Diplomats dent 'Quakes title hopes

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SAN JOSE - Those "hapless" Washington Diplomats roared into a 3-0 lead after 30 minutes here last night and then withstood a furious San Jose Earthquake rally to post a 3-2 win.

The loss, which snapped a [illegible]-game Earthquake winning streak, put a severe dent in
San Jose's playoff hopes. Seattle which defeated Rochester, 2-0, moved within six points of San Jose and has played one less game.

The two bonus points San Jose scored last night moved the 'Quakes into a first-place tie with Los Angeles, as both squads have scored 94 points.

However, Los Angeles has three games left and host the hot Diplomats this afternoon.

The Earthquakes set a new North American Soccer League season attendance record, as 145,019 have crowded into Spartan Stadium for the nine home games. The 'Quakes drew a third straight team record of 19,478 spectators last night.

Taking advantage of three defensive errors by the Earthquakes, Gary Derrell put the Diplomats ahead, 3-0 just 33 minutes into the game. Derrell, a fleet mid-fielder, scored two of the goals unassisted and used a fine centering pass by Leroy DeLeon for the third tally.

The Quakes, trailing, 3-0, and seeing their hopes of a division title rapidly fading, stormed back to score just 15 seconds after the third Diplomat goal on a fine head shot by Mark Demling.

Demling snuck up into the penalty area after the Quakes were awarded a throw-in, and headed the ball past goalie Kelvin Barclay.

The first Washington goal came when Deleon beat both Demling and Laurie Galloway and carried the ball nearly to the left goal post along the baseline before centering the ball to Derrell who cracked it past Mike Ivanof.

Washington tallied again at 22:06 when an indirect free kick was booted around in the San Jose penalty area and Derrell put his foot on it and smashed the ball into the right corner.

Johnny Moore had a chance to clear the ball, but was unable to boot it out of danger.

The third goal came on a breakaway when Derrell, anticipating a cross-field pass from Galloway to Dieter Zajdel, cut in between the two and raced the length of the field to beat Ivanof with a grounder into the right corner.

The Earthquakes were outrun badly through the first 30 minutes, but applied tremendous
pressure to the Washington goal during the final 12 minutes, nearly scoring several times.

George Ross saved one goal for the Diplomats when he headed a ball out that had already gone past goalkeeper Kelvin Barclay.