In the opinion of Coach Gordon Bradley, the 3-2 Washington Diplomat victory before 10,116 soccer fans Saturday night in the Rose Bowl "has to rate as our biggest win of the year, especially after having two penalty kicks called against us."
"when we first left on this three-game Western road trip, we pretty well figured the L.A. game would be our toughtest of the three. So we're very pleased to leave here with a nine-point win."
The Dips play in Portland Wednesday night, in Minnesota Saturday.
The success against the Aztecs stemmed from a scouting trip to Dallas last Wednesday. In that 3-2 win for the Aztecs, Bradley detected a few flaws in Coach Rinus Michels' scheme of things. One dealt with Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff.
"Cruyff again played a magnificent game, but he wasn't continually com- ing at us," said Bradley. "we had Carmine Marcantonio marking him very tightly, and I believe the constant pressure threw Cruyff a bit off his game. He had to pick his spots against us instead of going all out the whole game. Considering it was only Carlmine's second full gaame for us [he started Wednesday against Edmonton], I thought he played an excellent game."
Other Dips to draw praise from Bradley were midfielder Joe Horvath [for his goal and two assists], defender Jim Steele [for his goal and sturdy defense], and goalkeeper Bill Irwin [for his stopping Hubert Smeets' second penalty kick].
"horvath is without a doubt our best acquisition this year," said Bradley. "he's very skllful with the ball, and he can score goals. He also directs our attack from his midfield position.
"As for Steele, I thought he played a very strong game on defense for us. He's also the one that gives our defense direction. It was only his third game back from suffering a broken jaw, but he's coming along real well. He lost something like 25 pounds, and has since gained some of it back. But I'd just as soon have him at his current weight because he seems a bit quicker
Steel gave the Aztecs their first penalty kick when forward Walter Wagner drew the foul in the penalty area.
Said Bradley, "I thought it should never have been called. The forward caused the foul by stooping over and backing into Steel. He had no other place to come down but his back."
Forwards Alan Green and Paul Cannell, the leading Dip sthe leading Dip scorers with 11 and eight goals, respectively, were shut out by the Aztecs.