Team America set or tied virtually every team scoring record last night, scored four first-half goals, played an excellent all-around game and defeated the Chicago Sting, 5-2, before 4,865 at RFK Stadium.
Meanwhile, Team America owner Robert Lifton fired all but five of his front office staff and is expected to tell his players today they will return to their original clubs after the season.
Lifton said that he was considering moving the team to St. Louis because of the poor attendance in Washington. Team America played an exhibition against Dynamo Minsk, a Russian club team, in St. Louis on May 25 before 30,680, third-largest crowd to see Team America this season.
Lifton is scheduled to meet with his 21 players at 11 a.m. and will officially inform the front office personnel of the firings at 1 p.m. The players will meet among themselves 90 minutes before they meet with Lifton.
Only Beau Rogers, general manager; Jim Henderson, public relations director; Jeffrey Wagner, marketing director; Pat Harris, marketing assistant; and Enid Bass, controller, were retained by Lifton, while the contracts of the other 13 office staff will be terminated Sept. 7.
Lifton has threatened in recent weeks to remove his support from Team America unless the other NASL owners took their players back for the upcoming indoor season. He is expected to tell the players that the owners have accepted this plan.
Lifton is expected to receive heavy opposition from the NASL players association if the players are ordered back to their original teams.
"I'm pretty upset about it," said striker Alan Green, who scored his fifth goal of the year against Chicago. "First we come all this way and get settled and then he (Lifton) wants us to go back. Well if I have to go to Golden Bay, I shan't come back here next year. He can't jerk me around like that."
"I think there will be a team here next year, no matter what Lifton says," said Mark Peterson, who scored his first goal for Team America. "But Lifton is losing a very good thing."
Against the Sting, Team America midfielder Andrew Parkinson had his second-straight two-goal game and Green and Peterson added goals to seal the victory.
Team America outshot the Sting, 23-18, and forced Chicago goalkeeper Dragan Radovich to make 12 saves.
The game was extremely physical. Forty-seven fouls were called. Five yellow cards were assessed, three to Chicago. Fights broke out twice.
"I think this game proves this team wants to stay alive in this area," said Team America Coach Alkis Panagoulias.
Team America held a 2-1 advantage midway through the first half on goals by Parkinson and Green, while the Sting's score came on an 'own' goal that bounced off Peterson into the net.
Parkinson and Peterson scored 12 minutes apart and Karl-Heinz Granitza added another goal for Chicago to make it 4-2 at the half.
Dan Canter scored the game's final goal on a penalty kick at 81:02.