Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Washington's Mike Bakic slipped a goal past the Colorado Caribous before the game was a minute old and the Diplomat's defense survived a second-half barrage of shots to come away with a 2-0 triumph before 14,446 last night at RFK stadium.
Their sixth victory moved the Dips into first place in the NASL National Conference East Division.
"We entertained the crowd, that's for sure," said Dave Clements, Colorado player-coach. "We had our opportunities and couldn't finish. That (Bill) Irwin (Dips goalie) is an Irish magician. Even to the death, he wouldn't give us a point. I guess that's why they're winning and we're not."
The Caribous, now 2-5, surely can't complain about lack of chances. Although Washington was able to get its fourth shutout of the season, the defense wasn't as smooth as it has been. They were generous to the visitors, allowing them 29 attempts and had not the "Irish magician" gone into his bag of tricks, the results may have been different.
"We gave them (Colorado) more easy chances than we gave to the previous six teams we played. They just couldn't convert, luckily," said defender Roy Willner. "We were a little shaky back there."
More than once, the 6-foot-3 Irwin imperiled life and limb by diving in front of savagely hit balls after Dips' defenders had lost their men. He made 10 saves.
After Paul Cannell's unassisted goal early in the second half boosted Washington's advantage to 2-0, the Caribous began their assault on Irwin. Sead Susic, who took nine cracks at the Washington net, had goal written on at least two short tries only to be foiled by Irwin once and Jim Steele on the other.
With 18 minutes to play, Irwin dropped to his knees to stop Susic's point-blank attempt from 15 yards out. The ball bounced off the Dips' net man and Susic tried again. This time Steele, the sweeper who was sidelined three games because of a sprained ankle, stepped in the mouth of the goal to kick away the winger's shot.
With less than a minute to play, Colorado's Brian Tinnion's head shot was batted away by Irwin. Tinnion also tried again and a host of red jerseys got a piece of the ball as it floated harmlessly away.
Colorado goalie Arnold Mausser, voted the league's top American player when he played for Tampa Bay in 1976, must have felt snake-bitten.
He had barely finished taking his warm-up exercises before he was burned for his 11th goal of the year.
Steele picked off a poor Caribous' pass at the start of the game and lofted the ball into Colorado territory. The visitors' defense forced the ball out of bounds, setting up a corner kick, but failed to set up properly on defense.Washington's Tom O'Hara sent a crossing pass to no one in particular. A Colorado defender tried to head the ball away.
The ball went straight to Bobby Stokes, who volleyed a bullet at the surprised Mausser. The ball caromed off Mausser and rolled a few feet away from the crawling goalie. Bakic beat Mausser to the ball and booted it into the net with just 53 seconds played.
Washington controlled play the remainder of the half but was unable to score again, while Colorado, apparently upset at giving up a goal so quickly, didn't put out much effort and went to the locker room trailing, 1-0.
"You don't want to give up a goal that fast. But it wasn't that bad. The second one was the killer," said Clements.