Aztecs Mix With Dallas

Glenn Parsons
Date Published: 
Pasadena Star-News

Pro Soccer Today!

"Superstar" Kyle Rote, Jr., the Dallas Tornado (finalist in the 1973 North American Soccer
League championships) and free admission to all high school students from Pasadena, Muir, Blair, San Gabriel, Keppei, Alhambra and Rosemead.

What more could one request for Sunday's 3 p.m. pro soccer contest between the Los Angeles Aztecs and the Tornado in the East L.A. Stadium?

Aztec coach Alex Perolli would, for one, be grateful for a victory, his club's second in succession after posting its first NASL triumph a week ago over Seattle.

While the Aztecs are sitting atop the league's Western Division, Dallas has split its initial pair of contests, but still leads the Central Division.

"This will be our first early indication we'll have to judge what our chances will be for winning the league title in our first year," Perolli commented.

"Dallas has always been a power in this league and now they have America's best athlete and the league's leading scorer in Kyle Role, Jr."

Rote and fellow forward Ilija Mitic have split the Tornado's only two goals, while league all-star goalie Ken Cooper has registered 14 saves and given up but one goal thus far.

In the Aztec league debut, Douglas McMillan, a former U.S. national soccer team member who has played only two games as an Aztec, scored both goals (Uri Banhoffer was credited for both assists) and goalie Kelvin Barclay recorded seven saves in stopping all but one Seattle shot.

Perolli used a 4-4-2 (four defenders, four midfieldmen and two forwards) formation in the exhibition season, but switched to a 4-3-3 alignment in his club's initial league contest.

The 4-3-3 allows a more explosive offensive attack, but retains defensive flexibility as the three midfieldmen are in position to backup an offensive effort or fall back to help the defense.

"We couldn't use the new formation in the preseason because it can only be effective when the players are used to playing with each other," Perolli explained.

Although the Aztecs managed only two goals using the alignment for the first time, they set
a club record of 22 shots while holding Seattle to but 14.

"They (L.A.) played very well together when they went on attack," Seattle coach John Best commented, "the midfielders linked up well with the front line. It's a hard offense for the teams in the league to stop, particularly when the Aztecs become more familiar with each other and get in the habit of doing it."

That, apparently, is coach Perolli's idea.