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Double bad luck in back

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001


The Mutiny suffered two bad breaks last week, and they have caused some roster shuffling. Before the season, veteran defender Steve Trittschuh broke his right leg in practice. Trittschuh, 35, is expected to miss about 12 weeks.

Against Dallas in the season opener Saturday, defender Chad McCarty left in the 28th minute with a broken left ankle. McCarty, a member of the under-23 national team that played in the Olympics, will miss 2-3 months.

To make up for the losses, defender Kalin Bankov was reclaimed off waivers Monday. Forward Amos Magee was released to make room.

"It's definitely a major blow," coach Alfonso Mondelo said of the injuries. "I've never heard of a team losing two players with a broken leg in the span of four days. That's freaky. We're going to have to light a black candle or something to exorcise ourselves."

The defense was made even thinner with the loss of Chris Houser, who could be out for the season with another bout of colitis.

The likely formation in back for Saturday's home opener against Columbus is John Maessner at right back in place of McCarty, rookie Craig Demmin in the middle, Ritchie Kotschau on the left and Bankov the sweeper.

Joe Addo, moved to midfield this season, could move back to sweeper if needed, Mondelo said. Kevin Anderson could be used as an emergency sweeper.

The Mutiny has two spots available for discovery players, ones an MLS team finds and keeps; all other players are allocated by MLS. One will be for forward Jair, who has played with the Mutiny since spring training in March. Jair is waiting for his paperwork to clear with Major League Soccer. Because he has his green card, Jair will not count as one of the Mutiny's three senior internationals, formerly called foreign allocations. Mondelo said he will not use the final discovery player spot on a defender.

"For right now we're going to work with the guys we have," Mondelo said.

Bankov, 35, was the only person to benefit from the injuries to McCarty and Trittschuh. Bankov has been with the Mutiny since the beginning of last season but has played little. Bankov was released Feb. 8 on the condition he obtain his green card. He received it, but MLS ruled he had to be put in a supplemental draft before he could return to Tampa Bay.

New England selected Bankov and held on to his rights until last week. After McCarty's injury, Bankov was reclaimed by the Mutiny and practiced Tuesday.

"This is not the way I wanted to come back," Bankov said. "I know that everything that has happened to me hasn't been because of anything I've done. "It hurts when you are told before the season starts that you are not on the team. I had my picture taken for the team calendar, and then I'm not with them. I don't like that they can do something like that. I'm not even recognized on the roster or by the league. They say there are players from 32 countries in this league, and they list only one from Bulgaria, Hristo Stoichkov (of Chicago). I've played 17 years of soccer. I shouldn't be treated like this. But I'll put it behind me."

SCHNEIDER TO A-LEAGUE: Forward Paul Schneider, a guest player from the A-League's Minnesota Thunder, will be sent to one of the Mutiny's A-League affiliates, either Minnesota, Charleston or Richmond.

"If and when we recover Trittschuh and McCarty and we haven't used up a discovery player, then we might consider getting him back," Mondelo said.

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