Darts May Forget How To Lose At Home But Dallas Keeps Them From Winning

Don Dunn
Date Published: 
Cumberland Evening Times

WASHINGTON—The Washington Darts, in their first match played in the North American Soccer League, showed yesterday that somewhere they may have forgotten how to lose at home. The Darts met the NASL first place team, the Dallas Tornado, and fought to a 0-0 tie before packed stands at Catholic University in Washington, their new home field.

In three seasons of membership in the American Soccer League, a more ethnic based loop than the NASL, the Washington team put up a home undefeated streak of 18 consecutive wins while running off with a pair of league championships. While the win string went down to a finish on the draw, the unbeaten band still grows, even with the change of leagues. The last loss for the team in the District of Columbia was back in December, 1967, when they went down 2-1 before Newark.

Another habit which continues to build up in the numbers counts is that of goalkeeper-coach Lincoln Phillips, who pounced on the ball once for a save on the way to his shutout of the Tornado. Phillips now shows 23 blankings for the team, 15 at home. The 6-1 standout from Trinidad put that collection together while leading two champion seasons and gaining last year's Coach of the Year award from the ASL.

Soccer followers looking at the low total of saves should also peer at the total
number of shots by the Texans, too. The one attempt in each half was put in place by a stingy Dart defense.

Washington played out of a 3-4-5 setup, which allows seven men, four halfbacks and three fullbacks, to muzzle all threats.

Outstanding among that group were halfbacks Victor Gamaldo and Bert Grell, no-nonsense hustlers who halted move after move through the midfield area, and center-half Willie Evans, who teamed with the fullback pair of Selris Figaro and Roland Crispin to keep things tough just in front of the goal.

Those defensive standouts made the necessity for goals rather limited, but the forward line experienced problems in reaching the nets, though booting 11 shots on Tornado goalkeeper Ken Cooper, who came out of the match with nine saves to his credit, three late in the game outstanding moves.

Dart Joseph (Nana) Gyau, the center forward, and outside-left Warren Archibald saw their shots met by Cooper and tough reactions from fullback Howard Mwikuta, as did outside-right John Kerr.

Entering the contest late in the first half to a roaring welcome from the nearly 4,000 D.C. fans was general manager Norman Sutherland's newest signee, Victorio Casa, an individualist with fancy moves from his feet which are counted upon to gain needed goals. Casa, the only one-armed player in the world, met the same problems as his new teammates, and was replaced late in the second half by Gerry Browne, the 1969 team's leading scorer, but to no avail.

With the draw, Dallas stays on top of the Southern Section of the league by gathering in three points for the result to make its total so far 13 in three matches, having won 4-0 over the St. Louis Stars and lost 2-1 to the Rochester Lancers earlier in the season. With this result, the Darts received three in the standings to tie in the list with the Atlanta Chiefs, who dropped a 4-5 decision to St. Louis last week. Members of the Northern Section are St. Louis, Rochester and the Kansas City Spurs.

Standings in the NASL are computed to increase scoring in the game, giving six points for a victory, three for the tie and none for a loss, but crediting an extra point for each goal scored in the match, up to three for each team.

Washington's next contest will be Saturday evening in Atlanta against the Chiefs, with the next home action coming against Berlin Hertha of Germany
at RFK Stadium Friday, May 8.