It was all there - marching bands, dozens of youngsters' soccer teams, hundreds of balloons, jazz bands and a fellow dressed in a Superman costume standing atop REK stadium yelling encouragment to the Washington Diplomats.
But the color and pageantry could not prevent the Las Vegas Quicksilvers from blanking the Dips yesterday, 1-0, in the final exhibition game for both teams before a crowd of 8,857.
Washington will open the regular season against the defending North American Soccer League champion Toronto Metros at RFK Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
"We certainly didn't play as well as we did Friday night, said Washington coach Dennis Viollet, referring to the 3-2 victory over the Quicksilvers at Penn State. "I wanted a respectable performance. We used these exhibitions games to get ready for the big one Sunday against Toronto."
Forward Gerry Ingram, a former Dip, scored with a one-on-one effort against Washington goalie Eric Martin at 28:55 of the first half. Ingram got behind the inexperienced defense and lofted the ball past Martin from about 15 yards out.
"There was a breakdown on defense, no cover," said Viollet. "We're still experimenting and as many as three new defenders may be back there next week."
Ken Hill, one of the six new English players who will play for Washington this season, is one defender who probably will be in the starting lineup. He turned in several good plays in his first full game.
"I arrived here Friday and managed to play one half in that game," said Hill, who suffered leg cramps during the game. "I didn't think I played to well, but as we get to know each other, we'll be much better."
Las Vegas, playing with virtually the lineup it will use in the regular season, controlled play most of the afternoon. Only a couple of timely saves by Martin, a shove or two from Hill and Tom Galatti prevented the visitors from scoring at least three times in the opening half.
Leroy DeLeon, Gary Darrell and newly acquired striker Peter Silvester threatened to tie the game several times in the final six minutes, but goalie Alan Mayer (six saves) and a tightly knit defensive quartet prevented it.
With less than two munutes remaining, Silvester had the final chance to send the game into overtime but his 16-foot shot sailed wide to the left.
"The second half, I felt we played well," said team captain Darrell, playing his first full game as midfielder. "I played defense all through the exhibition season and it was a new learning experience. Don't forget, we're playing with guys who don't even know each other's first names."
Many spectators were impressed with the Dips.
"I'm glad they decided to move here," said David Baird, a native of Trinidad. "I never saw a game last year (Washington played its home games at W.T. Woodson in Fairfax) and I want my kids to become acquainted with the game. I plan to bring my family back."
Both Washington and Las Vegas attempted 13 shots and Martin and Mayer recorded six saves each. Las Vegas was denied two goals because of offsides.
Washington closed its pre-season with two victories and five losses.