It hasn't been a great week for the Baltimore Blast, so Coach Kenny Cooper sees tonight's 7:30 home opener against Cleveland as a good opportunity for his team to improve its frame of mind.

After Baltimore lost its Major Indoor Soccer League season opener in Cleveland, 5-2, Tuesday night in what Cooper called "one of the worst performances I've seen," the team spent 1 1/2 hours on an airport runway Wednesday morning before being informed the flight would be cancelled because of snow in Baltimore.

Arriving in Baltimore early Thursday morning, Cooper drilled his team until late afternoon, saying, "They didn't really play Tuesday so I figured I'd make them play two {practice} games Thursday.

"The only thing a trip like that builds is team unity," Cooper continued. "So in that respect we're a better team. Otherwise, well, I'd just as soon forget it. Luckily, we've got a shot at them at home." Approximately 1,500 of the 12,500 seats still are available for tonight's game.

The Blast (0-1) finished last season with the third-best record in the league, 33-19. Baltimore placed second behind Cleveland (1-1) in the Eastern Division, losing the division title, 6-4, in Baltimore on the final day of the regular season. The Blast then was eliminated by Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, three games to two. Dallas went on to win the MISL championship, defeating Tacoma in seven games.

This year, the biggest change for the team is the return of forward Stan Stamenkovic. Now in his sixth year, Stamenkovic, whom Cooper calls "a great scorer," retired after the 1985 season. He holds six team records, including those for points in a season (97 in 1983-84) and consecutive games scoring at least a point (28 in 1985-86).

Since Baltimore had a balanced attack last season, Stamenkovic's return raises the question of offensive approach. "We tend to look to Stan more now," said Mike Reynolds, a second-year fullback from George Mason. "That can end up being positive and negative for us. It's positive in that if he gets the ball, he can do great things. It's negative because we have other players who can score, so we shouldn't always be looking for him. He should be an added bonus, not the center of things."

Stamenkovic will join Reynolds; midfielder Fred Thompson, who led the team with six goals in the preseason; midfielder Michael Brady, in his second year out of American University; midfielder Richard Chinapoo; forward Andy Chapman; fullback Bruce Savage, who was the MISL defender of the year last season, and goalies Keith Van Eron and Scott Manning. Manning allowed an average of 3.47 goals per game last year, third best in the league.

New faces to the team include fullback Helmut Dudek, a seventh-year player from Minnesota; fullback Mike Uremovich, a free agent from Dallas; rookie forward Franklin McIntosh from New York Tech, and rookie forward David Nakhid from American University.

The major problem for the Blast tonight is expected to be Cleveland goalie P.J. Johns, who is 6-0 against Baltimore and had 19 saves Tuesday night. Cooper said Johns has been the defensive star every time the Blast has played Cleveland.

"We have got to burst his bubble," said Cooper.