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Coach says he'll ride vets this season

Perry Van Der Beck said he won't turn to a youth movement or to minor-leaguers for the 4-17-1 Mutiny.

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 18, 2001


Mutiny coach Perry Van Der Beck is not throwing in the towel. Sure, the Rays opted for a youth movement when their season went south, but Van Der Beck said he will not do so with the Mutiny. Never mind that Tampa Bay is 4-17-1 and on pace to become the worst team in Major League Soccer's six-year history. If it's broke, Van Der Beck's going to fix it with the players he has.

There will be no A-League call-ups. Bench players will remain on the bench. If Van Der Beck goes down with his ship, he's going to bring veterans with him.

"Just to play (rookies) for the sake of playing them, I'm not at that stage right now," Van Der Beck said. "I'm very competitive. I want to win every game. I'm not saying we can't win with those guys, but you have to practice well to play. Show me in practice that you want to play.

"If I get that feeling that they want to play then I won't hold back, I'll play them. But just to say, you know what, he's been here all season so I'm going to play him, that's not me. If you deserve to play, then you play."

Van Der Beck may be forced to play younger players if and when forward Mamadou Diallo goes on loan to Valerenga of the Norwegian Second Division. Valerenga is negotiating with MLS to have Diallo join the team by Sept. 1.

For now, rookies like Gus Kartes and Albert Munoz will remain on the bench while the Mutiny tries to salvage a dismal season. Tampa Bay is not eliminated from the playoffs, but it must win its last six games and hope Dallas loses five of its last six.

Considering the Mutiny hasn't won consecutive games all season, and that it is 1-5 all time in Los Angeles, site of tonight's game, a playoff berth would be close to impossible.

Van Der Beck is aware of that. While he isn't ready to give up on this season, he realizes it's time to look forward to next season.

Teams that don't make the playoffs are awarded an allocation by MLSand can find a foreign or American player and petition the league to sign him.

Tampa Bay also has two discovery picks, or any player the Mutiny finds on its own as it recently did with Argentinian defender Diego Sonora.

Van Der Beck's work will not stop when the season ends.

"People think, okay, there are six games left in the season and then there's a break. There's no break," Van Der Beck said. "I'm going full-steam ahead. We have an allocation, so I've got to see what we can get out of that. We still have two discovery picks. We have the draft. I'll be busy.

"It's not going to happen overnight. Can we turn those picks we have into five starters? That's difficult. Miami was able to do it, so it can be done. We've got to search all over for the best players we can find."

Wednesday's trade deadline passed without any major changes. The biggest move this season was trading Carlos Valderrama and Scott Garlick to Colorado for goalkeeper Adin Brown.

One good deal appears to be obtaining defender Danny Pena from Los Angeles for a draft pick. Pena gets to return home tonight, and he's certainly not going easy on his old teammates.

"I may play a little bit harder," Pena said. "It's going to be strange going home. But my focus now is on this team. I want to make this team better."

MUTINY AT LOS ANGELES

WHEN/WHERE: 11 tonight; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

TV/RADIO: ESPN2; WWBA-AM 1040, WAMA-AM 1550 (Spanish).

RECORDS: Mutiny 4-17-1, Galaxy 11-6-5. COACHES: Mutiny -- Perry Van Der Beck. Galaxy -- Sigi Schmid.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mutiny -- F Mamadou Diallo, G Adin Brown, M Danny Pena, M Steve Ralston, D Joe Addo. Galaxy -- M Cobi Jones, F Luis Hernandez, D Ezra Hendrickson, G Kevin Hartman, M Mauricio Cienfuegos.

NOTES: Mutiny F Eric Quill is out with a strained right hamstring. Diallo has a sore back but made the trip and will be a game-time decision. The last time Diallo faced the Galaxy he scored four goals is a 4-4 tie on May 9. He hasn't scored in his past four games. Galaxy D Adam Frye, a former Mutiny player, is out with a sprained right knee. With 38 points, the Galaxy is one behind Western Division leading San Jose. The Mutiny is 1-5 at the Rose Bowl and has lost eight of its past 10. Mutiny M Josh Keller attended UCLA, which played its home games in the Rose Bowl. The Mutiny will use its 23rd starting lineup in as many games because of Quill's injury. Newly acquired Mutiny defender Diego Sonora did not receive his visa paperwork and will not appear.

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