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Mutiny flat in Chicago loss

No Diallo, no energy lead to 1-0 defeat.

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001


TAMPA -- The cannon in the north end zone of Raymond James Stadium sounded and the announced crowd of 10,602 cheered 18 minutes into the Mutiny's match against Chicago on Saturday afternoon. Never mind that Ali Curtis' shot hit the outer left side of the net, it had to cheer for something.

Top scoring threat Mamadou Diallo was out because of a red card suspension, and defender John Maessner earned his own red card in the 68th minute for grabbing Chicago midfielder DaMarcus Beasley from behind. Throw in two more injuries to key defenders and the Mutiny sputtered to a 1-0 loss to the Fire.

"How many injuries can one team have?" Mutiny coach Alfonso Mondelo asked. "Between the injuries and the red cards, this team is a skeleton right now."

Defensive midfielder Joe Addo sat out with a hamstring strain. Defender Kevin Anderson left in the fifth minute with a hamstring strain. Defenders Steve Trittschuh and Chad McCarty are out until at least June.

Diallo will miss one more game -- at Chicago on Saturday -- because of his suspension. Maessner is out at least a game for his red card. Anderson and Addo will be evaluated this week.

Mondelo said he expects to fill the void on defense with either an A-League player or a senior international. The Mutiny still has one senior international spot available.

"We're hoping to bring in someone to be a Band-Aid defensively to help us out," Mondelo said. "Offensively, we have to go with what we have until Mamadou comes back."

Diallo said he plans to join the Senegal national team in early June and could miss as many as three more Mutiny games. It was apparent early in the Chicago game that Tampa Bay was off offensively without him.

Chicago controlled most of the action early and was able to bury one of its chances. Mutiny midfielder Josh Keller was whistled for a foul on Josh Wolff just outside the 18-yard box in the 11th minute.

Wolff took the free kick from 20 yards and curled his right-footed shot perfectly into the upper left corner. Scott Garlick had no chance at a save.

Wolff, who scored the only goal for the U.S. national team in its 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Wednesday, left the game in the 49th minute with pain in the arch of his left foot. He is scheduled to be examined today.

Aside from Curtis' near miss in the 18th minute, the Mutiny had few scoring chances the rest of the match. In the 47th minute, Kartes' shot on a Curtis cross from 10 yards sailed over the goal.

In the 73rd minute, Craig Demmin had a header from 5 yards fall right into the arms of Chicago goalkeeper Zach Thornton. And in the 90th minute, Mutiny rookie forward Devin Barclay, who replaced Kartes in the 56th minute, had his header from 5 yards saved by a diving Thornton.

"We never seemed to have that crisp passing," midfielder Eric Quill said. "That's our game, but this year we're struggling to put passes together. We never had anything open up for us."

The Mutiny (2-2) is 1-6-2 all-time against the Fire.

"We're just kind of rag-tag right now," Keller said. "But it's early in the season. It's going to come. It might take some time, but I don't think anybody's thrown in the towel yet. Not by a long shot."

* * *

UP NEXT: Tampa Bay Mutiny at Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 38.

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