said Spirit vice president Drew Forrester, recalling that it was just such a tackle that sent Tim Wittman into major knee surgery last season.

Wittman rejoins Spirit

Wittman has been removed from the Spirit's suspended list and will be eligible to play Friday against Kansas City. Wittman was suspended Jan. 9 for insubordination after an incident in the team's Jan. 8 game in Dayton.

Yesterday, Wittman met for two hours with Forrester and Spirit coach Dave MacWilliams, and the team announced his suspension had ended.

"Timmy understands where I'm coming from as the coach, and I listened to what he had to say from a player's viewpoint," MacWilliams said in a statement.

Wittman, in the same statement, said: "All I have to say is what's done is done; there's no hard feelings. We had a small problem in Dayton, and it has been resolved."

Double-O zeros Canton

Cleveland Crunch goalie Otto Orf, who wears uniform No. 00, turned in the NPSL's first shutout since March 6, 1993, in a 20-0 win over Canton.

There were three shutouts in the space of three months in 1993, by the Milwaukee Wave's Tony Pierce, the Chicago Power's Mark Simpson and the Harrisburg Heat's Joe Mallia, now with the Spirit.

The Invaders' response to the shutout was astonishing. Forty-eight hours later, they exploded with a team-record 34 points in their 34-8 victory over Chicago, as Carlos Ledesma tied an NPSL record with 17 points.

Fittingly, the NPSL Co-Players of the Week are Orf and Ledesma.

St. Louis draws 12,750

The St. Louis Ambush attracted 12,750, the largest crowd of the NPSL season, for its win over the visiting Kansas City Attack. The next night, St. Louis beat Kansas City again, this time on the road, handing the Attack its third straight loss after its 10-game winning streak.

The Spirit crowd of 9,323 was the second largest of the weekend and pushed the club into sixth place in the 12-team NPSL with a 5,418 average.


Ex-Spirit Rob Ukrop, who has 30 points in 21 games for Dayton, will be out at least four weeks with a broken foot. He missed 11 Spirit games last season with a broken jaw. . . . With the season barely past the halfway point, the Spirit's Kevin Sloan has a career-high 93 points and is tied for fourth in the NPSL. . . . Spirit goalie Cris Vaccaro, recovering from the flu and vertigo, is questionable for Friday night's game. Mallia (8-3 record) is likely to make his 11th start. . . . Players and coaches have ballots to select participants in the All-Star Game on Feb. 19 in Buffalo.

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