Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ambush Rallies, Clinches National Division Crown

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ambush Rallies, Clinches National Division Crown

Article excerpt

The Ambush's second National Division championship in two years wasn't wrapped up until 54 ticks of the clock remained, after Joe Reiniger's winning goal Friday night at Kiel Center.

But as soon as it was, team officials were breaking out the hats and T-shirts proclaiming "St. Louis Ambush: 1994-95 National Division Champs." National Professional Soccer League Commissioner Steve Paxos popped out of the stands to present a trophy. The players were taking a victory lap and waving to the crowd of 11,936.

The Ambush had rallied to defeat the Baltimore Spirit 20-18, and it was party time.

But who'd have thought, just five or 10 minutes earlier, that the Ambush would have anything to celebrate? The Spirit led 18-14 with less than six minutes to go.

"It didn't look too good those last four or five minutes," Ambush player-coach Daryl Doran said. "The fans helped us out."

The fans and Reiniger, who had four goals in the game - two in the final five minutes. He scored at 10 minutes 16 seconds, redirecting Mark Moser's cross, to make it 18-16. Then after Doran tied it 18-18 at 12:13 on a shot that deflected into the nets off a defender, Reiniger struck the winner.

Here's how it unfolded: With less than minute to play, Steve Kuntz fired a hard shot off the boards. Reiniger corraled it on the right wing and sent it into the net.

"I took the ball off my chest and tried to put a shot on goal," Reiniger said. "I didn't see it go in, but I heard the crowd go nuts so I knew it was good."

Reiniger said he could just as soon skip the dramatics.

"I really didn't want to win like that, but the crowd likes those kind of games," he said. "We didn't play very well overall, but we'll make some adjustments before the playoffs."

Ah, the playoffs. The victory clinched the top seed and home-field advantage in the National Division playoffs, relegating Kansas City to second place. The Ambush is 29-10, with one game remaining.

"We're not satisfied by any means," said Ambush forward Steve Maurer, who played despite suffering back problems all week. …

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