1981-82

Origins | 1978-79 | 1979-80 | 1980-81 | 1981-82 | 1982-83 | 1983-84 | 1984-85
1985-86 | 1986-87 | 1987-88 | 1988-89 | 1989-90 | 1990-91 | 1991-92

By Dave Litterer of The US Soccer History Archives, with supplemental materials by Steve Holroyd

The MISL continued to establish its franchise base after the conclusion of the season. San Francisco moved to Kansas City where they became the Comets, Hartford moved to Memphis and the Pittsburgh Spirit were reinstated. A cross-town Gotham rivalry was established with the addition of the New Jersey Rockets who were based in the new Meadowlands Arena. The season expanded once again, this time to 44 games. Now with thirteen teams, the league was realigned into two divisions.

This was a season of superlatives. On December 4, the New York Arrows defeated Phoenix 15-10 in the highest scoring MISL game ever, and on February 14, Baltimore's Keith Van Eron scored the first ever goal by a goalkeeper. On the field, the New York Arrows continued to dominate the East, with an amazing 36-8 record, once again on the leadership of leading scorer Steve Zungul and Omar Gomez. Zungul scored 103 goals this year, an incredible feat considering only two other players scored more than 55. The Arrows also had one of the best defenses in the league, allowing just 199 goals, bested only by the St. Louis Steamers, who won the Western Division.

The Pittsburgh Spirit came back from hiatus in force, compiling a 31-13 record, good enough for second place in the East. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the Cleveland Force who barely escaped the cellar in the east, and featured a strong roster. Bringing up the rear in the West was the relocated Kansas City Comets, an inauspicious start for a team that would go on to provide some impressive performances later in the decade.

Val Tuska, New York Arrows In the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Spirit were upset by Baltimore in a close series, but otherwise the spoils went to the favored teams, as New York, St. Louis and Wichita advanced. Same story in the semifinals as New York defeated the Blast 6-5 and 6-2, and St. Louis defeated Wichita 10-5, 6-7 and 4-1, leading the divisional champs into the final round. The championship series was best of five, and they needed all five games to win this slugfest. The Arrows lost their first game 2-3 in overtime before charging back 5-3, and taking the series lead in a nailbiter which saw the teams take an 8-8 deadlock into overtime. St. Louis evened the score in the follow-up 6-4, leading to the final showdown. Even here, the result was close, and only at the end did the Arrows pull away for an 8-6 victory and their fourth consecutive title. Pundits might have been justified in calling this the New York Arrows Soccer League; 12 other teams were out in the cold as far as the final gold was concerned. Yet little did anyone know that within a year, the Arrows would be history, driven into bankruptcy by the excesses of the MISL/NASL salary war which was rapidly taking a toll on both sides.

The post-season awards illustrated one of the oddities of the indoor game, the melding of playing roles; unlike the outdoor game, players often mixed offensive and defensive roles. Hence, a forward, Val Tuksa, was named Defender of the Year, and scoring powerhouse Steve Zungul landed a midfielder role on the all-star team, after being named to the team as a forward in previous seasons. After the season, Denver and New Jersey suspended operations, but the league compensated by expanding to the west coast, with the Los Angeles Lazers. They also provided indoor membership to the NASL's San Diego Sockers, who were committed to indoor soccer, but were dissatisfied with the NASL's haphazard indoor season. As it turns out, the NASL suspended their indoor season for 1982-83, and as a result, the league also accommodated the NASL's Chicago Sting and Golden Bay Earthquakes (formerly San Jose) into their season.

1981-82 SEASON
EASTERN DIVISION
G
W
L
GF
GA
GB
Pct.
New York Arrows
44
36
8
302
199
--
.818
Pittsburgh Spirits
44
31
13
254
208
5
.705
Baltimore Blast
44
27
17
223
207
9
.614
Buffalo Stallions
44
24
20
276
244
12
.545
New Jersey Rockets
44
17
27
195
230
19
.386
Cleveland Force
44
15
29
205
250
21
.341
Philadelphia Fever
44
11
33
175
250
25
.250
WESTERN DIVISION
St. Louis Steamer
44
28
16
228
182
--
.636
Wichita Wings
44
27
17
235
200
1
.614
Memphis Americans
44
20
24
250
271
8
.455
Denver Avalanche
44
19
25
182
203
9
.432
Phoenix Inferno
44
17
27
222
254
11
.386
Kansas City Comets
44
14
30
174
223
14
.318

1st Round
Baltimore defeated Pittsburgh 1-3, 6- 5 (OT), 6-2
New York defeated Buffalo 7-9, 5-4 (OT), 10-6
St. Louis defeated Denver 4-2, 7-6
Wichita defeated Memphis 3-5, 6-3, 12-3

Semifinals
New York defeated Baltimore 6-5 (OT), 6-2
St. Louis defeated Wichita 10-5, 6-7 (OT), 4-1

Championship
New York defeated St. Louis 2-3 (OT), 5-3, 9-8 (OT), 4-6, 8-6

Before the season, New Jersey was added. Hartford moved to Memphis and San Francisco moved to Kansas City. Pittsburgh resumed operations.

After the season, New Jersey and Denver suspended operations.

All-Star Game:  Western Division defeated Eastern Division 9-5.  
(At Memorial Auditorium Buffalo, att: 13,426.  MVP = Tony Glavin)

Leading Scorers                GP   G   A   TP

Steve Zungul, New York         40 103  60  163
Stan Terlecki, Pittsburgh      43  74  43  117
Stan Stamenkovic, Memphis      36  46  47   93
Steve David, Phoenix           44  58  23   81
Paul Child, Pittsburgh         44  52  29   81
Omar Gomez, New York           40  40  36   76
Keith Furphy, Cleveland        44  50  25   75
Joe Fink, Baltimore            43  51  22   73
Germain Iglesias, Buffalo      44  46  25   71
Don Ebert, St. Louis           44  52  19   71
Tony Carbogani, Memphis        43  39  35   65
Dave MacWilliams, Philadelphia 39  29  36   65
Jorgen Kristensen, Wichita     39  14  51   65
Mike Laschev, Buffalo          34  36  28   64
George Nanchoff, Phoe/Clev     45  34  27   61
Tony Glavin, St. Louis         35  34  21   55
Bill Nichol, Pittsburgh        44  26  29   55
Helmut Dudek, Memphis          43  34  20   54
Paul Kitson, New York          38  33  21   54
Charlie Carey, Denver          40  42  12   54

LEADING GOALKEEPERS   (Min. 1200 minutes to qualify)

                             GP   Min. Shts  Svs   GA   W-L  GAA
Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis   36  2103  1756  798  135  24-11  3.85
Keith Van Eron, Baltimore    32  1664  1212  535  110  18-12  3.97
Krys Sobieski, Pittsburgh    29  1498  1069  485  105   19-7  4.20
Van Taylor, Phoenix          29  1217   879  329   89   10-8  4.39
Mike Dowler, Wichita         37  2149  1453  695  162  22-14  4.52
Shep Messing, New York       27  1652  1012  461  125   21-6  4.54
Alan Mayer, New Jersey       27  1527  1101  471  116   8-16  4.56
Aly Anderson, Denver         32  1785  1322  526  143  13-18  4.81
Paul Coffee, Philadelphia    32  1718  1286  636  154   7-23  5.21
Enzo DiPede, Kansas City     32  1769  1266  636  154   7-21  5.22
Paul Maxi, Buffalo           32  1551  1041  456  146  14-13  5.65
John Houska, Cleveland       32  1652  1313  473  151  18-18  5.48
Bill Mishalow, Memphis       27  1402  1259  550  129  10-13  5.52
 
Most Valuable Player:  Steve Zungul, New York Arrows, Stan Terlecki, Pittsburgh Spirit
Coach of the Year:  David Clements, Denver Avalanche
MISL Scoring Champion:  Steve Zungul, New York Arrows
MISL Pass Master (most Assists):  Steve Zungul, New York Arrows
Defender of the Year:  Val Tuksa, New York Arrows
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis Steamers
Rookie of the Year:  Germain Iglesias, Buffalo Stallions
Championship Series Player of the Year:  Steve Zungul, New York Arrows

All-MISL team:

G - Slobo Iljevski, St. Louis  Steamer
D - Stan Terlecki, Pittsburgh Spirit
D - Stan Stamenkovic, Memphis Americans
M - Steve Zungul, New York Arrows
F - Val Tuksa, New York Arrows
F - Helmut Dudek, Memphis Americans
Origins | 1978-79 | 1979-80 | 1980-81 | 1981-82 | 1982-83 | 1983-84 | 1984-85
1985-86 | 1986-87 | 1987-88 | 1988-89 | 1989-90 | 1990-91 | 1991-92

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