Baltimore kicks David, Toros kick Baltimore

Henry Seiden
Date Published: 
Miami News

Steve DavidSteve David: (7) plays heads-up soccer

It was 20 minutes after the game, but Miami Toros forward Steve David was still trembling with rage.

"But coach, you should have seen what he did to me!" David told Toros coach Greg Myers in the Orange Bowl locker room, following a 3-0 victory over the Baltimore Comets last night before 3,498 spectators.

"It's all right to put on a tackle going after the ball, but he purposely kicked me hard . . . TWICE!" David said.

As leading scorer in the North American Soccer League with 17 goals, Davis has apparently become a marked man. the number 'seven' is usually considered a lucky number. For David, the 'seven' he wears on his maroon jersey is like a marquee.

In the waning seconds of the game, David and Baltimore defender John Napier had some hard contact going after the ball. A fight appeared to be brewing between the two players, or at least by David. Toros midfielder Alan Tinsley stepped in and tried to calm David down. The referee was sternly looking at David, not Napier. Tinsley escorted David from the field.

"They were trying to get him (David) riled," Tinsley said, "trying to get him to fight. Even after the game, if he's on the field, he's still within the referee's jurisdiction. If he gets thrown off the field, league rules say he has to sit out the next game."

Miami's next game is on Wednesday . . . in Baltimore.

"It doesn't matter whether he plays the next game or not," Napier said. "What did David do? He score their last goal and nothing else. It was just a small skirmish between us, nothing important really.

"He accidentally tripped over my leg."

However, David's mere presence on the field is important. Baltimore showed healthy respect for his speed an ability, sagging its defense to his side. It didn't stop David from scoring Miami's third goal at 64:06.

Myers also used his midfielders more freely on offense with Baltimore concentrating on David, plus forwards David Proctor and Warren Archibald, who have combined to score 27 of Miami's 34 total goals this season.

Tinsley scored the Toros' first goal at 38:10 of the first half on a pass from Archibald. Midfielder Olindo Guzman scored the second goal at 54:10 on a direct kick.

"Every game is going to be the same thing for David," Myers said. "He's got to keep cool, but I understand how he feels about his body. If he gets hurt on a clean play, that's the breaks of the game. It's the cheap stuff he doesn't like."

David, with Tinsley's help, was aware of controlling his temper on the field. In a game against the Rochester Lancers earlier in the season, he was thrown out for fighting.

"I know everybody is trying to get at me," David said. "I got sent off the field against Rochester because someone kicked me and I swung at him. After we lost the next game (1-0 to Philadelphia) because I wasn't on the field, I decided to keep my hands down from now on.

"But this was a cheap shot. My leg hurts now, it's stiff."

Napier said he couldn't understand David getting so upset. "It's part of being a professional," said the Irish-born Napier. "One thing for sure, he could never play soccer in England."

Tinsley, who played in England last year, agreed that David, from Trinidad, could have troubles playing British soccer. "English soccer is very well planned," he said. "If they can't stop a player any other way, he gets kicked.

"If they can't stop you, then they'll get rid of you. The thing to do if you get kicked is just turn around and smile. Sometimes it's hard, but that's what you have to do. That's what I keep telling Steve. He has to learn that.

"Baltimore got him riled so he'll think about it in the next game. As soon as Steve goes out on the field, he's going to think about them kicking him again."