Goalkeeper Jim Brown's historic score Sunday against Atlanta overshadowed the Diplomats' winning goal with 26 seconds left -- a strategic free kick by Dip defender Malcolm Waldron.
The Dips were awarded the penalty kick when former Diplomat Don Droege pushed midfielder Trevor Hebbard one yard outside the penalty area.
The successful kick was executed on a play Washington Coach Ken Furphy has devised for such a circumstance.
"No matter what the defensive alignment is," said Furphy, "we put three players on the ball and they have five alterenatives. Dave Bradford, Peter Baralich and Waldron decide who will take the shot according to who has the best angle against the opposing wall.
"From the bench it was hard to tell who had the best angle. But I could tell Waldron was going to take the shot because he took one step further back than the other two. Waldron said he saw a six-inch opening near the end of the Chiefs' defense and said, 'I'll have to go at it.' I thought their front line might block it, but he was ready to take the responsibility if he missed it."
Waldron guided the ball through the small hole between two defenders, high under the crossbar past Atlanta goalie Graham Tutt, giving the Dips a 3-2 victory. "It was a hell of a shot," said Furphy, who is not easily impressed. "The kick of the month."
When Brown connected from 100 yards with 20 minutes to play, to give the Dips a 2-1 lead, he became the first goalkeeper to score in the 15-year history of the NASL. Earlier, he would have had an assist if Don Nardiello's kick hadn't rolled wide.
But the play that Furphy thought was even more important was Brown's acrobatic save of a penalty kick by Chief Keith Furphy, his son, with 14 minutes to play and the score tied, 2-2.
Furphy was a little disappointed that his team, which outshot Altanta, 25-15, missed so many opportunities. In addition to Nardiello's miss, Bradford hit the post and the crossbar and Paul Cannell barely missed a diving header.
Cannell, who is recovering from a groin pull, banged his head on a header attempt and had to leave the game. But Furphy said his staf striker will practice this week.