The Sockers' troubles may have hit a new low. They have become slump-breakers for a team they once routinely defeated.
The Dallas Sidekicks beat the Sockers, 4-2, Sunday for their first victory over the defending Major Indoor Soccer League champions in 10 attempts.
"We're struggling and people know it," Socker Coach Ron Newman said.
"We're playing the youngest team in the league, with 19-year olds, so everyone's getting their revenge on us."
The Sockers' injury-depleted offense allowed Sidekick Coach Gordon Jago to rest all-star goaltender Krys Sobieki in favor of rarely used backup Mark White. White allowed just two goals, both on mistakes by Sidekick defenders, and needed to make just four saves to get the victory.
San Diego played without Brian Quinn (sprained knee), Hugo Perez (sprained knee), Juli Vee (sprained knee), Branko Segota (strained thigh) and George Katakalidis (sprained toe).
"We have so many new guys, it's going to take a while to adjust to a new style of play," Cha Cha Namdar said. 'Any time any team plays the champions, they're hoping to beat them and play a little better than they normally do. If they play 100% most of the time, they'll play 120% against us."
The Sidekick offense, which had been limited to the league's leading scorer, Tatu, in recent weeks, rebounded against the Sockers with Willie Molano scoring the game-winner with 3:41 left and setting up a Tatu goal in the third period.
"Our scores probably should have been stopped," Newman said, "but we also let Dallas score a few no-go goals. (Socker goaltender) Zoltan (Toth) had that one (by Molano) covered and it went in."
Molano scored after taking a long cross-field pass on the dead run from Kevin Smith and putting a low hard shot through Toth's hands.
The Sockers had a chance to tie the score with 1:03 left, but Dallas defender Victor Moreland blocked a shot by Fernando Clavijo in front of the Sidekick net. After Clavijo narrowly ran down a White throw in front of San Diego's empty net, Tatu pased to Mark Karpun for the empty-net goal with 37 seconds left.
Molano passed to Tatu for the Sidekicks' second goal as Tatu scored his 58th goal of the year and extended his scoring streak to seven games. His pass to Karpun set a team record for assists, 33.
After falling behind, 1-0, in the first half, the Sockers tied the score in the third period, taking advantage of a Doc Lawson mistake with 5:51 left in the period. Namdar, a former Texas Tech player who had a large group of fans and relatives at the game, scored on a rebound after Lawson tried to pass back to White but instead forced his goaltender to make a leaping save.
Tim Bartro tied the score, 2-2, for San Diego, deflecting a pass from Paul Dougherty about eight feet in front of the net.
Wes McLeod scored the game's first goal from the left wing when Socker defender Brian Schmetzer took the ball from Tatu in front of the goal and cleared toward McLeod in the left corner. McLeod shot through the Socker defense to the far post for his second goal since Dec. 27.
The Sockers had just eight shots on goal in the half, although Waad Hirmez narrowly missed tying the score with 3:44 left in the half when his 35-foot shot hit the crossbar.