Winning and complaining have long been traditions of the San Diego Sockers. The winning has escaped the team recently, but the complaining has not.
Steve Zungul was doing the moaning Thursday night. He was upset at teammates for his scoreless night as the Sockers lost to Baltimore, 6-3, while remaining tied for first place with the Los Angeles Lazers.
"It's easy for the defense to do the job on me when I don't have the ball," Zungul said. "I was going left and right to set other guys up. I didn't see anybody fixing me up. I had two chances, and I made them both for myself."
Baltimore goalie Scott Manning stopped Zungul's first chance with a diving save early in the first period. Manning made a last-second save on Zungul in the fourth period that Baltimore Coach Kenny Cooper called "the best save I have ever seen indoors."
Zungul, a five-time indoor most valuable player, is not having one of his more memorable seasons. He has been shut out three times in one season for the first time ever.
But while Zungul is pointing the finger at others, Coach Ron Newman thinks Zungul should look at himself.
"It's the same old thing," Newman said. "He says he's open. The reason they can't find him is because he's not open."
Despite three scoreless games this year, Zungul has scored in 132 of his last 136 indoor games.
"They're not using me," he said. "I don't know why. I'm not the coach of this team."
Cooper said his team kept the ball from Zungul by cutting off the passing lanes. In contrast, most teams simply have a man mark Zungul throughout the game.
Defender Bruce Savage was cited by Cooper for his outstanding play.
"They didn't get the ball to Stevie Zungul too much," Savage said. "We played a diamond (defense) and wouldn't let them get the ball to him."
Baltimore, the Eastern Division leader, came into the night with nine wins in 10 games. But it had not won in five previous San Diego appearances, including three games in the 1982-83 Major Indoor Soccer League championship series that the Sockers won in five games.
The Sockers have lost two straight and three of their last four at home. They had not lost two straight at home since Nov. 19, 1982. Things were so bad Thursday night that many of the 9,064 fans booed after the third period when Baltimore led, 6-2.
When the teams first played this season, Baltimore won at home, 6-5, on Dec. 29.