Six months ago, the Washington Diplomats were 8-3 and threatening the NASL Eastern Division-leading Cosmos. Since then, the Dips have lost five of six games -- and lost sight of the Cosmos.

To heighten Washington's frustration, four of the losses have been by one goal. The Dip defense has been nonexistent. They were shut out twice during the six-game skid, 2-0 in Montreal Saturday and 1-0 in Jacksonville.

"There comes a time when the goals just don't come," said Washington Coach Ken Furphy. "Plus, I think we've run afoul of a couple of referees, but that's all part of the game."

Sweeper Malcolm Waldron is leading the Diplomats in scoring (eight goals, all of them unassisted). Waldron, 19th in scoring in the league, is the only defenseman in the top 20 in goals.

"We've needed an attacker, not necessarily (Johan) Cruyff (who will join the team next month), just a good attacker," said Furphy. "I've heard stories of his (Cruyff's) behavior and how he causes problems on a team. But he is such a great player. He'll just have to accept the same rules as everyone else."

Wednesday's game with Jacksonville begins a three-game homsestand for the Dips, who are 5-2 at RFK Stadium. The game will start at 8 p.m. instead of the usual 7:30 starting time.