Alkis Panagoulias and Ron Newman were in separate dressing rooms voicing similar complaints about their respective teams' lack of talent or experience.

Moments earlier, Panagoulias' Team America had edged Newman's San Diego Sockers, 2-1, in a physical, intense North American Soccer League game Saturday night.

"I continue to be disappointed because we're not attracting the best American players," Panagoulias said. "We're trying to have a strong national team and I don't know if we're succeeding."

San Diego goalkeeper Volkmar Gross obviously thinks not: "If they're America's best hope, then we're in big trouble. We (Sockers) had a kindergarten out there and they barely outplayed us."

Panagoulias merely shrugged.

As Team America tours the United States in the opening weeks of the NASL season, he hears criticism frequently. A commentary in Saturday's Los Angeles Times called his team "a fraud."

"What can I do, except do the best I can?" asked Panagoulias.

Panagoulias' efforts paid off Saturday night. Team America played poorly for the first 45 minutes and trailed, 1-0, at intermission, but dominated late in the game.

It tied on Chico Borja's goal at 77:24 and scored the winner at 84:33 on a shot by Perry Van Der Beck.

"The two goals we scored were good goals," said Panagoulias. "We always seem to create a lot of scoring chances, but fail to finish the play. Tonight, in the second half, we had good finishes.

"Part of the problem was caused by our unfamiliarity with the San Diego team. We didn't know who they were going to play until they went out on the field."

Neither did Newman.

He fielded a team consisting primarily of reserves and volunteers from the Sockers' indoor team because of an overlap between the NASL season and the Major Indoor Soccer League's championship series.

The best-of-five series between the Sockers and Baltimore Blast concludes Monday night in San Diego. Newman was uncertain of his lineup until game time.

"It would have taken a miracle for us to win this game," Newman said.

Team America (3-2) next plays at St. Louis in a Wednesday night exhibition against the Soviet Union national champion, Dynamo Minsk. Team America returns home to play Golden Bay Friday, then leaves for Tampa Bay (June 1) and Tulsa (June 4). The Tulsa game will be the fifth in 10 days for Team America.

"I've never seen anything like this type of scheduling," said Panagoulias. "It's unthinkable on either a professional or amateur level. It's ridiculous."