Having lost in overtime for the second time in a week Saturday night, the Washington Diplomats came home yesterday feeling frustrated and wondering if their defense can return to early season form.
The 4-3 loss in the second overtime period to the Minnesota Kicks in Minneapolis kept the Dips in second place with 66 points -- 32 points behind the Cosmos. They have lost two games that Coach Ken Furphy said have been "thrown away," and in the process have picked up just five of a possible 18 points.
Washington could have avoided the second overtime period, but a hard 35-foot shot by Trevor Hebberd, who had scored two goals, was saved by Kicks' goalie Tino Lettieri in the opening overtime.
"The game was over at that point," Furphy said. "Trevor made a super play, but Lettieri stopped the damn thing somehow."
Furphy said the Dips are suffering from a lack of concentration when they go into extra periods. He also attributed recent misfortunes to the youth of a team that has played together for a brief period of time.
"you're bound to lose your concentration after playing 90 minutes," Furphy said. "And the mistakes that keep popping up do happen with a young team. But we did score three goals, and three goals on the road or at home should be plenty to win.
"We have to improve on defense, though," Furphy said. "Early in the season people were wondering if we could be scored upon."
Furphy expressed his displeasure with Hebberd on the play that led to the winning goal by Ace Ntsoelengoe. Kick substitute defender Tim Clark stole a clearing attempt in the Washington end that he sent downfield to Ntsoelengoe.
Furphy said Hebberd should have tackled Clark for the ball, but conceded, "Trevor's not a defender and if he has a weakness, it's tackling."
Dip Goalie Jim Brown was shaken in the first overtime period when he came down hard on his back while making a save. He was taken to a local hospital, where X-rays proved negative.