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Sunday may be the last chance to see anything this bad

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 5, 2001


Sunday is your last chance to see the Mutiny at home this season. Don't miss this opportunity to say you were in the stands to see Scott Cannon, Jair, Gus Kartes, John Maessner, Albert Munoz, Craig Demmin and Joe Addo. It likely is your last chance.

An overhaul is coming after this debacle of a season in which coach Alfonso Mondelo resigned, the most recognizable player, Carlos Valderrama, was traded and the losses piled up at record pace.

There are two weeks left in the regular season, and Mutiny players and coaches are counting the days. The sooner this season is over, the sooner the team can look to 2002.

"As a professional, we've got two more games to go," midfielder Jair said after Saturday's game. "We've got to defend our pride and our dignity, but all of us, we can't wait for this season to get over and start a new one with fresh legs and a fresh start."

Mutiny general manager Bill Manning has said many times that nobody's job is safe. Even marquee players, like Mamadou Diallo and Steve Ralston, could be traded if the price is right.

About the only players that might survive the winter are goalkeeper Adin Brown, forward Eric Quill and rookie forward Devin Barclay. The Mutiny has a discovery pick and will be given an allocation because of its last-place finish.

"The mentality of this team right now is very low, and everything is going wrong for us," Brown said. "We're going to be a whole new, different team next year. We have some great players, but the team chemistry is not there. To win, you need to play as a team, and we have a bunch of individuals out there."

The Mutiny hosts Columbus at 5 p.m. Sunday.

WE'RE NO. 12: It's not the kind of thing for which a team aspires, but the Mutiny is two losses from being the worst team in Major League Soccer's six-year history.

Tampa Bay (4-20-2) has 14 points, one shy of the 15 earned by New York/New Jersey in its 7-25 season of 1999. In that season there were shootouts to break ties, and teams earned a point for a shootout win. The MetroStars had three shootout wins, two against Tampa Bay.

The Mutiny has allowed a league-worst 66 goals and has scored a league-worst 31.

BIG MAMA BOBBLES: Sunday is Mamadou Diallo Bobblehead night. The first 5,000 fans receive a Bobblehead replica of the forward, who hasn't scored in nine games. This is the first Bobblehead promotion in MLS this season. San Jose will have Jeff Agoos Bobblehead day Sept. 16.

McCARTY SIDELINED AGAIN: Defender Chad McCarty would like to forget this season. After breaking his left ankle opening night, McCarty came back Aug. 26 and played 48 minutes before aggravating the ankle. He likely is out for Sunday's game. McCarty is trying to salvage the year by training with a European club, although nothing has been finalized.

MUTINY WINS!: The Mutiny beat the Australian under-17 team Tuesday at the Ed Radice Sports Complex 4-1 in an exhibition. Kartes scored twice.

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