Aztecs Trip Stars, 4-3

Glenn Parsons
Date Published: 
Pasadena Star-News

The Los Angeles Aztecs remained undefeated in North American Soccer League action with their third consecutive victory, an easy 4-3 decision over a travel-weary St. Louis Stars club, Sunday afternoon in East L.A. Stadium.

The Aztecs, however, may play their next game, and all subsequent games for that matter, without their World Cup all-star goalie, Kelvin Barclay.

"He is out. He is off my roster," Aztec coach Alex Perolli said pointedly following the contest. "No goalie plays the way he did today. Either he goes or I go."

Perolli's post-game explosion was ignited when the normally highly effective Barclay allowed three second-half goals which would probably never have found their way into the Aztec nets during previous games and which most certainly turned what should have been a 4-0 rout into a tight contest.

Barclay, whose diving saves and rolling ball protections have made him a favorite of Aztec fans, didn't even react on the first goal, was way out of position on the second and attempted to knock the third goal, a shot he has caught with with a stiff arm.

"I just had a bad day. That's all there is to it," the former Trinidad national team goalie commented with a certain amount of dejection. "I tried to explain that to the coach and apologize, but he didn't even want to talk to me. I guess I'm off the team."

Even with Barclay off his game, however, the Aztecs racked up a 2-0 lead by halftime, on goals by defenseman Luis Morotte with 17:15 remaining in the half and forward Uri Banhoffer, who knocked in a shot by teammate Peter Filotis that bounced off St. Louis goalie Mike Winter.

The Aztecs took advantage of a tired team that had been beaten in San Jose Saturday night 3-2 to register 14 first-half shots to the Stars' three.

John Carenza gave St. Louis its first goal only four minutes into the second half on a 20-yard
shot that Barclay stood and watched.

Back-to-back goals, by Ricardo DeRienzo with 34:10 remaining to play and Filotis on a penalty shot with 28 minutes left, boosted the Aztec lead back to two goals at 4-1.

The Aztecs held on to the victory and their undefeated record despite two more Barclay mistakes and two more St. Louis goals, one by captain Pat McBride and another by defender Jim Bokern.

The win put the Aztecs back on top in the NASL's Western Division with 23 points to second-place San Jose's 20 markers.