23-02-1992 Chicago Power 12 Dayton Dynamo 5 (NPSL) Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois
I’ve been banging on in recent posts about indoor soccer and in particular the Chicago Stings exploits in the NASL Indoor League and the MISL, and l here I go again. In 1988, two years after I last saw them in action, the Sting folded but the city of Chicago had been without an indoor soccer side for no more than a matter of months when along came the Chicago Power.
The Power joined the NPSL as an expansion franchise for the 1988-89 season, playing at the 14,500 seat Rosemont Horizon, in the north Chicago suburb of Rosemont. Under player-coach Karl-Heinz Granitza – who had won two outdoor NASL Championships with the Sting and was quite easily the Stings best ever player – the Power made the playoff finals in their very first season losing the best of five championship series to the Canton Invaders by three games to two.
Two years later, and prior to the 1990-91 campaign, Illinois businessman Ron Bergstrom purchased the team and together with new player coach Pato Margetic – another former Chicago Sting fan favourite – assembled a squad that would finish the season as Champions. Margetic was named the league’s “Coach of the Year” as the Power made a clean sweep of the championship series against the Dayton Dynamo with three straight wins.
Attendances at the Horizon for the championship run-in hovered around the 4,000 mark and the Power were hoping to pull in around 5,000 a game the following season, the one and only time I saw them in action. I don’t know whether they reached that target but here is the commercial they were using to woo potential fans…
Shortly after my visit, and a 12-5 win against the Dayton Dynamo, the Power made the playoffs again but were unable to retain the Championship going out at the semi-final stage. The following season – 1992-93 – they couldn’t progress beyond the first round of the play-offs and a slow decline began.
They failed to make the playoffs in any of their three remaining seasons winning just six of their forty games in 1995-96 and were by all accounts pretty woeful managing to lose one game by a 35-5 scoreline. Bad even when the NPSL’s scoring system is taken into consideration (see below).
In the close season they were bought by Canadian entrepreneur Peter Pocklington and relocated to Edmonton, Canada where they became the Edmonton Drillers, and survived for just a further four years.
While I really took to the indoor game I’m afraid the one thing that spoiled it for me was the scoring system that the NPSL adopted. A scoring system not that dissimilar to the one used by basketball. A goal is a goal as far as I’m concerned but the American public enjoying high scoring sports and the following system was used to keep them happy I guess.
“Natural goals” and goals struck from the penalty spot were worth two points, power-play goals (a term used to describe a goal scored while an opposition player is confined to the sin bin) were worth one point, while goals scored from 50 feet or more were worth three points. So it would be possible to be two goals – sorry points – down with seconds to play and still win a game with a speculative shot from your own half of the field.
In the every changing world of professional soccer in the USA, Chicago have in latter years been represented in the indoor game by the Chicago Storm (formed in 2004 but on hiatus since the end of the 2009-10 season) and the Chicago Riot (formed in 2010 and still active).