Washington Diplomat star Johan Cruyff, accused by several teammates of being partly responsible for the team's inconsistent offense this season, said yesterday, "There is a problem and it can be corrected only if we stop making mistakes and play smart soccer.
"I think if everyone watched himself and not me and played his game, we'd be fine.
"It's not a question of us getting used to one another. We have been losing the ball in the middle of the field -- now I said losing the ball in the middle of the field, I didn't say the midfielders were losing the ball -- there's a difference.
"In our system (two strikers, four midfielders, four defenders) we have three attacking midfielders. We need some defensive-minded midfielders. It's impossible to keep your midfielders on the attack and then continue running back 60 yards to defense. I can't do that. No one can do that for a complete game."
The North American Soccer League's offensive player of the year in 1979, Cruyff has been criticized for not providing the offensive punch Washington fans expected to see.
"I'm not playing any different than I did last year," Cruyff, the team's field general, said. "There are different players here and we use a different style. But it doesn't make any difference to me. I play the same. d
"You have to have opportunities to score. You have to move about the ball and create space. I'm used to running without the ball. One of our problems is we have not adjusted to the defenses we see. Last year, a lot of teams didn't use a sweeper. This year they are. Instead of trying to force the ball up the middle, we have to play the ball up the side (lines)."
Cruyff also said Coach Gordon Bradley's two-forward system, which several players said wasn't working smoothly, would work if the players are in the right places.
"I played with two people up front all my life and it's no problem," Cruyff said. "We have just outplayed ourselves. Of course, we look better at home because visiting teams play defending soccer. On the road, the home teams play attack. We haven't played different on the road; the teams we've played have."
Washington, going into Sunday's 5 p.m. game against California (3-3) at RFK Stadium, has won both its home games while losing all three away.
In each defeat, the Washington offense seemed to suffer major breakdowns. The forwards, in particular, have not been able to get into position for shots to keep pressure on the defense.
Alan Green, who has four of Washington's 10 goals, and Bobby Stokes, who is goalless, said part of their problem has been caused by their teammates' failure to give the ball up soon enough on the attack.
"We've discussed the problem and, basically, it's just a matter of getting the ball earlier," said Green. "Right now we haven't put things together and we've been a little frustrated."
Cruyff, sometimes brilliant despite not having scored a goal for the Dips (he has three assists), said, "The mistakes have hurt us. We lost two unnecessary games by giving the ball away in the middle of the field. No one is going to score if you don't create opportunities. I don't think this is a major problem and we can clear it up."
Bradley agreed his team hasn't played as consistently as he had hoped.
"We have to score more goals. I have to say the blend out there has taken a bit longer to come but I have seen flashes," Bradley said. "We have to be more aggressive. I'm not criticizing anyone, but we need to work harder. We're just missing that little bit of something."
Wilm Jansen, Washington's only defense-minded midfielder, still is limping on a calf muscle pulled in a 1-0 loss in Toronto and will not play Sunday . . . Joe Horvath, knee strain, is questionable . . . The Surf, Sunday's opponent, is second in the NASL in goals with 14. Steve Moyers is the leading scorer in the league with seven and is second in the American Conference with 15 points.