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Garlick prepared for pressure of being the leader on defense

"I do think in this situation it's time for the veterans to step up and lead.''

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2001


"I do think in this situation it's time for the veterans to step up and lead."

TAMPA -- Scott Garlick doesn't crave the spotlight. If he did, he wouldn't be a soccer player in America, and he certainly wouldn't be a goalkeeper.

Garlick, a five-year veteran of Major League Soccer, has been around long enough to know that the less attention a goalkeeper gets, the better.

If a goalkeeper is praised for a good game, he probably faced too many shots. If he is criticized for bad play, it usually means he cost his team a game.

Let players like Mamadou Diallo and Carlos Valderrama get all the attention. Garlick prefers to be in the background, steady every game without much fanfare.

But recent Mutiny developments have thrust Garlick to the forefront. Defenders Steve Trittschuh (broken leg) and Chad McCarty (broken ankle) will be out until June.

An experienced defense suddenly needed an overhaul. As the last line of defense, Garlick will have extra responsibility.

That was apparent in Saturday's 3-1 win over New York/New Jersey. Garlick made nine saves, many in the first half, to keep the Mutiny in the game.

"Scott Garlick has been great so far for us," coach Alfonso Mondelo said. "He has kept us in every game. He's one of the positives in the season so far."

Uh-oh, praise.

Garlick, 29, is sure to face several shots today against Central Division rival Chicago. Despite injuries that will keep Hristo Stoichkov and Peter Nowak out of the game, the Fire still has U.S. national team players Josh Wolff and Chris Armas.

No problem, he says.

"Every game is a different game," Garlick said. "I tend to approach every game the same way. There's no pressure, so to speak. I just have to try to do my job the same way every game."

Garlick is used to pressure. In 1997, he bounced between the A-League's Carolina Dynamo and D.C. United. He ended up being United's starter and was 5-0 in the playoffs in helping United to a second straight MLS Cup.

He joined Tampa Bay before the 1999 season and is 32-26-4 in 63 games played. He started every game last season and finished 16-12-4.

This season, Garlick has had to learn to play with the guys in front of him.

"We went into the season with a particular plan, and the plan was interrupted," Garlick said. "What I have to do with the new guys is establish communication. I have to let them know what to do in front of me. It's not my job to teach them anything. It's my job to communicate with them.

"I do think in this situation it's time for the veterans to step up and lead. Guys like myself, Carlos, Ritchie (Kotschau), John (Maessner), we need to show some of the other guys how to do things. We have to give them our support, confidence and knowledge. The more guys we get to contribute, the better. It's still very early in the season."

Mondelo knows defense is going to be the key.

"I don't want to get into a gunfight, 4-3 every game," Mondelo said. "There's got to be games where we can win 1-0."

D.C.: Midfielder Bobby Coney, 17, has extended his contract with MLS through 2005 and will stay with United. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Internationally

ITALY: The governing body plans to test a number of dietary supplements amid suggestions that some supplements may be behind an unusually high number of drug cases.

NIGERIA: With Nigeria in danger of failing to qualify for the World Cup, coach Jo Bonfrere was fired as national team coach. Assistant Amodu Shuaibu was appointed acting coach.

WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP: The United States was drawn into a group with China, Chile and Ukraine for this summer's FIFA World Youth Championship for players under 20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

-- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Today: Mutiny vs. Chicago

WHEN/WHERE: 4 p.m.; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.

TV/RADIO: ESPN; WWBA-AM 1040, WAMA-AM 1550 (Spanish).

RECORDS: Fire 1-1-1, Mutiny 2-1.

COACHES: Fire -- Bob Bradley. Mutiny -- Alfonso Mondelo.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Fire -- G Zach Thornton, M DeMarcus Beasley, F Josh Wolff, M Chris Armas, D Carlos Bocanegra. Mutiny -- M Carlos Valderrama, F Ali Curtis, M/D Joe Addo, G Scott Garlick, M Steve Ralston.

NOTES: Mutiny F Mamadou Diallo is serving a two-game suspension after a hard tackle on New York/New Jersey's Mike Petke. Diallo was fined $1,000. Fire F Hristo Stoichkov (left ankle sprain) and M Peter Nowak (left hamstring strain) are out. Wolff and Armas played Wednesday night in the U.S. national team's 1-0 win over Costa Rica. The Fire is the only MLS team the Mutiny has not beaten in regulation. Tampa Bay won in a shootout after a 1-1 tie in 1999, but otherwise is 0-5-2. Retired Mutiny defender Chris Houser will be honored before the game. The first 7,500 fans receive a 2001 Mutiny schedule magnet. -- Compiled by Rodney Page.

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