Washington Diplomat Coach Gordon Bradley said yesterday he may have to resume his search for striker and a midfielder this week after learning that midfielders Juan Jose Lozano and Sonny Askew will be out with bone injuries.
Lozano, kicked by Chicago's Bret Hall during the Diplomats' 5-2 loss Saturday, will be lost six to eight weeks with a broken right fibula. Askew suffered a chipped bone in his right foot and will be out two to three weeks.
"Just when it seemed we were about to get some breathing space, this happens," Bradley said. "This is very bad news. Things can't get much worse. This started during preseason when we lost three defenders. Things are hard and heavy now. We can't worry about it, we'll just have to do the best we can."
Unless, they come up with a player this week, the Diplomats will be in trouble when they host Fort Lauderdale at RFK Stadium Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Midfielder Joe Horvath will be sitting out the second game of a two-game suspension imposed by the NASL for his altercation with official Gordon Arrowsmith in the Dips-Cosmos game June 1.
Johan Cruyff still hobbling from a pulled thigh muscle and will not play Sunday.
"That leaves us very short in the midfield," said Bradley. "No real depth at all."
Washington probably will start Sakib Viteskic, who played well in reserve in the loss Saturday, and Gary Darrell with regulars Carmine Marcantonio and Wim Jansen in the midfield spots.
Either Bobby Stokes or Ken Mokgojoa, both of whom have struggled this season, will start up front with Alan Green.
Washington had its share of chances (outshot Chicago, 26-14) against the String but couldn't come up with the goals. For that reason, Bradley has no complaints with his offense.
Defense is another story. Exploited for five goals, Bradley said the defense "made one or two bad mistakes.
"That second goal, the one that killed us, was a very bad mistake," Bradley said, "No one marked the free man at all., Our defense has been fine all year but we lost our composure a bit Saturday. We got behind, 2-1, and began to press and throw everything forward. That's when we fell apart."
The severity of the injuries to Askew and Lozano leaves Washington in a precarious situation. To drive from last place in their division, victories are now a must for the Dips.
"We can forget about the Soccer Bowl for the moment. We are three points out of second place so we need points in the worst way," Bradley said. "We will have to fight for this victory Sunday. I mean fight. We come right back and play Rochester (tried with Toronto for second place with 47 points) Tuesday so we are in position to help ourselves in a hurry."