The Washington Diplomats, following an impressive North American Soccer League season-opening 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Fury last Saturday, will unveil their H-O-E approach to soccer today when they host the Chicago Sting in the home opener at RFK stadium at 2:30.
Washington's first-year Coach Gordon Bradley refused to predict how many games the Dips would win, but he promised his team would Hustle, show some Offense and be Entertaining. The Dips showed a lot of all three in winning their first opener in three years.
"I have to be pleased, winning 3-0 on the road," said Bradley."But we're playing another team . . . I don't know much about Chicago. We scouted them last week but a strong wind didn't help either team and we weren't able to get much on them."
One thing Bradley does know. The Sting, which finished with the same mark as the Dips last year (10-16), still appear to have the same offensive problems that palgued them a year ago. Dallas totally dominated play in blanking them in this year opener, 2-0.
Chicago also has a new coach in Malcolm Musgrove and several new players, including defender Bruce Wilson, traded from Vancouver, and midfielder Gene Strenicer, acquired from Toronto. The Sting is strong in goal with Mervyn (The Magician) Cawston, one of the top keepers in the league.
And only Friday they signed Robert Godocha, a world-class player from the Polish national team, to a two-year contract. The 32-year-old left winger led his squad to a third-place finish in the 1974 World Cup and was voted that year as the best in the world at his position.
Although several of the Dips' firstline players are hobbled with minor injuries, Bradley expects to start the same 11 who opened the season, with the exception of midfielder Sakib Viteskic (hamstring) and forward Ray Graydon (thigh strain).
Andries Maseko will replace Graydon, joining Paul Cappell, who had two goals last week. Mike Bakic and Bobby Stokes to form the front four in Bradley's 4-2-4 alignment.
Carmen Marcantonio will replace Viteskic and join Manuel Roa in the midfield.
Roy Willner, Jim Steele, Mike Dillon. Tommy O'Hara and goalkeeper Bill Irwin (four saves) will start in the back.
"The defense did a great job. We saw a lot of good things against Philadelphia, but we still can work much better together," said Bradley. "It's good to come home following a win. But the pressure will be on us to win again."
The Dips were called for 14 fouls compared to the Fury's 10. Cannell picked six fouls and was ejected early in the second half for "presistent infringement of the rules after having been cautioned." The officials did not deem Cannell's banishment serious enough to warrant suspension.
Washington scored as many as three goals in only three gameslast year. It totaled only 31 goals, all season.