'Tired' Darts Win 3-1 On 'Hat Trick'

Don Dunn
Date Published: 
Cumberland Evening Times

WASHINGTON--"This is a tired team of soccer player," worried Darts general manager Norman Sutherland at halftime of his team's North American Soccer League International Cup match against Varzim of Portugal yesterday at Catholic University field. "Our flight from Atlanta landed at Friendship Airport at about 2:30 a.m., and we didn't get back to Washington until almost 4. If they can hold the 3-0 lead Gerry Browne has built, it will be a showing of no little bit of work," he noted.

Hold the advantage was just what the Darts did, limiting Varzim to one goal, off the foot of inside-left forward Sousa in the 62nd minute of play. This gave the Darts a 3-1 victory, their second in 24 hours. Washington had rapped Atlanta 2-1 Saturday night in Georgia on goals by Browne and Nana Gyau.

The single goal in that contest by Atlanta was an overhead, "scissors kick" by Everald Cummings taking coach-goalkeeper Lincoln Phillips by surprise.

Sutherland may have been correct in his feeling that his team was tired, but Browne's first-half showing was all that was necessary to top the Portuguese team, which suffered an apparent breakdown after the hat trick. The Scotsman, founder of the team was possibly taking notice of the offense more than the defense, Varzim taking 28 shots but finding its way through to dangerous positions only three times.

The visitors were quite willing to turn the slightest chances into goal attempts, nine of their boots coming from outside the penalty area, which ends 18 yards out.

Washington, on the other hand, worked harder at moving the ball, firing at visiting 'keeper Benje 35 times with 10 from outside the 18-yard line. Benje, reputed to be the top goalie in Portugal, was forced to work hard the whole match against the Darts, who scampered through the defenders time after time, even through visibly fatigued in the sweltering heat of the D.C. afternoon.

Browne hit his first goal in the 31st minute of action on the Darts' 14th shot of the day, popping it past Benje from 12 yards straight away to outdo a spectacular attempt to save the sphere. Five minutes later the hustling center forward fired another to the nets, from slightly to the right side of the target and the neighborhood of three yards further away.

The third goal of the day came in the 44th minute from the right corner of the penalty area. Assisting on it was Nana, who had also gotten credit on the first. Warren Archibald gave the assist on the second.

Second-half offense from the winners was a more labored showing, with hot weather sapping strength from the already unrested band. If the heat bothered the Darts, it was noticed to the same extreme by Varzim, a team not used to playing without nearly a week's rest between matches in the home country. They had defeated Atlanta 2-1 Thursday, leaving them with a shorter break between matches than normal.

Valdir and center forward Pinto had combined with wingmen Aleixo and Jose Marques to fire a few notable shots at Phillips in the first half, but 90 minutes was an extreme period of time in summer normalcy to keep up the work.

The Darts played without fullback Roland Crispin, who is recovering from an ankle injury. The hole was filled by Frank Donlevey and Billy Fraser, with halfbacks Willie Evans, Bertrand Grell and Vic Gamaldo
creating problems for Varzim to move the ball. Winston Alexis took over for the final 15 minutes after Donlevey suffered a leg injury.

Browne's hat trick was the third such feat of the season in the NASL, teammate Leroy DeLeon and St. Louis Stars forward Jim Leeker having pulled off the other two three-goal efforts. The trio of successes gave Brown seven goals for the season, tied with Archibald for second place on the team, trailing DeLeon's 11 scores.

Enjoying to extremes the victory, which made the Darts' won-lost-tied record a shiny 12-3-3, were 5,553 fans, the second-best crowd the Darts havedrawn this year. Over 6,000 attended the 5-0 win over Hapoel of Israel June 28.

Next Sunday the Darts will host the other NASL expansion team, the Rochester Lancers, who are tied with Kansas City for first place in the Northern Division. Both Rochester and the Darts played last year in
the American Soccer League. The Lancers hold a record of 5-6-5 thus far. May 30 the two met at Rochester, playing a 1-1 tie.

Yesterday's win gave Washington a record in the International Cup race of 2-2-0 and 20 points for first place in the race. Atlanta shows 1-2-1 and 14 points for second place. St. Louis follows with 1-2-0 and 11, with a three-goal victory in their meeting with Varzim the only possibility for a tie with the Darts for
the, crown.