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St. Louis Nearly Sneaks In : Ebert’s Hat Trick Keeps the Steamers in Striking Range

The Sockers, four-time indoor soccer league champions, were almost beaten Thursday night by a very sneaky Ebert.

Don Ebert, the St. Louis Steamers’ all-time leading scorer, was in the right place at the right time for three goals in the Steamers’ surprisingly close 7-6 loss to the Sockers in the San Diego Sports Arena.

Pretty sneaky, that Ebert.

His first goal came on a back-kick, a shot that beat Sockers’ goalie Jim Gorsek. Gorsek never even saw him. He snuck in from the backside and took away the ball from Gorsek in front. By the time the Sockers’ goalie realized what had happened, Ebert had cut his team’s deficit to 2-1.

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“He’s definitely a sneaky player,” Sockers defenseman Fernando Clavijo said. “You always have to keep an eye on him.

“Some players seem to have an eye for the ball and he is one of those players. We’re not the only team he is effective against.”

After the Sockers scored to make it 3-1, Ebert struck again seven minutes later. Again, he let his teammates do most of the work. This time Rick Davis dribbled through traffic and fed a perfect pass to Ebert. All the sneaky one had to was get a foot on it: Sockers 3, St. Louis 2.

Ebert finished his hat trick early in the third quarter, and this goal was the most surprising. His blistering 20-foot shot gave St. Louis something not many thought they would ever have--the lead, 5-4, with 13 minutes left.

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“We played very well,” Ebert said. “I was just at the end of a few finishers. it’s tough to lose now, but when we wake up in the morning, I think we’ll be more confident.”

Ebert’s outburst Thursday was nothing new. He has owned the Sockers all season long.

Still, when Tacoma beat Los Angeles on the second-to-last day of the season to clinch third place in the Major Indoor Soccer league’s Western Division, most of the Sockers were happy they’d be facing St. Louis in the first round.

They were happy to have avoided the playoff series against one of the league’s best, Steve Zungul of Tacoma. Instead, they got a playoff series against one of the league’s sneakiest.

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Ebert has now scored 10 goals against San Diego this season. Only Erik Rasmussen of Wichita (with 12) has scored more.

“Ebes” as he is called in St. Louis, has all-time team record totals of 224 goals and 115 assists. He also has been outstanding in the playoffs, scoring 29 goals in 32 games.

And he does most of it without much fanfare. Just ask Sockers Coach Ron Newman about his performance Thursday night.

“Did he really score three goals?” the coach asked.

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