"It was a joke," said irate Washington Diplomat forward Alan Green, referring to an offsides call that took away an apparent goal in the second half. "I knew I was onsides. It wasn't even close. Some of the lads said the linesman (Derek Smith) didn't ever raise his flag until the pail was in the net. The referees and the linesmen in this league are a joke."
Washington, playing a superb game despite the poor weather conditions, enjoyed one- and two-goal leads most of the game before the talent-rich Cosmos tied the game and eventually won he tie breaker shootout, 3-2, and took a 5-4 decision in the final regular season contest for both.
Green, who seems to have field days against the NASL's finest team, scored three goals, assisted on the fourth and made one of the Dips' two shots in the shootout.
But Green and his teammates were crying foul in the locker room on the offsides call nullifying the Green goal at 48:00. The feisty 5-foot-6 English striker, who finished the regular season with a club record 41 points, made a brilliant move and run to catch up to a ball on the wet, slippery surface. He moved around Cosmos defender Santiago Formosa and had only goal-keeper David Brcic to beat. Green easily chipped the ball over his head for an apparent goal and a 2-1 Dips lead.
"It sure looked good to me," said Dip defender Tommy O'Hara. "No matter how hard we play, we just can't beat these guys. How can a team be down four times (actually three times) and still win?"
Of course the Cosmos, who closed out the regular season with the same record as last year (24-6), totally agreed with linesman Smith's call.
"He definitely was offside," said Cosmos goalie Brcic. "We played for that and he was way off. It wasn't a goal. No way."
While the Dips were a bit perturbed over the call, most admitted they should have won anyhow.
"We would go ahead and relax just a little," said defender Gary Darrell, seeing his frist action since early in the season. "Against a good team, especially them (Cosmos), you just can't be content to stop them. You have to keep playing. We didn't let down intentionally. It just happened."
Darrell, the senior member of the Dips in terms of years, started on defense in place of Robert Iarusci, who is suffering from the flu. Darrell, who underwent knee surgery several months ago, said he didn't expect to play as long because he knew he wasn't match-fit.
"I sure didn't expect the game to go into overtime," said Darrell.
None of the 34,599 brave souls sitting in the game-long downpour expected one either. The Cosmos have ejjoyed 8-2 and 6-1 triumphs over the Dips in their last meetings at Giants Stadium. The Cosmos also prevailed over Washington, 3-2, in another shootout tie breaker at RFK earlier this season.
Seninho, who made the winning shootout goal in the first game, repeated the feat tonight.
"I hade the exact same move I made down there," said the Portuguese forward in broken English. "He (Washington goalie Bill Irwin) did the same thing he did before and I just went around him. It was like swimming out there. Too much water. Field no good."
Dip Coach Gordon Bradley, disappointed but not overly upset, said he instructed his team to counterattack and keep pressure on the Cosmos' defense because "they weren't that quick in the back."
"The Green goal was typical of our offense," said Bradley. "We wanted to attack."
Even without leading scorer Giorgio Chinaglia (groin pull) and the homefield advantage already assured throughout the NASL playoffs, the Cosmos played tough at both ends of the field.
"We wanted to win despite the fact it was a meaningless game," said Cosmos Coach Ray Klivecka. "We could have died in the rain when we fell, 4-2, but we didn't. We could have said who cares and just tried to get out of the rain. But we want to go into the playoffs with a winning attitude and momentum."
Despite the loss, the Dips feel very confident going into Wednesday night's first-round playoff game in Los Angeles.
"The thing is we played pretty well," said O'Hara "We lost but our confidence is still high."
Washington, which has now surrendered 12 goals in the last three games, will try to erase this game from its memory quickly. Should fate match the two teams again later in the playoffs, Green insists the fear factor has disappeared.
"Two years ago when we came in here we were afraid because they were the Cosmos," said Green. "You knew when you played them, forget it. That's changed. We aren't afraid anymore." CAPTION: Picture, Cosmos goalie David Brcic slides across rain-drenched field to block shot of Andres Maseko, left. By Richard Darcey - The Washington Post