Steve Zungul showed a national television audience and 9,084 here at the Civic Center exactly why he is considered the most proficient offensive player in the seven-year history of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
Zungul, who has won three league triple crowns (most goals, assists and total points in a season) had five first-half assists to lead the San Diego Sockers to a 14-2 victory over the Baltimore Blast.
The rout moved the Sockers within one game of winning the best-of-seven championship series and set a playoff record for largest margin of victory. It also was San Diego's first victory in the Civic Center, ending a seven-game losing streak.
San Diego leads the series, 3-1. Game 5 will be played Tuesday at the Sports Arena in San Diego. The Sockers have won indoor titles in each of their last three seasons -- two in the defunct North American Soccer League and in 1983 in the MISL.
Zungul, who had 68 goals and 68 assists this season to win his sixth consecutive indoor scoring title, finished with one goal and a playoff-record seven assists. He also set a playoff series record with 22 assists.
Zungul broke the record of five assists held by Baltimore's Stan Stamenkovic set on May 9, 1984 against New York. He assisted on two of Jean Willrich's four goals and two of Brian Quinn's three.
Kaz Denya opened the scoring for San Diego, rebounding a miss by Zungul and tapping a shot past goalie Scott Manning.
Bernd Holzenbein scored 17 seconds later following a backward pass from Stamenkovic to tie at 1-1, but San Diego scored four straight -- three assisted by Zungul -- for a 5-1 lead.
Baltimore's Dave MacWilliams scored 9:07 into the second quarter on a pass from Holzenbein, but Zungul led the Sockers' fast break against Manning 1:42 later. This time, he passed to Quinn for the easy goal to give San Diego a 6-2 halftime lead.
"That's nice," Zungul said of the five playoff records he set. "I just played my soccer. It's the only kind I know."
The Baltimore defensive strategy had little time to get untracked in the second half as San Diego scored twice in the first 24 seconds. Kevin Crow beat Manning seven seconds into the half, then Willrich scored on a feed by Zungul.