By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 7, 2001
TAMPA -- With its big guns back in the lineup, this was supposed to be the start of the Mutiny's "second season."
It sure does look a lot like the first. Forward Mamadou Diallo returned from a four-game disciplinary suspension, and midfielder Carlos Valderrama was back after a one-game suspension. But "Big Mama" and "El Pibe" couldn't energize the powerless Mutiny in a 1-0 loss to Dallas on Wednesday night in front of a drenched 5,384 at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay (2-8-1) remained winless in six home games and ran its overall winless streak to eight. Dallas (4-5-1) snapped a three-game winless streak and moved six points ahead of the Mutiny in the Central Division with 13 points.
"It was an ugly win, but it was a win I'd love to have," Mutiny midfielder Steve Ralston said.
Dallas' win came on a controversial call from the Mutiny's perspective.
In the 15th minute, Tampa Bay was called for an illegal back pass when referee Gus St. Silva ruled defender Craig Demmin kicked back to goalkeeper Scott Garlick without the ball touching a Dallas player. The Mutiny contended the ball glanced off Demmin's leg and wasn't intentionally kicked back to Garlick.
The Burn earned an indirect free kick from 16 yards. Oscar Pareja flicked right to Jason Kreis, who blasted a shot that deflected off the defensive wall and past Garlick to make it 1-0.
"Definitely a poor call," Mutiny coach Alfonso Mondelo said. "In that rain, no way was that a back pass. That should've never been the call, and it influenced the game."
It was Dallas' only shot on goal in the first half. Dallas was outshot 15-5 and had three shots on goal. It also fouled 33 times, a Mutiny record for fouls.
There were a few close calls in the second half. Mutiny midfielder Steve Ralston had two looks at the net, but the first shot, in the 56th minute, was wide from 15 yards, and the second, in the 59th, sailed over the bar from 20 yards.
In the final minutes, Ali Curtis had a free kick from 22 yards blocked by the defensive wall, and Diallo had a shot easily saved by Dallas keeper Matt Jordan.
"In the second half Dallas didn't play," Mondelo said. "They were content with the one-goal lead. For us, we just have to put away our chances. That's what it comes down to."
Tampa Bay will try to end its winless streak Saturday at New England. It could be without forward Eric Quill, who left in the 33rd minute with a strained right hamstring. Midfielder Josh Keller did not play with a strained left knee and is questionable against New England.
The Mutiny hasn't played consecutive games with the same starting lineup this season. It has had a lead at home for just nine minutes this season.
"I think it's beyond frustration now," Mutiny defender Steve Trittschuh said. "I don't know what the word for it is. All we can do is keep plugging away."
ATLANTA 1, BOSTON 1: Charmaine Hooper scored in the 30th minute for the Beat, which remained unbeaten on the road. Atlanta is 3-1-4, 3-0-1 on the road.
Maren Meinert matched the goal in the 64th minute for Boston.
The Breakers had the best chance to take the lead in the 78th minute when Bettina Wiegmann crossed a ball to Dagny Mellgren inside the box. But Briana Scurry was there to make the save.
-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.