Washington Diplomats coach Dennis Viollet enjoys reliving the weekend last year when his team won back-to-back games on the road against San Antonio and St. Louis.
"You can't let anyone do it for you," the four-year coach is fond of saying. "You have to go out and get the wins yourself."
The Diplomats have suddenly begun to do just that. While waiting for help to arrive from England, the Dips struggled to win one of four games. Since the new players joined them, the Dips have won four straight, two by shutouts. Washington blanked St. Louis, 2-0, then beat San Jose, 1-0, in the overtime "shootout" Monday night.
One of the players responsible for the recent Washington surge is striker Bobby Stokes.
"So far, all is going well. The team has sort of generated around me and they are giving me the ball," said Stokes, who has three goals and one assist in three games. "Once we get adjusted to one another, we'll be even better."
The defense has been particularly effective. With Eric Martin in goal and Jim Steele and Don McAllister leading the defensive unit, Washington has allowed but seven goals, only five in the last six games. The Dips rank third behind Las Vegas and Minnesota in the North American Soccer League in goals allowed.
The Dips hope to finish out their three-game road trip with another victory against the lowly Rochester Lancers (2-4) Sunday.
Washington has moved into a tie for third place with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers with 41 points each. Tampa Bay leads the division with 54 points. all coach at Fort Hunt High School in Fairfax County.
O'Brien 31, formerly assisted Robinson basketball coach Wil Jones and coached the Robinson junior varsity to a 75-31 record in five seasons.