The Washington Diplomats' two-game road trip to Dallas and Toronto was supposed to be the sputtering team's salvation. Together, the Tornado and Blizzard had won just nine games this season. Dallas at one point lost 20 straight games for a league record.
But the Tornado embarrassed the Dips, 3-1, Friday night. For the Dips (12-14, 106 points), it was another case of missed scoring opportunities resulting in Washington's 11th loss in its last 15 games. A playoff spot that seemed so assured when the club was 8-3, now is in peril.
In today's game with the Blizzard (5-22, 62 points), Toronto General Manager Glyn Carver expects the Dips to keep reeling. "I'm not surprised at all with Dallas beating them," said the former Detroit Express GM. "Washington has been going down the tubes the second half of the season. I don't know what exactly is wrong but I do know that they are suffering from moral problems."
The Dips, who have lost three games in a row, will again be missing Johann Cruyff, who still is nursing a groin injury. "That's part of the morale problem," Carver said. "They bring in Cruyff and the guy doesn't play. And when he does, it's nothing special."
Goalkeeper Jim Brown has a twisted ankle and is doubtful for Washington.
Tronoto's 3-1 victory over the Jacksonville Tea Men was the last time the Blizzard won. But Carver is confident that will change today. "When I saw them early in the season, when they beat us, 4-2, they were working hard and together. There were no great, great players but everyone was playing as a team. But (Diplomat Coach) Ken Furphy always gets a lot from a team. More than the sum of its parts. Now Washington is in disarray. And I think we can take advantage of it just like Dallas did."