Two defensive lapses hurt Tampa Bay in interim coach Perry Van Der Beck's first game.
By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 8, 2001
TAMPA -- Perry Van Der Beck spent his first day as the Mutiny's interim coach breaking don film of Central Division-leading Chicago. He spent his second day watching the Mutiny grind its way to another formulaic loss.
Tampa Bay battled back from the inevitable first-half deficit Saturday only to suffer two defensive lapses during a four-minute span of the second half that resulted in a 3-2 Fire win before 8,583 at Raymond James Stadium.
The Mutiny (3-13-1) has lost three straight and is 1-7-1 at home. It hasn't defeated Chicago (9-3-3) since May 8, 1999, and is 0-3 against the Fire this season.
Van Der Beck, who took over for Alfonso Mondelo on Friday when Mondelo resigned, put a few wrinkles in the lineup against the Fire.
Steve Ralston was moved from right midfielder to forward and played in the middle of the field. Devin Barclay was aggressive on the right side and Joe Addo was moved from midfield to defense.
But in the end, Tampa Bay was done in by the experienced Fire. Forward Eric Wynalda scored twice and added an assist, and second-half replacement Hristo Stoitchkov had a goal and an assist.
"We're 3-12, what have we got to lose?" Van Der Beck said. "There's no reason to sit back. We matched up with them in the second half. It's just these mental lapses."
The first lapse came in the waning moments of the first half. Chicago's Jamar Beasley took a pass from his brother, DaMarcus, and kicked it back to Peter Nowak at the top of the 18-yard box.
Nowak passed right to Wynalda, who was marked by Craig Demmin. Wynalda faked left, then went to his right before launching a 15-yarder into the left corner of the net.
Referee Terry Vaughn whistled play over seconds after the restart.
The Mutiny came back in the 51st minute when Josh Keller scored on a goal set up by Mamadou Diallo. Diallo worked his way through two defenders near the right end line and passed to Ralston 10 yards from goal. Ralston's shot deflected off goalkeeper Zach Thornton to Keller, who nailed the goal from 5 yards.
"I thought we were going to win the game, even after they scored in the first half," Van Der Beck said. "Then we scored in the second half and I really thought we were going to win."
But things fell apart in the 79th minute when Stoitchkov was left alone on the left side. He drilled a left-footer past Adin Brown from 10 yards off an assist by Jesse Marsch.
Four minutes later Wynalda scored again on a perfectly placed header 8 yards from goal on a Stoitchkov pass.
The Mutiny had a chance in the 86th minute when Eric Quill cracked a shot from 20 yards that hit the left post. He scored from 5 yards in injury time on a Diallo assist.
"That's the way it's been going this season," Quill said. "I think we've been playing in fear of losing every game. But what's another loss now? We've just got to say forget it and have fun."
UP NEXT: Mutiny at San Jose, 4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN.