After a 3-6 start in which the Washington Diplomats scored only 17 goals, "you're going to see some additions and deletions from this team fairly soon," Andy Dolich, the general manager, said yesterday.
"It's obvious," Dolich added, "that we're going to have to make some changes to become a Soccer Bowl contender."
"We're going to turn the team around and obviously we have do it very quickly," Coach Gordon Bradley said. "If it takes new faces to do that, there will be new faces. We're not going to sit still and accept losing."
Bradley refused to comment specifically on reports that his first priority is a tall striker. But the word was out among the players. As one of them put it, "It's the only thing to do. The record speaks for itself."
Bradley reportedly will begin searching European leagues for a striker this week, hoping to acquire his choice in time for Sunday's home match against the Cosmos. The Dips trail the Cosmos by 38 points in the National Conference Eastern Division.
Saturday night's 2-1 shootout loss in Atlanta gave the Dips, an 0-5 road mark.
Eight of the team's 17 goals have been scored by Alan Green. Bobby Stokes, Green's partner at striker, has not scored a goal and neither has mid-fielder Johan Cruyff.
The problem is a basic one. Playing in a 4-4-2 alignment with only two strikers, it is imperative that a team have two players up front with differing talents. Green and Stokes are very much alike -- short, fast and dependent on low passes to get the ball. Neither is capable of scoring on high passes with any consistency.
"We both need the ball at our feet, that's our game," Green said. "There's no sense sending a high ball into the box because Bobby and I just aren't going to get it."
The Dips have scored just one goal on a head shot all year and that one came in the second week of the season. The scorer was Carmine Marcantonio, who was playing defense at the time.
Bradley may not swing a deal this week, but he will make one within the next couple of weeks. Stokes, a four-year Washington veteran, is one of the teams's most versatile players and could play a utility role in the future. t
Bradley has been reluctant to break up the Green-Stokes combination because Stokes is one of the hardest working players on the team. But now it appears he has no choice. Green is being double-teamed constantly, something that was supposed to stop on Cruyff's arrival.
Ironically, the team's second-leading goal scorer, Sonny Askew with three, was benched two games ago because Cruyff insisted the team needed another defensive player at midfield.
Askew injured the big toe on his left foot when he stumble in the locker room after practice Thursday and did not even make the Atlanta trip. With Cruyff also out, the Dips managed one goal, by Green, against Lou Cioffi, playing his first professional game in goal. During the game's final 62 minutes -- including the overtime -- the Dips were forced to play a man short because of Juan Jose Lozano's ejection. Lozano's ejection. On the plane, Bradley wrote a supplementary report to the league on the performance of referee Fred Usher. In the report, "incompetent."
Because of the ejection, Lozano will have to sit out the Cosmos game.
"He makes one move to retaliate for (branco Radovic) hacking at him all game, and we lose him for almost two games," Bradley said angrily. "If it was retaliation as the referee said, why didn't he eject both players? Why just Juan?"
From the what-else-can-go-wrong department: All the Dips' uniforms and much of trainer Steve Hornor's equipment were lost Saturday night when a compartment on the bus taking the team back to its hotel opened and the equipment trunk fell out. Hornor and publicist Jim Trecker went back to look for the trunk but couldn't find it.