Sunday, October 6, 2002
By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer
Emotion play a major role in a player's performance; not enough emotion and the result is a lackluster performance. Too much emotion creates misplays and mental lapses and the emotion was running high as the Kixx had their MISL Championship banner raised to the rafters of the First Union Spectrum in a pre-game ceremony and the players received their championship rings. The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Champion Philadelphia Kixx learned some hard lessons about emotion in their first two games as defending champions. Opposing teams are going to bring their "A" game every night against the Champion and anything less than a stellar performance will give opposing teams the momentum to fell the Champion. We have got to bring our best game every time we step on the field otherwise the same thing that happened tonight, same thing that happened last week (against Dallas) is going to happen...we were fortunate enough to come out with a win, said Kixx Head Coach, Omid Namazi.
Defender Pat Morris put Philadelphia on the board with a two-point goal at 6:32 of the first quarter with an assist by Chris Handsor. Harrisburg's David Branscome (4 goals, 8 points, 2 PPG) knotted the score at 2-2 just 44 seconds into the second quarter. Philadelphia's Les Lunsford and Gary De Palma gave the Kixx a 6-2 lead going into the half.
Glenn Carbonara (assist by Joel Shanker) put Philadelphia up 8-2 and the Kixx seemed to be well on their way to an easy victory. A three-pointer from Philadelphia Forward Don D'Ambra put the Kixx up 11-4 with under 11 minutes to play. I tried to get as close to the goal as I could...I knew I was in shooting range but I had my eye on the defender to make sure he didn't get a piece of the ball. As soon as I felt him pressure, that's when I took my shot, said D'Ambra. Little did anyone know at the time that D'Ambra's goal would be the difference in the game. A minute later, Branscome scored his third of the night to cut the lead to 11-6, which triggered a five-minute display of tentativeness and unfocused play by the Kixx. Two quick goals by Branscome and David Barbosa with under six minutes to play cut the lead to 11-10
I think Harrisburg raised their intensity...we had a defensive lapse and we got caught watching the ball a couple of times and we got a little bit lazy on our defensive responsibilities and they capitalized. It just goes to show you that we dominated the whole game, have five minutes of a defensive lapse and they score a couple of goals, added Namazi. It's a tale of two halves...for whatever reason we relaxed again and let the other team back in the game...handed them goals and made it difficult for ourselves, we had to sweat it out...it seems like guys are playing without being smart and a couple of our guys are not taking care of the ball. We just have to be more clinical about our play, more professional about our mentality and just staying disciplined all the way through four quarters instead of playing two good quarters and just relaxing.
The Philadelphia Kixx take on the Cleveland Force on Sunday October 13th at 5:05 PM with a special appearance by Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Eight lucky fans will get to catch a pass from Mc Nabb at halftime and 40 others will receive signed memorabilia. For ticket information, call 1.888.888.KIXX or visit the Kixx website at: www.kixxonline.com. KIXX Family Pack (4 seats, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas) are available for just $59.00 and the 6-PAXX gives you six games at 15% off the regular price and you get the 7th game free.
Join me each week on The Topcat & Taggart Sports Show Sundays 4:30-5:30 PM and with Johnny Goodtimes and Rob P. on Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 PM on Philadelphia's Renaissance Radio Station, WNJC1360-AM. The studio phone lines are 856.227.1360 and 856.232.7077.