The Washington Diplomats are exploring "heavily" their foreign connections as well a prospecting within the North American Soccer League for a creative type of midfielder, a player who would fit the cliche "one who makes things happen."
The word is that the Diplomats are not panicking with three crippled midfielders, a 4-8 record, a five-game losing streak and six defeats in their last seven games.
But the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are coming to RFK Stadium on Sunday with a 9-6 record and the Diplomats are trying their hardest to keep faith with their fans who turned out 53,351 strong to see them play the Cosmos.
The soccer season ended overseas two weeks ago and if a midfielder could be obtained there he doubtless still would be in competitive condition.
In an unusual bid, reminiscent of George Allen, former Washington Redskin football coach, the Diplomats are saying the players need the support of the fans to pick up morale.
They hope a crowd of 20,000 will turn out to cheer on midfielders Sakib Viteskic, Gary Darrell, Carmine Marcantonio and Wim Jansen in the absence of Sonny Askew (broken right foot), Juan Jose Lozano (broken right leg) and probably Johan Cruyff (pulled right leg muscle), whose availability was listed yesterday as "pretty doubtful."
All were known as "creators" or playmakers, Cruyff in particular, because when he was healthy he would usually move to the forefront of the midfielder line.