The Washington Diplomats and the Vancouver Whitecaps, both with recent bad games to at one for - will square off at 8 tonight in RFK Stadium. If the two teams' defenses play the way they did in their last outings, the final score could be 10-9.
The Dips were beaten, 8-2, Wednesday by the Cosmos, Thursday, in what might have been a more humiliating defeat, the Whitecaps lost to Toronto, 6-1. The Metros have no Peles, Chinaglias or Beckenbauers.
Despite the loss, Vancouver, unlike Washington, is still in contention for a playoff spot. The Whitecaps are clinging to second place in the Western Division with a 12-11 mark and 107 points, three points ahead of Seattle and 10 in front of Portland.
The Whitecaps also are similar to the Dips in that they have been a team in turmoil all season. At the beginning of the year John Best, formerly coach at Seattle, took over as general manager and began a reorganization of the club.
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Lenarduzzi, 28, said he would like to remain in management when he is through playing. He has an assistant who helps out when he is playing. "The only problem I've had is the Vancouver media asking me what I'd write about my own bencing," he said, laughing.
While Vancouver will be geared up because it is fighting for playoff position, Washington has no such incentive.
The Dips are the only team so far to have been eliminated from playoff contention in the NASL. They will take a 9-14 record, including three straight defeats, into the contest.
"It's very hard to get up to play at this point," team captain Gary Darrell admitted. "You know you're out of the playoffs and the season is about over. It's been a difficult year for all of us. It hasn't been enjoyable at all."
The Dips will have defender Jim Steele, who sat out the Cosmos game because of penalty points, back in the lineup tonight. They also hope to be able to use midfielder Jim Redfern, out Wednesday with a pulled hamstring.
In a preliminary, a D.C. police team will play a Prince Georges County police team at 6:15 p.m. The first 7,000 fans through the gates will receive a Dips jacket.