Dips Clip Quicks in OT

Pete Dougherty
Date Published: 
Daily Collegian

For soccer purists, it was hardly the most exciting game ever played.

But for entertainment buffs, the North American Soccer League exhibition game played at Jeffrey Field Friday night was one well worth seeing.

For the record, the Washington Diplomats defeated the Las Vegas Quicksilvers 3-2 on a tie-breaker, which was about the only soccer-related occurrence that had the 2,000-plus fans more than mildly interested.

The method used to break the tie of 2-2 after regulation was called "Shoot Out," dreamed up by NASL officials to end deadlocks and still keep the crowd interested.

But as Walt Bahr, who was instrumental in getting the league to play here, explained, "There never really has been a satisfactory way to play off a tie game other than a replay. — either playing the game over or playing overtime. Nothing really satisfactory has ever been developed to satisfy the coaches, players, and the fans."

The one group which was happy with the "Shoot Out" rule was the contingent of fans, who watched in excitement as five players from each squad took turns dribbling in on the goalie from the 35-yard line. Despite the rule allowing the goalie to wander from his net, keepers Bob Stetler of Washington and Dave Bragg of Las Vegas were unsuccessful in stopping the first four shots of each team.

Then, with the tie-breaker score at 4-4, the Quicksilvers' Emir Ceric looked as if he would turn from hero (he scored both Las Vegas goals) to goat as his "Shoot Out" shot went wide. But, in a controversial call, Washington's Brian Joy took too much time on his turn — you're allowed five seconds — so the tie-breaker went into sudden death.

After another miss by the Quicksilvers, Sonny Askew finally decided the issue for Washington.

"I don't like the ("Shoot Out") rule," said Trevor Hockey of Las Vegas. "It's a bad reflection of the game. We were well on top of the game — it shouldn't be decided on penalty shot. It's a silly rule."

Even if the tie-breaker hadn't been used. Hockey, a 5-6, 33-year-old midfielder from England, made sure the fans stayed entertained. As if his name alone wasn't enough to produce a few chuckles, Hockey had the fans roaring with his shadow boxing demonstration in the second half.

It started when tempers flared between Las Vegas' Wolfgang Suhnholz and Leroy Deleon. A couple of punches were thrown, but the referees intervened before any landed. Immediately following, Hockey charged in with Mohammad Ali-form and started dancing.

When Hockey wasn't keeping the crowd alive with his natural showmanship abilities, Washington coach Derek Trevis was amusing the crowd (in all likelihood unintentionally) with his sideline comments.

The coach's most responsive remark came midway through the second half with the fans extremely silent and the ball deep in the Las Vegas end. Seeing the difficulty his team was having clearing the ball, the Great Britain native yelled, "Get that bloody thing out here!"

Meanwhile, the game was not exactly a crowd-pleaser — save the four goals, all of which were picture perfect.

Washington jumped into a 1-0 lead when Askew headed in a pass from Jim Redfern at 4:56.

Ceric got the equalizer at 24:34, taking a pass from Suhnholz and drilling home. He then made it 2-1 with just 45 seconds to go in the half, chipping the ball over Stetler, who made an unsuccessful attempt to grab the ball at the top of the crease.

The Diplomats knotted the count 1:39 into the second half, as Deleon drilled a 15-yard shot off Bragg's hands and just under the crossbar.

The game marked the first time pro soccer had been brought to the area, and Bahr was pleased with the turnout and the results.

"It was a very competitive game," he said. "Both coaches were extremely pleased with their teams' play. The only possible difference between this game and the regular season is that the tackling would have been a little harder and the marking a little better. But even last (Friday) night there was a lot of hard tackling. For a pre-season game, I was quite surprised they tackled as hard as they did."

But fans cared little about the tackling. They preferred seeing Hockey.