Once the white lights finally came on at the Sports Arena Friday night, the Wichita Wings quickly began seeing red.
After a 15-minute delay at the start of the game because the overhead lights malfunctioned, the Sockers wasted no time turning on the red light behind the Wichita goal.
And turning it on, and on, and on...
When the Sockers' soccer clinic was completed, San Diego and goalkeeper Zoltan Toth had registered a 9-0 victory in front of 9,561 fans.
It was the first regular-season shutout recorded by the Sockers and Toth's second career shutout. He was in goal when the New York Arrows defeated Memphis, 5-0, Jan. 12, 1983.
Friday night, the Sockers led 4-0 after one quarter, 7-0 at halftime and 8-0 after three quarters.
"We had brilliant finishing, a great goalkeeper, good defense, and a little Lady Luck," said Sockers Coach Ron Newman. "What more do you want?"
San Diego won its fourth straight to overtake the Wings and gain a half-game lead in the Western Division of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
"Sometimes it's tough to get motivated," Sockers midfielder Jean Willrich said. "Tonight, we were playing for first place and that's a different story. When everyone plays the way they should play, we are awful tough to beat."
Steve Zungul and Juli Veee scored two goals each. Brian Quinn, Jacques Ladouceur, Branko Segota, Fernando Clavijo and Gary Collier added one apiece. Willrich had three assists.
Zungul, Segota and Dallas forward Tatu are tied for the MISL scoring lead with 36 points.
Toth, who dislocated his right thumb and middle left finger in a practice this week, was on top of his game. He made 24 saves on 34 shots, and was magnificent while stopping a flurry of Wings shots midway through the third quarter.
"The fans were so involved," said Toth, who was clutching the game ball in the locker room. "I loved hearing them yell my name. I had the feeling that Wichita couldn't get a goal."
Meanwhile, Toth's counterpart was shell-shocked. Jan Olesens entered the game with the top goals against average in the league (3.48), and left the game early after allowing six goals in a quarter and a half.
The Sockers exploded for three goals within a two-minute, seven-second stretch midway through the first quarter. San Diego was dazzling and the Wichita defenders and Olesen were bedazzled.
A most likely duo was responsible for San Diego's first goal. Zungul took a centering pass from Segota in the penalty area and lofted the ball over Olesen.
The second Socker goal was a gift from Wing defender Kim Roentved, who knocked a pass from Quinn past his own goalkeeper. Quinn was credited with the goal.
Twenty five seconds later, Ladouceur tapped in a right-footer as he raced down the right sideline. Willrich gained an assist on a precise pass that slid through the crease.
The Sockers weren't through in the first quarter. At 10:18, Veee received a pass on the right wing, turned, and in one motion, kicked a hard bouncer into the left corner of the net. The score was set up by a length of the field pass from Willrich.
And the beat went on. The teams switched sides between quarters, but the result was the same.
Segota's rocket whizzed into the left corner of the goal as he raced across the penalty area to his right.
Veee scored in traffic inside the penalty area to make it 6-0 and end the evening for Olesen.
Olesen made three saves on 13 shots. San Diego scored on six of 13 shots.
Goalkeeper Seamus McDonagh had a brief respite before Zungul made it 7-0 when the Sockers had a two-man advantage late in the half.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first half ended. That is, with San Diego scoring. Just over a minute into the third quarter, the Sockers' "No Goal Patrol" scored. It was that kind of night.
With San Diego playing shorthanded, Quinn and Clavijo combined on a two-on-one break to make it 8-0. Clavijo tapped a right-footer into the net for his third goal of the season.
From that point on, keeping their red light off was the Sockers' primary objective.