The Washington Diplomats, who raised their record to 8-3 with a 2-1 shootout victory in Tulsa Monday night, play the Roughnecks again today at 3 p.m. in RFK Stadium. But Coach Ken Furphy hasn't dwelt this week on the rematch.
"I've wanted to give them a few days just to enjoy what they've accomplished so far," Furphy said yesterday after a tough workout at the stadium. "I want to give them a chance to just think about the good things we've done so far this season. When they get here for the game, I'll tell them some things."
Furphy will warn his players not to treat today's match lightly after their victory on the narrow, artificial turf field in Tulsa.
"I would think they would have to play one of their best games to beat us at home," said midfielder David Bradford, who will play despite having been sick much of the week. "But we have to remember that they'll be just as glad to be on our wide-open field as we are."
The Roughnecks (5-5, 41 points) may do better this season away from Skelly Field, where in the past they rarely lost while winning elsewhere. Tulsa, which still lives up to its nickname, who is more of a threat on the road because it plays more skilled soccer better suited to bigger fields.
"They used to bang away, hit everything in sight and take 10 yellow cards," Furphy said. "But they don't really do that anymore."
The Dips, who have the league's third-best record, trail the Cosmos by 21 points in the Eastern Division but have played one less game. They are 5-0 at RFK Stadium and, by their own admission, are surprised that they have played this well this soon considering all their new players.
"They're still in the process of adapting to one another," Furphy said. "We've had to change the lineup several times and I think that's why we've been inconsistent. One game we'll score three or four goals, the next we'll have to go to a shootout.
"Monday in Tulsa I thought we controlled the play as well as we have in any game all year, but we still had to go to a shootout to win. Last year we lost the shootouts, this year we've been lucky enough to win them."
Luck, all the Dips admit, has been a factor. "You win a shootout you have to think of yourself as lucky," Bradford said. "We could have lost both and been 6-5. But we've played intensely in every game. This is a team that likes to play hard in every game."
Because Furphy still is tinkering with the lineup, because there are no superstars, because the new players feel they have something to prove, this has been a hard-working team.
"As long as they remember the hard work that got us this far we'll do well," Furphy said. "We should keep getting better."
Today, with his players healthy and rested, Furphy will hope the hard work, and the winning, continue.
Furphy said he would like to acquire one more player, "someone who can score on his own. Except for Trevor Hebberd, most of our players score when someone else creates something. I'd like to have someone else who can go 'boom-boom' and it's in the net.". . . The coach still is smarting because it has been said his team plays dull soccer. He especially was incensed by remarks made by San Jose General Manager (and former Diplomat g.m.) John Carbray. "Before he calls us dull," Furphy said, "he should take a good look at his own team.". . . Paul Cannell, who has scored only one goal, will not dress today. "He's just not playing very well right now," Furphy said . . . With Dale Baxter still out, the Dips will continue without a backup goalie.