A former Soviet soccer star spending his first year in the United States helped the Orlando Lions stun the Washington Diplomats, 1-0, yesterday at RFK Stadium.

Alexander Golovnya, 30, who spent 1980-87 with Moscow Dynamo, scored at 74:17, giving the Lions their first victory in eight games this season. Washington, in the debut of Coach Stojan Nikolic, fell to 4-3.

Golovnya scored off a 50-yard pass from teammate Lou Karbiener. The streaking midfielder broke into the wide-open Diplomats zone to challenge goalkeeper Mark Wayland alone on the right side. Golovnya directed a clean, straight-on shot into the left side of the net.

"If we can't score a goal at home, then the one mental mistake will cost you," Nikolic said. "They just needed that one goal."

The oft-anemic Washington attack could muster little. The Diplomats, who looked sluggish and one step behind the Lions all day, were outshot by 18-10.

"Today we were a bit slow," Nikolic said. "Our midfield was not creating chances. Whatever we discussed in practice all week, we just didn't do on the field."

In the second game, Vasco da Gama, the champion club team from Brazil, scored twice within three minutes early in the second half and beat the Central American All-Stars, 5-0.

Vasco da Gama got the early lead when Santos one-timed a rebound from 10 yards past Belarmino Rivera. Santos got his second score a minute into the second half, traversing the crease and putting the ball past Rivera's left.

Diplomats Notes: The ASL announced the Boston Bolts will host the league championship game Sept. 22 at Nickerson Field. . . . The league also added a team for next season, to be based in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., area.