Fans flock indoors

Winnipeg Alliance's Damian Rocke (front) tries to out run an Edmonton Drillers player Sunday at the...

Winnipeg Alliance's Damian Rocke (front) tries to out run an Edmonton Drillers player Sunday at the MTS Centre. (Sun Media/Jon Schledewitz)

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

They lost the doubleheader but won the hearts of local supporters.

The Winnipeg Alliance dropped both ends of the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League's showcase match to the Edmonton Drillers before a mind-boggling 7,727 spectators at MTS Centre yesterday.

And that was no April Fool's joke. Nor was the total spiked by thousands of giveaways, Alliance owner Bill Stewart insisted.

PHYSICAL BATTLES

"It was awesome," said Jordan Goetting, the Winnipeg defender/midfielder who scored his side's only two goals. "We expected 4,000 and to have this ... The kids are always going to be phenomenal but the support from other people was tremendous. And we don't get that in Manitoba.

"It's so nice to finally see that they're going to be supportive of the whole organization."

The Drillers, who had left their best player at home, won the first match 6-1 and the second 2-1 in a pair of fast-paced, physical battles.

"I'm really enjoying this, it's very aggressive," said Angelo Manfredi, a fan and friend of some Alliance players. "They're all really into it and I'm liking it. I really liked Tom Foderaro's hit. I know they (Drillers) weren't too pleased about that but Tom's a good guy, so it's all good."

Foderaro received a charging penalty for drilling a Driller into the boards.

"It's a pretty fast-paced game and it's getting pretty physical," said Katie Parker, wearing an Alliance jersey. "I've got a lot of friends on the team, they're doing well and I'm cheering them on.

"I would definitely pay to watch the guys over a whole season. I just want to support the guys and hopefully, they'll start a women's team up."

Not all fans were thrilled with the indoor game, though.

"I don't like the boards," said Colleen Dacosta. "I don't like it when they use the boards because some of their goals were scored just using the boards. Outdoors, you don't use the boards."

Although she and her partner, Salam Palani, had free tickets, Dacosca said she would pay to support the squad over a whole season. And Stewart et al are making plans for a real season that could start in November.

Todd Rattee, Eddy Sidra, Phil Pavacic, John Konye, Oliver Brkin and Mark Spiller scored for Edmonton in the first game while Spiller and Pavacic scored in the second. Goetting was the only Alliance who could solve Edmonton goalkeeping.

"I don't score a lot of goals, so,it was kind of nice. Too bad it's not a regular thing." said Goetting, who also scored in a shootout exhibition.

Winnipeg goalkeeper Dylan O'Connor did not allow a goal after being inserted for the last quarter.

"It was nerve-wracking when I first got out there. but when I got out on to the field it was way better and I settled down and had a lot of fun," he said.

"Both the games were entertaining, we just have to learn how to put the ball in the net," said Alliance co-coach Chic Devenney. "I am disappointed but I'm looking upon this as the future. Our future is just beginning. We're beginning to establish a team, a rhythm, a philosophy for the game."


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