1983-84

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

Now in its sixth year of existence, the Major Indoor Soccer League could sit back and revel in its success. In very little time, the MISL had eclipsed the NASL in terms of popularity. In fact, many soccer pundits had taken to predicting that it was indoor soccer, and not the outdoor game, that was destined to make the game go over in the United States. Indeed, it appeared as if the North American Soccer League was conceding defeat, especially when it announced that its 1984-85 indoor season would be 40 games long, with its outdoor being shortened as a result.

Although MISL Commissioner Earl Foreman would rightly crow about his league's "victory," 1984-85 was an up-and-down year for the junior circuit. Some franchises became booming successes: Baltimore played to near sellout crowds every night (11,188 average), and St. Louis (13,995), Kansas City (15,786), and Cleveland (13,100) also drew large crowds on a regular basis. Cleveland's turnaround was spectacular, given the fact the team averaged a paltry 6,609 a game just a year earlier. On the other hand, the once promising Buffalo franchise became an embarrassment, and was caught trying to sneak out of town, Baltimore Colts style, in July. Similarly, the Phoenix Pride (née Inferno) would also be gone by the end of the year.

And what of the New York Arrows? Winners of the MISL's first four titles, the Arrows were shadows of their former selves, especially after the trade of Steve Zungul to Golden Bay the prior season. In 1983-84, the club finished a woeful 20-28, worst in club history. They went through three coaches and traded away their leading scorer, the durable Fred Grgurev, midway through the season. Like Buffalo, New York would be gone by July.

On the field, however, the league had another successful season. Baltimore's Stan Stamenkovic, rescued from the hell of the moribund Memphis franchise and free of the looming shadows of Zungul and Branko Segota, who were playing in the "other" league, the "Pizza Man" led the league in scoring en route to the MVP award. Baltimore forward Joe Fink became the first American to score 200 career MISL goals. Goalkeepers also had a good year: St. Louis keeper Slobo Ilijevski broke his own record, establishing a new GAA mark with his 3.67 average. Wichita's Mike Dowler set league standards for games played, minutes played, and shots faced. The irrepressible Shep Messing became the first goalkeeper to earn 100 wins, even though he was essentially the only bright spot on a dying Arrows squad. Finally, Phoenix goalkeeper Blagoje Tamindzic became the first goalkeeper to score a goal on an actual shot when he dribbled the length of the field and fired a shot past stunned Kansas City keeper Jim Tiejens on March 10. Tamindzic's reward? A stern reprimand from his coach for taking such a risk.

After a long season and playoff schedule, the league's two division winners faced off in the final. St. Louis remained a sentimental favorite, given their failures in two other finals against New York, and also given their status as the league's flagship franchise. They were also not without a measure of talent as coach Dave Clemens had his players embracing the "total soccer" concept. Along with Ilijevski in goal, the Steamers could count on top defenders such as Steve Pecher and Tony Bellinger. Up top, meanwhile, St. Louis scored a major coup by signing away Ricky Davis from the New York Cosmos. Davis, who wound up the team's leading scorer in spite of a series of nagging injuries, received help with the acquisition of Njego Pesa from a sagging Arrows franchise. Rounding out the Steamers roster was attacking midfielder Daryl Doran and play starter Ty Keough. Unfortunately for St. Louis, they faced a red-hot Baltimore team in the finals. With Joey Fink scoring five goals in the decisive fifth game, and the impeccable goalkeeping tandem of Keith Van Eron and Scott Manning minding the nets, the Blast simply overwhelmed their opposition.

Overall, it was a successful year for the league. Trouble loomed on the horizon, however. During the year, the players voted to unionize, with the Major Indoor League Soccer Players Association becoming certified as the collective bargaining representative by a 175-38 vote.

1983-84 SEASON
EASTERN DIVISION
G
W
L
GF
GA
GB
Pct.
Baltimore Blast
48
34
14
280
203
--
.708
Pittsburgh Spirit
48
32
16
245
204
2
.667
Cleveland Force
48
31
17
269
229
3
.646
New York Arrows
48
20
28
232
280
14
.417
Memphis Americans
48
18
30
216
284
16
.375
Buffalo Stallions
48
15
33
226
279
19
.313
WESTERN DIVISION
St. Louis Steamers
48
26
22
220
202
--
.542
Wichita Wings
48
25
23
237
228
1
.521
Los Angeles Lazers
48
24
24
223
239
2
.500
Kansas City Comets
48
23
25
232
246
4
.500
Tacoma Stars
48
22
26
226
232
4
.375
Phoenix Pride
48
18
30
221
249
8
.375

1st Round
Baltimore defeated New York 11-5, 8- 9 (OT), 4-3, 14-5
Cleveland defeated Pittsburgh 6-4, 1-4, 6-5 (OT), 5-3
Wichita defeated Los Angeles 10-7, 4-6, 5-4, 6-5
St. Louis defeated Kansas City 6-4, 7-6, 1-2, 3-5, 6-5

Semifinals
Baltimore defeated Cleveland 5-4, 6-5, 7-2
St. Louis defeated Wichita 4-3, 7-6, 5-4 (OT)

Championship
Baltimore defeated St. Louis 3-7, 5- 3, 5-2, 5-4 (OT), 10-3

Before the season, Denver was reactivated and moved to Tacoma. Phoenix changed their name to the Pride.

After the season, Buffalo and Phoenix folded. New York went bankrupt.

All-Star Game:  Eastern Division defeated Western Division 8-6.
(at St. Louis, MO.  Att:  16,312.  MVP:  Stan Stamenkovic)

Leading Scorers                   GP   G   A   TP

Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore       46  34  63   97
Kai Haaskivi, Cleveland           47  37  51   88
Craig Allen, Cleveland            44  49  37   86
Mark Liveric, New York            48  58  26   84
Fred Grgurev, Memphis             50  42  34   76
Andy Chapman, Wichita             46  53  21   74
Poli Garcia, Los Angeles          48  39  33   72
Keith Furphy, Cleveland           48  39  31   70
Gordon Hill, Kansas City          41  46  24   70
Lou Nanchoff, Cleveland           42  36  33   69
Yilmaz Orhan, Memphis             47  49  20   69
Zeee Kapka, Pittsburgh            45  30  36   66
Dave MacWilliams, Baltimore       45  33  33   66
Tasso Koutsoukos, Kansas City     46  41  42   65
Paul Child, Pittsburgh            44  41  32   64
Charlie Cordas, Buffalo           45  36  28   64
Jorgen Kristensen, Wichita        39  17  45   62
Ian Sybis, Pittsburgh             42  35  27   62
Batata, Los Angeles               42  36  25   61
Kim Roentved, Wichita             46  27  33   60

LEADING GOALKEEPERS   (Min. 1400 minutes to qualify)

                             GP   Min. Sho  Svs   GA   W-L   GAA
Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis   40  2336 1065  675  143  22-15  3.67
Scott Manning, Baltimore     28  1552  754  371  104   18-8  4.02
Joe Papaleo, Pittsburgh      25  1455  647  335  100   16-8  4.12
Mike Mahoney, Los Angeles    42  2390 1061  556  172  19-18  4.32
Mike Dowlar, Wichita         46  2724 1192  618  196  25-21  4.32
Kyle Sobieski, Cleveland     32  1716  984  464  125   19-7  4.37
John Baretta, Tacoma         30  1741  902  474  130  11-14  4.48
Biagoje Tamindzic, Phoenix   30  1486  884  475  116   9-14  4.68
Enzo DiPeda, Kansas City     39  2180 1127  546  174  18-18  4.79
Wieslaw Surlit, Buffalo      35  1736  965  453  155  10-20  5.36
Bill Mishalow, Memphis       28  1568  814  396  156   9-16  5.97
Sheep Messing, New York       31  1604  777  369  167  11-18  6.25
 
Most Valuable Player:  Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore Blast
Coach of the Year:  Kenny Cooper, Baltimore Blast
MISL Scoring Champion:  Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore Blast
MISL Pass Master (most Assists):  Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore Blast
Defender of the Year:  Kim Roentved, Wichita Wings
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis Steamers
Rookie of the Year:  Kevin Maher, Pittsburgh Spirit
Championship Series Player of the Year:  Scott Manning, Baltimore Blast

All-MISL team:

G - Slobo Ilijevski, St. Louis Steamer
D - Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore Blast
D - Andy Chapman, Wichita Wings
M - Kai Haaskivi, Cleveland Force
M - Sam Bick, St. Louis Steamer
F - Kim Roentved, Wichita Wings
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