DENVER — It is practically a foregone conclusion that the Lazers will not make the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs, but they had some fun Sunday night while keeping their slim hopes alive.
After jumping out to a five-goal lead in the first half, the Lazers, led by goalkeeper David Brcic and the defense, beat the Chicago Sting, 6-1, before a Forum crowd of 3,523.
After falling behind, 5-0, midway through the second quarter, the Sting began to pressure the Lazers in the second half, outshooting them, 30-8.
But a combined effort on the part of Brcic and most notably Steve Pecher, who set a club record and tied a league record with his 10 blocked shots--all in the second half--the Lazers (12-30) won their second straight game and their third in four outings. Still, a single loss or a Wichita win would eliminate the Lazers.
Chicago (21-23) is 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota, which holds the final Eastern Division playoff spot.
Brcic had 20 saves while facing 43 shots. The rest of the defense combined to take care of the others, except for an early fourth quarter goal by Frank Klopas, which spoiled Brcic's bid to become only the second Lazer to shut out an opponent--Mike Mahoney, now the Lazers' assistant coach, had one while tending the nets two years ago.
"It's hard to keep a good team scoreless," Lazer Coach Keith Tozer said. Chicago led the league in goals scored going into Sunday's game with 224. "We've been doing a lot of work on defense. Our total team defense was excellent, and Brcic played a great game."
Why are the Lazers playing better these days?
"I told the team, 'In the next few weeks, let's just go out and have some fun,' " Tozer explained.
They did just that Sunday night.
After Thompson Usiyan's 25-foot shot just missed and bounced off the board to the right of Sting goalkeeper Scoop Stanisic, Lazer defender Gus Mokalis was there to get the rebound and put the Lazers ahead, 1-0, 2:16 into the game.
Stanisic was beaten again 28 seconds later as Usiyan made good on a similar shot after taking a short pass from Michael Collins.
From that point on during the first half, the Sting was unable to get anything going. What shots it was able to get off were stopped either by Brcic or picked off by the Lazer defenders.