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1984-85 MISL Season


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

The MISL continued its growth in 1984-85. With the NASL canceling its 1984-85 indoor season, the MISL welcomed four of its teams into the league. The Chicago Sting and San Diego Sockers returned after a season's absence, along with a newcomer, the Minnesota Strikers. Best of all, the New York Cosmos (or what was left of them) joined to fill the void left by the sudden collapse of the Arrows. The MISL had clearly won the battle for popularity, and in fact, only seven NASL teams survived to their February meetings. When only two teams indicated a willingness to continue, the league folded, leaving the MISL with the soccer field all to themselves. This had two immediate results. First, an end to the costly salary war, and second, a huge infusion of new talent as the league scooped up legions of stranded players late in the season. More than ever, it looked as if indoor soccer was the way of the future in the United States, as the outdoor game could only boast a seriously weakened United Soccer League, and a miniscule Pacific Coast tournament called the Western Soccer Alliance. Now in its seventh season, the 14-team MISL was on a roll. The league moved its offices from Bala Cynwyd, PA to Chicago, IL. Commissioner and Founder Earl Foreman could not have picked a better time to retire, as he bowed out on top, turning the reins over to Francis L. Dale. But there was new competition on the horizon, with the founding of the American Indoor Soccer Association. The competition wasn't over yet.

In the Eastern Division, Baltimore continued its reign atop the standings, but Pittsburgh fell to a disappointing sixth place. St. Louis, moved to the East, fell to an equally disappointing .500, after a long successful run. Memphis had been relocated to Las Vegas and finished respectably in the west, but financial troubles forced the league to fold the team after the season. Among the newcomers from the NASL, San Diego and Chicago made their impact felt immediately, as the Sockers took the Western Division on the strength of Steve Zungul and Branko Segota, who finished first and third respectively in scoring. Karl-Heinz Granitza, who finished second, led the Chicago Sting to second place in the East. Other former NASL players making an impact were Ricky Davis of the Steamer, Jan Goosens of the Minnesota Strikers and Fred Grgurev of Las Vegas. In a sad end to a storied franchise, the New York Cosmos, minus almost all of their star players, limped along at the bottom of the East standings before folding partway through the season with an 11-22 record. Only Goalkeeper Dave Brcic was a reminder of the glory days. Two players who began to make their marks this year were Striker Tatu of Dallas and Goalkeeper Victor Nogueira, both of whom would remain star leaders in indoor soccer for the remainder of the 20th century.

In the playoffs, few surprises emerged, with the only true upset being Minnesota's defeat of Las Vegas in the quarterfinals. The championship series again featured the division winners, Baltimore and San Diego. The San Diego Sockers defeated Baltimore in the best of seven series, 5-4, 7-3, 6-10, 14-2, and 5-3. This was the beginning of a long reign of success which would continue through the rest of the league's existence.

1984-85 SEASON
EASTERN DIVISION
G
W
L
GF
GA
Pct.
GB
Baltimore Blast
48
32
16
252
190
.681
--
Chicago Sting
48
28
20
261
223
.583
4
Cleveland Force
48
27
21
239
228
.553
5
Minnesota Strikers
48
24
24
224
226
.500
8
St. Louis Steamers
48
24
24
211
207
.500
8
Pittsburgh Spirit
48
19
29
217
256
.396
13
New York Cosmos
33
11
22
137
185
.333
13.5
WESTERN DIVISION
San Diego Sockers
48
37
11
302
201
.771
--
Las Vegas Americans
48
30
18
269
214
.625
7
Los Angeles Lazers
48
24
24
232
230
.500
13
Kansas City Comets
48
22
26
216
221
.458
15
Wichita Wings
48
21
26
202
233
.437
15.5
Tacoma Stars
48
17
31
207
263
.354
20
Dallas Sidekicks
48
12
36
194
286
.250
25
/r/n

Wild Cards
Kansas City Defeated St. Louis, 5- 4 (OT), 4-3 (OT)
Minnesota defeated Wichita (2-1, 3-8, 3-2 (OT)

Quarterfinals
Cleveland defeated Chicago 5-4 (OT), 4-8, 6-1, 5-4 (OT)
San Diego defeated Kansas City, 4-3 (OT), 11-7, 3-2
Baltimore defeated Los Angeles, 4-3, 12-3, 5-4
Minnesota defeated Las Vegas, 6-5, 4-6, 3-2, 4-1

Semifinals
San Diego defeated Minnesota, 8-1, 6-5 (OT), 5-8, 3-4(SO),8-0
Baltimore defeated Cleveland, 6-5, 3-5, 4-3, 7-6, 7-4

Championship
San Diego defeated Baltimore, 5-4, 7-3, 6-10, 14-2, 5-3

Before the season, San Diego, Chicago, New York, and Minnesota rejoined the league from the NASL. Memphis moved to Las Vegas and New Jersey moved to Dallas. Cosmos withdrew after 33 games (Folded after playing several exhibition games).

After the season, Las Vegas folded.

All-Star Game:  Western Division defeated Eastern Division 11-7.
(at Richfield Township, OH, February 24, 1985.  Att:  17,863.  MVP:  Stan Semenkovic)

Leading Scorers                    GP   G   A   TP
Steve Zungul, San Diego           48  68  68  136
Karl-Heinz Granitza, Chicago      47  64  53  117
Branko Segota, San Diego          46  66  40  106
Stan Stamenkovic, Baltimore       43  39  52   91
Tatu, Dallas                      43  59  29   88
Dale Mitchell, Tacoma             48  55  32   87
Jean Willrich, San Diego          48  43  43   86
Fred Grgurev, Las Vegas           47  48  29   77
Craig Allen, Cleveland            42  45  30   75
Jan Goossens, Minnesota           48  49  24   73
Juli Veee, Las Vegas              39  50  21   71
Stan Terlecki, Pittsburgh         39  39  32   71
Erik Rasmussen, Wichita           46  55  11   66
Phil Kitson, Baltimore            43  39  27   66
Keith Furphy, Cleveland           48  40  22   62
Thompson Usiyan, Minnesota        47  36  26   62
Mike Stankovic, Baltimore         42  33  26   59
Rick Davis, St. Louis             40  27  31   56
Gerry Gray, Chicago               24  19  40   58
Stuart Lee, Los Angeles           48  42  15   57

LEADING GOALKEEPERS   (Min. 1400 minutes to qualify)

                              GP    Min. Sho  Svs   GA   W-L   GAA
Scott Manning, Baltimore     36   2080  872  411  135  23-11  3.89
Slobo Iljevski, St. Louis    30  1681   744  396  112  11-12  4.00
Jim Gorsek, San Diego        30  1665   803  381  112   19-8  4.04
Manny Schwartz, Kansas City  40  2192  1105  546  152  19-15  4.16
Alan Mayer, Las Vegas        30  1759   801  370  124  17-12  4.23
Victor Nogueira, Chicago     43  2240   994  501  162  23-15  4.34
Tino Lettieri, Minnesota     45  2672  1193  614  198  24-21  4.45
Cris Vaccaro, Cleveland      27  1453   774  346  108   16-8  4.46
Mike Dowler, Wichita         41  2394   992  490  179  20-20  4.49
John Baretta, Tacoma         31  1637   809  402  127  11-13  4.65
Peter Mowlik, Pittsburgh     27  1452   718  371  114  11-13  4.71
Mike Mahoney, Los Angeles    40  2219  1021  554  176  20-18  4.76
David Brcic, NY/Wichita      27  1601   856  476  133   9-17  4.98
Jan Van Beveren, Dallas      30  1727   835  385  176   6-22  6.11
 
Most Valuable Player:  Steve Zungul, San Diego
Coach of the Year:  Peter Wall, Los Angeles
MISL Scoring Champion:  Steve Zungul, San Diego Sockers
MISL Pass Master (most Assists):  Steve Zungul, San Diego Sockers
Defender of the Year:  Kevin Crow, San Diego Sockers
Goalkeeper of the Year:  Scott Manning, Baltimore Blast
Rookie of the Year:  Ali Kazemaini, Cleveland Force
Championship Series Player of the Year:  Steve Zungul, San Diego Sockers

All-MISL team:

G - Scott Manning, Baltimore
D - Mike Stankovic, Baltimore
D - Branko Segota, San Diego
M - Kevin Crow, San Diego
F - Steve Zungul, San Diego
F - Karl-Heinz Granitza, Chicago