Left winger Drago Vabec spoiled Alan Spavin's debut as Washington Diplomats coach tonight, scoring twice as Toronto Metros-Croatia posted a 2-1 victory at Varsity Stadium.
Vabec, 26, who joined Metros only five games ago, scored a goal in each half of the North American Soccer League game, the second breaking a1-1 draw at 53:41.
Spavin, coaching for the first time after four-year coach Dennis Viollet resigned Wednesday, saw his club start slowly but gain momentum as the second half began.
"I was delighted with the forwards in the second half," Spavin said. "We did everything right in many respects. The situation was a little strange. Only two days ago I was a player, and these guys were my best friends. I hope they still are, and if I'm honest with them I think we'll be all right."
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Dips, who scored their first goal in three games. They are in the cellar of the Atlantic Conference Eastern Division with six victories. 10 losses and 52 points.
Vabec, a former national player in Yugoslavia, gave Metros the lead at 23:54, blasting a shot past goalkeeper Eric Martin.
Washington forward Gary Darrell deadlocked the game after three minutes of the second half, beating goalkeeper Zeljko Bilecki on a header after an indirect free kick by Bobby Stokes. Darrell missed an apparent clear shot at an empty net prior to the goal but was stopped by Metros midfielder Jeno Strenicer.
Vabec, who had several chances to score a third time, produced the winner off a free kick. Ivair Ferreira took the kick and passed back to Vabec, whose shot glanced off the Dips' defensive wall but had the power to beat Martin to the corner of the net.
Washington's next game is Monday night at RFK Stadium against the Rochester Lancers.