This third edition of the Washington Diplomats may have something here. The question is whether people will care.
Last night, the American Soccer League team lost, 1-0, to the national team of Trinidad and Tobago in the second game of an ASL exhibition doubleheader at RFK Stadium. It was the second time this summer the Diplomats, who outshot Trinidad and Tobago by 21-14, had shown well against a foreign national team. However, just 2,313 watched.
In the first game, Elvis Comrie scored two goals, Johnny Abe had two assists and the Maryland Bays, which broke a 1-1 second-half tie with three goals in a span of 8:43, defeated Fort Lauderdale F.C., 4-1.
The game made the appearances of former World Cup and North American Soccer League stars Johann Neeskens and Teofilo Cubillas and former old Washington Diplomats player Thomas Rongen bittersweet at best. All said they were pleased to have made the trip, but none could have been pleased with the outcome.
In their first 2 1/2 games -- losses to the Canadian Pan American Games team and the ASL's F.C. Washington, plus the first half of last night's contest -- the Bays had totaled one goal. Last night, they simply outran Fort Lauderdale, a team mainly made up of aging former NASL players, scoring four times in the game's final 43 minutes. Neither Cubillas, 38, nor Neeskens, 35, finished the game.
The Diplomats, who played the Honduran national team to a 1-1 tie earlier this summer, held advantages both in number and quality of shots. Diplomats goalkeeper Steve Pfeil made six saves; Trinidad and Tobago's Christian St. Louis had to make eight.
Of course, all that mattered was that Trinidad and Tobago, which came here following a Pan Am Games in which it lost its three preliminary-round games by a combined score of 10-1, got a goal from forward Leonson Lewis in the 37th minute. Not that the Diplomats couldn't have matched it, and more.
Trinidad and Tobago defender Clayton Morris cleared the goal line in the 29th minute after St. Louis couldn't control a rebound. And the Diplomats failed to convert on three-on-one situations in the 34th minute and the 81st minute.