Salt Lake's professional soccer team opens its home season tonight at Derks Field, hoping to erase the bad memory of opening day.
Last Saturday, the Sting lost in overtime to the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks when Salt Lake defender Rich Ryerson attempted to sweep the ball back to goalkeeper Mark Lehnert, only to see the ball roll into the Salt Lake net."He (Ryerson) is our leading scorer, or at least the Blackhawks' leading scorer," joked Fred Gray, Sting director of soccer operations. Apparently Ryerson's teammates have forgiven him, however. This week they elected him co-captain, along with George Pastor.
The Sting's opponent today will be the Albany Capitals, who beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Tampa Bay last week, 1-0. This will be Albany's only appearance in Salt Lake this season.
Albany is expected to be a tough matchup for the Sting. In last year's playoffs the Capitals beat the Blackhawks, who had beaten the Colorado Foxes, who had beaten the Sting. The Capitals' lineup includes defending conference scoring champ Mike Masters (32 points) and veteran defender Paul Mariner, and several highly regarded newcomers.
"One thing we've got is choices, what with four strikers and six midfielders," said Albany coach John Bramley. "We'll have players sitting on the bench who could play for anyone."
Today's game starts at 7:30 p.m., and Gray said it will be played regardless of the weather.