The San Diego Sockers will open their 1983 North American Soccer League season against Team America tonight (10:30, WWDC-1260) on a 100-yard grass field, using 11 players and kicking a black and white ball.

Monday, the Sockers will face the Baltimore Blast in the deciding game of the Major Indoor Soccer League championship series on a 200-foot rink, covered with artificial turf, using six players and kicking a red and black ball.

This was not supposed to happen.

When the Sockers and two other NASL teams joined the MISL prior to the start of the season, the playoffs were not expected to last beyond May 15. The NASL even delayed the start of the three teams' outdoor season three weeks to allow for the changeover.

But the MISL playoffs ran longer than expected and forced the Sockers to reschedule their first game, against Tampa Bay, from May 18 to August. As a result, Team America will be the first team to face San Diego outdoors since last Aug. 21.

Actually, Team America will not face any of the players scheduled to play against Baltimore. The Sockers' large roster allows the team to have two squads, one for indoors and one for outdoors.