Bobby Stokes scored the game's only goal late in the second half and Washington's defense turned in its second straight shutout in stopping the Chicago Sting, 1-0, in the diplomats' home opener yesterday at RFK stadium.
Only 7,916, 48 fewer than the 1977 opening attendance figure, showed up as the Dips raised their record to 2-0 and upped their North American soccer league point total to 16.
Washington could have scored at least a half-dozen times. It outshoot the visitors, 22-9, and never was in danger of losing.
"You expect most teams to get five or six good chances," said Jim Steele, Kips' sweeperback and the anchor of the defensive unit. "But they may have gotten two good shots. What did they (Philadelphia) have last week? One."
The Dips' total dominance at both ends of the field was almost a replay of their 3-0 win over the Fury. From the opening minutes, the Dips' front line of Stokes, Paul Cannell, Mike Bakic, Andries Maseko and substitute Ken Mokgojoa continuously outfoxed sting defenders for unmolested shots on goal. Fortunately for Chicago (0-2), all of them missed until Stokes connected at the 76:53 mark.
If Washington Coach Gordon Bradley's strategy was to wear down Chicago before inserting the lightening-quick Mokgojoa to pick up the offense, it worked perfectly.
Mokgojoa's moves to the goal immediately brought Chicago defenders in droves. Five minutes after Mokgojoa replaced Bakic at 71:35. Stokes handled a pass from midfielder Sakib Viteskic about 20 yards away from the goal line.
Two defenders stood watching Stokes tap the ball from one foot to another and appeared transfixed when the Washington forward abruptly snap-knicked the ball past them and just under the diving attempt of Sting goalkeeper Mervyn Cawston. The ball was nicked by Cawston, who had been busy all day with eight saves, but the ball had enough on it to reach the righthand corner of the net.
"I just got a hand on it," said Cawston. "I could see Stokes with the ball but he sort of surprised me with the quick shot."
Stokes thought Cawston may have been screened from the play by the defenders and didn't pick up the ball until it was too late.
"He may not have seen it. It was a twisting kick and it moved away from him," said Stokes. "I think the coach made a good move in bringing in Ken when he did. Their backs had begun to tire and Ken comes in running."
If Washington was guilty of anything, it was overpassing.On more than one occasion, Dips' players had only one man to beat but elected to pass the ball back or across the goal area to get a foot closer. Steele, Maseko and Cannell all missed or had excellent header attempts batted away by Cawston.
Washington goalie Bill Irwin (six saves) had only two tough chances and made them both. The closest call came on an Eddy Atoine header from about 10 feet away, but the 6-foot-3 Irwin jumped and batted the ball over the net. Irwin's height came in handy as the Sting sent several high balls inside only only to watch the Dips' goalie either bat them away or reach up to grab them out of midair.
"We just didn't do anything up front. No improvement at all from last week when the lost to Dallas, 2-0)," said Sting Coach Malcolm Musgrove.
The one player up front expected to provide the instant offense the Sting sorely missed last year is former World Cup player Robert Gadocha of Poland.