Thumbnails of MISL Teams EASTERN DIVISION Cleveland Force
Undated (AP) _ The Force, who have won two straight Eastern Division titles, has been bounced from the playoffs in each of the last four years. Kai Haaskivi (34 goals, 55 assists), Craig Allen (37, 19) and Carl Valentine (33, 39) lead a pretty much unchanged offense.
On defense, Bernie James, who led the league with 139 blocks, has signed with Tacoma, leaving Benny Dargle and Rookie of the Year John Stollmeyer to protect goalkeeper Victor Noguiera (14-16, 4.89 goals against average), who was obtained from Chicago for keeper Chris Vaccaro (20-9, 4.02 GAA). Baltimore Blast
Stan Stamenkovic, who led Baltimore to its only title, has returned from Yugoslavia, but his weight and knees are still a question.
Baltimore, which had its second-best record last year (33-19), still has one of the best goalkeeping tandems, Keith Van Eron (15-6, 3.92 GAA) and Scott Manning (14-9, 3.47 GAA), but it has lost one of its defensive stalwarts, Mike Stankovic, to free agency. Dallas Sidekicks
Dallas shut its doors for a day in the summer of 1986 - hitting financial doom at that time. The new money of Stan Graham, Stan Finney and Jan Rogers saved them. But Tatu has made them on the field. Last year he scored 73 goals and 38 assists to provide 53 percent of Dallas’ 209 goals.
The Sidekicks have added Beto from Los Angeles and are expecting him to recover from a knee injury to be a 40-point scorer. Second league-leading goalkeeper Krys Sobieski (24-19, 3.45 GAA) will get help with the signing of free agent Joe Papaleo (22-9, 3.98 GAA) from Tacoma. Minnesota Strikers
Minnesota feels it has streamlined itself by releasing Dan Canter, Ken Fogarty and trading Helmut Dudek. Goalkeeper Tim Harris (2-8, 5.59 GAA) will replace backup Matt Kennedy (11-7, 4.12 GAA), but that will add pressure on league-leader Tino Lettieri (15-19, 3.38). Steve Kinsey (31 goals, 24 assists) and Alan Willey (32, 19) will have to break in a group of rookies. Chicago Sting
Lee Stern’s club has slipped on and off the field. They have missed the playoffs the last two years and a marketing group has entered to increase the sagging attendance.
Coach Erich Geyer took a 1-7 team and led it to a 22-22 record. Vaccaro immediately will improve the goalkeeping but the Sting is missing the big goal scorer with Karl-Heinz Granitza’s retirement. WESTERN DIVISION Tacoma Stars
Tacoma is the deepest club with four of the MISL’s top 12 scorers. Led by Steve Zungul (42, 47), who signed a new three-year contract, Preki (41, 47), Godfrey Ingram (52, 29) and Gary Heale (46, 24) comprise a balanced offense. With James, the Stars’ defense has five of the top 11 block leaders including Niel Megson, Ralph Black, Joe Waters and Val Tuksa.
Goalkeeper Mike Dowler (3-1, 2.78 GAA) played in only six regular-season games last year after missing most of the season with a knee injury, and Papaleo’s absence will hurt. Kansas City Comets
Dave Clements took over a 10-14 club and led the Comets to a second place, 28-24 finish and was named Coach of the Year.
Jan Goossens, second league-leading scorer with 51 goals and 44 assists, and Damir Haramina (42, 22) head an unchanged offense and seven-year veteran goalkeeper Alan Mayer (22-16, 4.19 GAA) will be greatly helped with the addition of defender Kim Roentved from Wichita. San Diego Sockers
Injuries and internal strife helped end Newman’s club’s reign atop indoor soccer. The roster is unchanged except for minor alterations, but with a healthy team, Segota committed to a three-year contract, the league’s other top goalkeeping pair - Jim Gorsek and Zoltan Toth - and a strong support crew, the Sockers will challenge again.
Even with the injuries last year, San Diego had the third best power play, the fourth best penalty killers, and allowed the fewest goals in the MISL - 198. Wichita Wings
Wichita has major changes. Kennedy will take over as the No. 1 keeper for the departed Seamus McDonagh. Chico Borja (51 goals, 36 assists), has left for Los Angeles, requiring Erik Rasmussen (27, 33) to provide even more of the offense, which led the league by scoring 268 goals. Stankovic (27, 26) should provide some of the scoring and help fill in a hole left by Roentved’s departure. St. Louis Steamers
The once proud franchise has steadily slipped in the last three years. After making it to the finals in 1984, St. Louis didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season for only the second time in their history and for the first time since 1980.
Eight-year veteran Slobo Ilijevski (16-28, 3.95 GAA) is still in goal and there are few changes elsewhere. John Bain, picked up in mid-season from Kansas City last year, will have to increase the scoring pace with Nebo Bandovic. Los Angeles Lazers
The Lazers should be the most improved team this year. Owner Jerry Buss has given coach Keith Tozer Borja (51 goals, 36 assists), Paul Child, Michael Collins, Don Ebert and Chris Whyte. Collins and Whyte joined after the Express folded but the other three are proven and brand new to Los Angeles.
With a healthy David Brcic (14-26, 4.17) in goal, the Lazers could break .500 for the first time in their six-year-history.
END ADV Weekend Editions Oct. 31-Nov.01