The result hardly settled anything as far as international bragging rights went, but neither club had reason to be ashamed of the performance.
Team America had a 2-1 lead in its exhibition game with Dynamo Minsk in St. Louis Wednesday night, but the Soviets made a penalty shot with three minutes remaining and the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
Playing before a St. Louis-record crowd of 30,490, the Soviets displayed the physical, constant-motion style that Team America coach's, Alkis Panagoulias, had expected.
"We knew they were going to be a pretty good team," he said. "It was a respectable showing against a very respectable team." Minsk, he said, is the basis for a national Soviet club, so he was satisfied with his team's performance.
But Panagoulias was less than satisfied with the timing of the call that resulted in the penalty shot by Viktor Sokor, and he suggested that the call might not have been made had the game been played in Russia.
Not surprisingly, Dynamo's coach, Eddie Maloveev, said the call was a good one. "The referee is always right," he said. "He never makes mistakes."
The shot, which bounced off the crossbar behind goalie Arnie Mausser and down into the net, prevented the Russians from finishing their U.S. tour with another loss (they had tied twice and lost once). "They didn't want to lose to those American amateurs," Panagoulias said. "They have their pride."
The Soviet players, who stopped for a brief visit in New York yesterday, also had plenty to take home from their trip. After Wednesday's game, all of them were stuffing cans of soft drinks and souvenir T-shirts into their gear bags.
A week ago, Dynamo had tied the Golden Bay Earthquakes, who will play Team America at RFK tonight at 8. Against the team from Minsk, Steve Zungul and Stan Terlecki, players who had left their eastern European countries to escape national policies, had each scored a goal.
Zungul left Yugoslavia in 1978 rather than join the army, and needed a court order in defiance of international rules before he was permitted to play soccer in America. He now plans to apply for U.S. citizenship, and realizes he would likely be arrested if he returned to Yugoslavia.
"I don't go to Yugoslavia anymore," he said.
Terlecki and two other players were suspended from playing in Poland two years ago when they tried to form a players union. The two other players apologized, but Terlecki refused, and his original six-month suspension was increased by a year. He remains a Polish citizen.
"I tried to speak out about the problems, and basically we tried to get justice, because soccer players are in the grips of people with many rights," he said. "But it was a bad time for unions."
Zungul, an indoor soccer star the last five years (he is the MISL's scoring leader with 419 goals and 641 points), is pleased with the challenge of returning to the outdoor game. He was traded to Golden Bay last January when the Arrows were unable to meet his contract demands.
A year ago, he shared the MISL's MVP award with Terlecki, who played for Pittsburgh, and was a member of the '82 World Cup Team