The signing of Trevor Francis by the Detroit Express, one of six North American Soccer League expansion teams would appear to be a major coup for that young organization.
The Express, which won its first two games, acquired Francis Thursday from Birmingham of the English League first division, on a loan basis beginning May 24 when Birmingham finishes its season.
Francis, 26 is considered one of the top midfielders in Europe. Washington Diplomats' Coach Gordon Bradley calls him, "the best player in England."
The Express outbid the Minnesota Kicks and the New England Tea Men for Francis.It is believed he will be paid $100,000 this season.
The Tea Men, who are owned by the Lipton Tea Co., can be expected to show considerable improvement in the second half of the season. Through an arrangement with Charlton Athletic, a first division English League team, half of that club's players will join the Tea Men once their season is finished.
One club which finds itself with serious problems only two weeks into the season is last year's Soccer Bowl loser, the Seattle Sounders.
In the season opener, a 3-0 win over Colorado, Dave Gillett scored the team's first goal, and seven minutes later broke his leg. He is not expected back in 1978.
In the meantime, the club has been unable to come to terms with veteran all-star Mike England.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the Dips' opponents today, suffered an embarrassing 7-0 loss to the Cosmos in their opener.
The two clubs have met seven games by a combined margin of 33-7. "Clearly they play a little bit better against the rest of the league," noted Steve Ranking, the Dips publicity director, who came here from Fort Lauderdale.
Expansion produced another NASL first last Sunday. Minnesota and the expansion Caribous of Colorado were snowed out when a storm dropped four inches of snow on Denver.
The game was made up on Wednesday with the Caribous surprising the Kicks, 1-0.
Early this week, Carbray received a request for two tickets to the 1978 Cosmos game at RFK Stadium Aug. 2. Enclosed were two Cosmos ticket stubs - from the 1976 game played at W.T. Woodson High School.
"I sent the guy the free tickets," Carbray said with a laugh. "And I enclosed a note saying that anyone with guts enough to send those tickets in deserved a free pair for this year."
The San Jose Earthquakers lost their first three games in sudden-death shootouts . . . Fans at today's game may notice a large clock at each end of the field. They are flown in by the league for nationally televised games to be used in shootouts. Players have five seconds to shoot, the clock keeps track . . . Biggest mystery of the early season: the Los Angeles Aztecs. With five NASL all stars in their front seven, they scored only two goals in the first two games.