KiXX Roster Full of Postseason Award Candidates
Voting for MISL Postseason Awards Set to Begin Wednesday, April 7
Tuesday, April 6, 2004
By David Deal
Balloting for the 2004 Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Postseason Awards is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, April 7, and the Philadelphia KiXX present voters with a number of potential candidates. Voting will be conducted by a panel of team-level executives and media members from around the MISL.
KiXX player/coach Don D’Ambra continues to excel both on and off the playing field and deserves serious consideration for both the MISL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and for an All-League squad. The Philadelphia native has led the club to a 20-16 overall record and their eighth consecutive postseason berth, all while ranking second on the team with 44 points. D’Ambra, a product of St. Joseph’s University finished the 2003-04 regular season ranked first in the MISL with seven first goals, tied for second with five game winners and fifth on the League’s circuit with 35 total goals. The 31-year-old midfielder achieved numerous career milestones this season, including appearing in his 350th game and notching his 450th point. D’Ambra also recorded his 350th point and played in his 300th contest as a member of the KiXX franchise. The 10-year veteran played a role in each of the club’s six goals versus the Monterrey Fury on January 24, finishing with six points (four goals, two assists) to set his best outing in eight seasons with Philadelphia. D’Ambra, in his second consecutive all-star appearance, tallied the final goal for Team USA in the 2004 MISL All-Star Game, in which USA defeated the League’s International unit 10-1 in St. Louis’ Family Arena on February 29.
Philadelphia goalkeeper Peter Pappas posted another career season and warrants consideration for his second Goalkeeper of the Year award as well as consideration for the League’s MVP award. The native of Toronto, Ontario finished the regular season ranked first among MISL netminders in save percentage (.765) and saves (430) and third in wins (17), minutes (1748), and goals against average (4.53). While his goals against average is third in the League, Pappas has faced nearly 200 more shots than his counterparts ranked higher in the standings. The 31-year-old goalkeeper posted a perfect (16 saves on 16 shots faced) performance versus San Diego on January 17 to earn a 5-0 shutout victory, the third of his career and the first shutout in the modern-day MISL. Pappas, a Philadelphia University product, received seven League accolades for his play throughout various points this season; a MISL-high five Goalkeeper of the Week honors (seven-day periods ending October 5, October 12, January 18, February 1, and February 8) to match a pair of monthly awards for his performance throughout October and January. The All-League candidate was selected to his seventh consecutive all-star game, but did not participate because of injury.
Philadelphia native Pat Morris continued his defensive dominance along the KiXX backline and merits consideration in both Defender of the Year voting and for his third All-League team. The five-year veteran solidified the club’s defense with a team-high 63 blocks (3rd MISL), while notching 34 points, sitting him third on the team and among the League’s defenders, on the offensive end of the floor. Morris, the MISL’s best-marking defender, blocked a season-high seven shots versus the Fury in Monterrey on January 29, then added four blocks and a season-high four points (goal, three assists) versus the Baltimore Blast on February 7. The 26-year-old backliner made his third all-star appearance, representing Team USA in the MISL All-Star Game on February 29. Morris also received numerous League accolades, including three Defensive Player of the Week honors (seven-day periods ending December 28, January 11 and February 8) and a pair of Defensive Player of the Month awards for his play throughout January and February. Philadelphia’s iron man posted a 97-games played streak before he was forced out of action for the club’s final four contests because of illness.
Goran Vasic enjoyed one his most productive seasons in his six-year career. The 31-year-old forward made his first all-star appearance this season, playing with the League’s International squad in the MISL All-Star Game on February 29. Vasic concluded the campaign ranked tied for ninth in the League with 48 points on 14 goals and 34 assists (3rd MISL). He received the League’s Offensive Player of the Week accolade for the seven-day period ending November 30 and then the MISL Offensive Player of the Month honor for his play throughout November. Vasic exploded for a career-high six points versus the Kansas City Comets on November 15; the six-dish performance tied the franchise mark for most assists in a single contest. The native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia eclipsed numerous personal plateaus this season, including 100 career blocks, 150 career goals, and 300 career points.
KiXX newcomer Andy Guastaferro proved a legitimate scoring threat and warrants serious consideration for the Rookie of the Year honor. The 26-year-old midfielder registered 18 points, sixth on the team’s scoring list, on 11 goals and seven assists in 33 appearances this season. Guastaferro, a native of Canandaigua, NY recorded his first professional point with an assist in the club’s home opening victory over the Baltimore Blast on November 1 and posted three multi-point outings; two goals versus Kansas City on November 15, two assists in Monterrey on December 13 and a pair of tallies in Baltimore on March 5. The University of Maine product notched the game-winning goal versus San Diego on March 7, the first game-deciding score of his career. Guastaferro competed with both the Charlotte Eagles (2000-2003) and the New Orleans Storm (1999) of the outdoor A-League prior to joining the KiXX. The five-year A-League veteran finished the 2003 campaign with four points (one goal and two assists) and 1,493 minutes played in 24 contests.
Defender Jeremy Aldrich made considerable contributions both in the KiXX backline and on the offensive end of the floor in his rookie season. The All-Rookie team candidate notched his first multi-point game with a goal and assist versus the Cleveland Force on November 8. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Aldrich recorded 10 points on five goals and five assists, while blocking 15 shots in 31 contests this season. Philadelphia acquired the rights to the Butler University graduate from the St. Louis Steamers in a three-team deal that also included the Baltimore Blast on August 26, 2003.
Philadelphia KiXX kick-off the 2004 Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Playoffs with a one-game quarterfinal match versus the fifth-seeded Kansas City Comets on Saturday, April 10. The KiXX, who have now qualified for postseason play in each of their eight years of existence, conclude the 2003-04 regular season as the top wild-card team, or fourth overall. Game-time at the Wachovia Spectrum is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET, with doors opening at 6:00 pm ET.
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