Virginia Beach - The Virginia Beach Mariners (1-0) will square off Saturday night against the Indiana Blast at 7:30 p.m. at the Sportsplex in their second match of the 2003 season. The Mariners defeated Cincinnati 3-2 on April 18 in their season opener. Indiana will kick off their season Friday at Richmond and travel to Virginia Beach to face the Mariners on Saturday. This will be the first meeting of the two teams in League play.
Forward Rodrigo Costa, the Blast's leading scorer in 2002 with 10 goals and 2 assists, will be looked on again to score. Defender Justin McMillan, a rookie from Southern Illinois, is looked to steady the back line. Forward Moussa Dagnogo, the team's second leading scorer, had 7 goals and one assist in 2002. The team also just signed draft pick John Swann, a First Team All-American from Indiana University.
Forwards Dante Washington and Roland Aguilera have proven they are a deadly duo and can score goals for the Mariners. Add Roy Lassiter and Jacob Fenger to the mix and the team is heavily covered at all positions up top. Adding defender David Stokes can only improve the back line that was tested last weekend against Cincinnati. Goalkeeper Joe Larson is a team MVP and is rock-solid in the nets.
Forward Roland "Pato" Aguilera was named A-League Player of the Week last week for his one goal and two assist performance against Cincinnati. Dante Washington was also named to the A-League Team of the Week for the two goals he scored in that match including the game winner with ten seconds left in extra time.
Defender David Stokes joined the team this week on loan from D.C. United. Stokes was the 2003 MLS SuperDraft fifth overall pick as an All-American/All-ACC player from the University of North Carolina. He had 49 continuous starts his last two years at UNC and appeared with the U.S. National U-23 (Olympic) team in 2002. He was named Defensive MVP in the 2001 NCAA College Cup, leading UNC to the National Title. He was also selected as a Nike Project-40 team member.
Forward Roy Lassiter was hampered by a leg injury during the April 18 match and was replaced early in the second half. According to Head Coach Shawn McDonald, he will be fit and ready to face Indiana. Also fit will be goalkeeper Joe Larson who missed last week's game due to an abdominal strain. He will be in the nets Saturday night. Defender Kevin Knott, who only saw 24 minutes of action after suffering an injury early in training camp, will be fit for April 26. Midfielder Daniel Alvarez is suffering from a high ankle sprain and is questionable for this weekend's match.
Forward Gary Brooks has served his league-ordered suspension for yellow cards last season and will be available against Indiana.
Around the A-League's Southeast Division
Charleston defeated Richmond 2-0 on April 19 while Cincinnati traveled from Virginia Beach to Charlotte Saturday beating the Eagles 1-0. The Mariners are now in second place in the division tied with Charleston with three points but one goal behind in goal differential. Atlanta, the Division's other member squad along with Virginia Beach, opens their 2003 season on Friday against Pittsburgh.
Virginia Beach Mariners