Washington Diplomat goalie Eric Martin lay writhing in front of the net the team's dismal 1977 season, apparently broke his leg when he collided with Dallas forward Freddie Garcia yesterday during an exhibition soccer game in the D.C. Armory.
When the two players untanlged, Martin lay writhing in front of the net with what X-rays later showed to be a double fracture of the right leg. Both the tibia and the fibula were broken and Martin was placed in a full-lenght leg cast.
Team doctor Carl Macartee said Martin will be in the cast for four to six months and will be lost for the 1978 season. The severity of the injury clouds the playing future of Martin, who is 32.
If X-rays bear him out, Martin, 32, will probably be lost for the season, and his career would be in jeopardy.
TOld after the Tornado had completed its 12-4 romp in front of 4,381 fans that Martin's leg was broken, Dip Coach Gordon Bradley stamped his foot in frustration and shook his head in disgust.
"Well I guess what this means is that we have to get a keeper," he said quietly. "We're already got Stetler hurt (Martin's backup, Bob Stetler, faces a possible hernia operation) and now this. Until today, finding a keeper wasn't a priority, now it is."
Bradley has opposed playing indoors this winter from the start. But Dip General Manager John Carbray insisted on going ahead with an indoor schedule, even though plans for a league schedule fell through.
After the opening weekend of games in January, Bradley spoke bluntly of his feelings about the indoor game. "You're so much more susceptible to injuries indoors," he said. "I was very upset when I heard Gordon Banks (star Ft. Lauderdale goalkeeper) was going to play. A player of his stature shouldn't be exposed to this sort of thing. He could get killed."
Martin's collision with Garcia was frightening. The Tornado had controled the game from the start, leading, 8-2, after two periods. Bradley had inserted Joe Ganten hammer, a 21-year-old American being given a try 21-year-old American being given a tryout by the Dips, in the second period and he had been bembed. Back came Martin.
"If the young lad had come through, I wouldn't have put Eric back in," Bradley said. "But he didn't have his confidence and he let in some bad goals. I had to put Eric back in."
Martin had tangled briefly with Garcia in the first period, shaking a fist at him after the swift forward tried to kick the ball from his arms as he lay on the ground.
This time, with slightly more than three minutes gone in the period, the two chased after a loose ball. Both raised their right legs to try to kick the ball and missed, instead crashing into one another.
Both were removed on stretchers. Garcia reportedly went into shock and required the attention of several doctors. The initial diagnosis for him was a possible fracture of the leg.
Garcia had been a key man in the first two periods, scoring three goals and assisting on all three of Jerry Ryan's goals. The Dips, who played newly arrived South African imports Andries Maseko and Kenneth Mokgojoa, looked helpless from the start in finishing with a 4-3 indoor record.
But that mark was irrelevant to Bradley yesterday. "They players like to play this game and the fans like to watch it," he said. "I like to watch it, too, but this is what can happen. I'd rather not say anything about it."
Actually, no words were needed. As Bradley walked out to Martin, he had picked up an orange towel. Seeing the nature of the injury, he tossed the towel into the air in disgust.