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Striker says he wants out

After a 2-1 loss and on a bobblehead doll night in his honor, Mamadou Diallo says he'd like to play elsewhere next year.

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 10, 2001


TAMPA -- Mamadou Diallo has had enough and he's not going to take it anymore.

After another Mutiny loss, 2-1 to Columbus in front of 9,932 Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, Diallo announced he does not plan to play for the Mutiny next season and would like to be traded.

"I'm finished in Tampa," Diallo said of a move he has been contemplating for weeks. "I love Tampa, I love the fans, but this is a decision I have to make myself. I'm very proud of what I did in Tampa. I played in 48 games (actually 50) and scored 38 goals (actually 35). "I'm not saying anything bad about anyone. I remember when Carlos (Valderrama) left, he was a good person but when he left they (media and fans) said so many bad things about him in the paper. That wasn't fair. So I'm not going to tell my reasons for making this decision. If they (Mutiny players and coaches) say something bad about me, then I'll tell my reasons. But for now I'm not going to say anything."

Diallo has two years left on his Major League Soccer contract. MLS negotiates all deals, so if Diallo were to leave it would have to be by a trade or a reallocation by the league.

While Diallo didn't rule out returning to the Mutiny next season, he said: "There would have to be changes. If there's no change, then I don't see myself back here. Right now, this is goodbye to Tampa. I have one game left and I'll be professional about it."

Mutiny general manager Bill Manning said he has talked to Diallo about his situation. Unlike Diallo, he believes the Senagalese striker could be back next season.

"His frustration is that he would like to have better players around him," Manning said. "I understand his frustration and we're going to do everything we can to get the better players. If we can do that, maybe Mamadou says, 'I want to stay here.' But by the same token, you don't want to have a player here that doesn't want to be here."

Diallo did not start against Columbus, on the night the team gave away 5,000 bobblehead dolls in his likeness, but he did enter in the 69th minute. Mutiny midfielder Steve Ralston was a late scratch with a right thigh bruise. Forward Eric Quill didn't enter until the 61st minute.

With a makeshift lineup, the Mutiny still scored first.

Rookie forward Devin Barclay scored in the 23rd minute. Midfielder Jair placed a perfect long pass from midfield to Barclay just outside the 18-yard box.

Barclay beat Crew defender Mike Lapper to the ball, then chipped it over rushing goalkeeper Tom Presthus from 10 yards.

But like so many Mutiny leads this season, it evaporated quickly. Crew midfielder Brian Maisonneuve scored on a well-laced pass from Brian West in the 29th minute. Columbus (13-7-6) got a goal in the 40th minute by Jeff Cunningham from 5 yards after a give-and-go with John Wilmar Perez.

Cunningham, a former South Florida player, is the only player in Crew history with double-digit goals and assists (10 and 13).

The Mutiny (4-21-2) ended the season 2-10-2 at home, its worst home record.

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