The Washington Diplomats try to erase some bad memories at Holleder Stadium Sunday when they face the rugged Rochester Lancers in a North American Soccer League game starting at 3 p.m. (WTTG-TV-5).
Back at full strenght following the six-day NASL Players Association strike, the Dips (3-1) have won only one game at Holleder Stadium the last five years.
They go into this intradivision game in first place in the Eastern Division with 28 points, two more than the league-champion Cosmos (3-0), who play at Fort Lauderdale Sunday.
Washington Coach Gordon Bradley has every reason to be worried about the Lancers. In the last three years, Rochester has lost only five games on its tight, rugged here (both times with the Cosmos) in his 12 years of coaching.
"Rochester has always been a difficult place to play," Bradley said. "I'm sure Don (Droege) and Joe (Horvath) will be looking forward to the game. Both played for Rochester last year and the competitive spirit runs a bit higher in games like this."
Droege and Robert Iarusci, two of the five Washington players who honored the strike and missed last week's 4-0 win over a makeshift Fort Lauderdale team, return to their starting positions on the back line.
Washington defense will have its hands full stopping Lancer forwards Mike Stojanovic, Julio Baylon and Francisco Bolota.
"We have to stop their big man, Stojanovic," said Droege, who started two seasons for the Lancers before coming to Washington this year.
The Lancers (1-2) are playing their first home game this season. They have not shown much in their three games on the road, losing to Philadelphia, 3-0, and Tulsa, 5-2. They beat Atlanta, 3-2, in a shootout.