Goalie Bill Irwin and forward Tony Crescitelli may return to the starting lineup Wednesday night when Washington's soccer team plays the San Diego Sockers in its third and final contest of this West Coast trip.
The Diplomats, 8-11 after 2-1 losses at Portland and Los Angeles, will be without Johan Cruyff and Wim Jansen, midfielders sent home Sunday with muscle pulls.
"Irwin is improving (from a shoulder injury suffered at Portland)," Coach Gordon Bradley said. "But I wouldn't hesitate to keep him out another game, (Dragan) Radovich played so well against Los Angeles. He (Irwin) has been practicing but has done no diving (through Monday's workout).
"Crescitelli is about 90 percent, but he says he feels something (in his quad muscle -- upper front thigh of his right leg). Tests have proved negative so he'll play if he can."
Another question mark is Sonny Askew, who replaced Crescitelli early in the first half against the Aztecs. It was Askew's first action since he hurt a foot in early June against Chicago.
"He was a bit lost," Bradley noted. "He's still trying to find his form."
The Diplomats appear set at defense with the four who played against the high-scoring Aztecs ready to go. Bradley will start Bob Iarusci, Don Droege, Nick Mijatovic and Tommy O'Hara.
"They played well against Los Angeles," Bradley said. "The Aztecs pushed on defense, but we were well organized."
The Sockers have won their last two games to improve their record to 9-10 in the American Conference's Western Division and will have two changes for the Dips.
San Diego has a new head coach in Hank Liotart, up from the Socker player ranks, and a welcome returnee in top Mexican player Hugo Sanchez. The 21-year-old forward recently completed Mexican League play.
A year ago Sanchez made the Sockers' record book with seven points in one game. He was the NA-SL's leading playoff scorer with 15 points and runner-up in the playoff MVP balloting.
The Diplomats' main offensive weapon continues to be Alan Green, who scored his 17th goal on a header against the Aztecs. Should Crescitelli not be able to play, Bobby Stokes, the replacement for Cruyff after halftime against the Aztecs, probably will start.
"We've put pressure on ourselves," Bradley noted. "We wanted to be .500 on this road trip and we've already lost the first two games. We've got to play well against San Diego and New England (Saturday)."