Carmine Marcantonio doesn't complain when his name is misspelled or when the forwards or scorers receive all the credit following a game. He's just happy to be here.
Not expected to be around when the Washington Diplomats opened the '78 season, Marcantonio has slowly worked his way into a starting berth in the midfield and given the Dips the stability and leadership the club hasn't seen in some time.
"There are two kinds of players out there. Those who score and receive all the glory and those who work to get the ball to them so they can score," said Marcantonio, a native of Italy. "I'm one of those who works to get the ball to someone."
Marcantonio and fellow midfielder Sakib Viteskie are major reason Washington has jumped out to a 5-1 record. Operating in the middle of Coach Gordon Bradley's 4-2-4 formation, they have sacrificed their names in the box score to keep the ball moving on offense and to pass inside to the wingers and striker Paul Cannell. As a result, the Dips have 11 goals in six games. Washington had a total of 30 goals in 26 games in 1977.
"Our passing game is getting better each game. It takes patience and since we are relatively new to one another, it'll take time," said Marcantonio, who speaks English, Spanish and French in addition to his native tongue.
"Once we get a bit more variety in our passing attack, we'll be even better."
A basic problem soccer coaches face in putting together a team with players of different nationalities is modifying different styles of play, particularly the passing game. Some countries, such as Brazil and other Latin American nations, prefer the short passing game while others, like England, are more comfortable with the long-ball attack.
However, in the last decade, several of the world's top teams have successfully combined the two styles. Combining the two forms of attack is "what is needed to win in the NASL," according to Washington Coach Bradley.
"You want to get players who can play both styles. We have them. But even then, it depends on the type of surface you play on and the opponent," said Bradley, following yesterday's two-hour workout. "We want to parlay the short and long passing games, according to the situation. I think that's the reason we've won two of three games on the road."
In Washington's 2-1 win over Tulsa last week, the Dips, despite playing a man short for nearly 41 minutes, quickly adjusted to the Roughnecks' narrow field and played long ball and tight defense.
"Just kick the ball long downfield and chase," were Bradley's instructions before the game.
In the Dips' 2-0 loss to Dallas, Bradley had no passing strategy because of the rough, bumpy terrain at Ownby Stadium.
"The ball would just bounce everywhere. There wasn't woo much startegy you could use," said Bradley "Except for that game, our passing game has been extremely good.
"Both Marcantonio and Viteskic have been pleasant surprises and I have no complaints," said Bradley. "But I still have to sign players at that position. We simply have no depth there at all."
However, the all-round play of Marcantonio and Viteskic has been such that Bradley hasn't pushed the panic button and signed the first player he's seen, or forsaken his four-forward offense.
"We've got several problems and we're working on them," said Bradley. "Right now, our 4-2-4 is not one of them. We can afford to play with an extra man up front because the mid-fielders have done a good job and the other players are adept passers as well. Jim Steele and Bobby Stokes are excellent passers."
Stokes, with goals and three assists, is the "fourth forward" and often causes matchup problems for his opponent since he roams free between the front line and the midfield spot.
"He's like a second striker. But he passes well and, since he was always a forward, he can score from anywhere," said Bradley.
Washington, which hosts the Colorado Caribous Saturday at 8 at RFK Stadium, is still a long way from passing perfection, as evidenced in the Chicago game when the Dips lost the ball several times on bad passes.
"Passing is like checkers. You have to anticipate one or two moves ahead. Those who can do that are the best players on the field," said Marcantonio. "I try to do that but it doesn't always happen. That's what experience is all about. Each game we've had a few lapses, but it's getting better."brushes with the law.
Veteran Steve Furness is expected to take over Holmes' position and the Steelers acquired two defensive linemen. They dealt off a draft choice to Green Bay for veteran Dave Pureifoy and took Willie Fry of Notre Dame in the second round of the draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs traded seven-season veteran defensive end Wilbur Young to San Diego for veteran wide receiver Larry Dorsey.
The Redskins traded linebacker Joe Harris, signed as a free agent in 1977, to San Francisco for the 49ers' eighth pick in the eighth round and Washington selected wide receiver Walker Lee of North Carolina.
Herman Redden, defensive back from Howard University, was chosen on the ninth round by the 49ers.
Wide receiver Vince Kinney of Maryland was taken on the 10th round by Denver and linebacker Brad Carr on the 12th round by Pittsburgh. Quarterback Mark Manges was picked on the fourth round Tuesday by the Rams. Quarterback Larry Dick has signed with Saskatchewan on the Canadian Football League.