Drama Lacking in Dallas as Sockers Rout Sidekicks

Maybe it’s the green-and-silver uniforms. Perhaps it’s Reunion Arena, or the challenge of playing a first-place team.

Whatever the reason, the Dallas Sidekicks bring out the best in the Sockers.

Friday night before 10,066, the Sockers continued their mastery of Dallas with a convincing 7-1 MISL victory. After getting two goals each from Branko Segota, Zoran Karic and Alan Willey, the Sockers have a 14-3 overall record against the Sidekicks, including 7-2 in Dallas.

“I don’t really know what it is exactly,” Sockers Coach Ron Newman said. “We love the city, the people, the arena’s turf . . . everything. And tonight we played a little harder for Keith (assistant Keith Weller, a former Sidekick assistant).”


What Weller witnessed was the Sockers’ most impressive performance this season. While improving to 10-9, they beat Dallas to every loose ball and got sparkling games from Segota and goalie Victor Nogueira.

“Easily our best game of the season,” Newman said. “Tonight we looked as capable of winning a championship as any team I’ve had.”

The Sockers, who played without resting forward Steve Zungul, play Wichita at 7:25 tonight in San Diego.

Nogueira, the league’s leading goalkeeper with a 2.49 goals-against average, made 18 saves Friday, including several on point-blank shots in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Segota ripped through the Dallas defense for two goals and an assist.

“I guess we could expect this on Friday the 13th,” Dallas goalie Joe Papaleo said.

The Sockers shut down Dallas’ league-leading offense with their league-leading defense for the second time this season. Dallas (12-7) has scored 90 goals but just two in two losses to the Sockers. The loss was Dallas’ worst at home in 3 years.

“You can’t really say why we play so well against Dallas,” said Segota, has led the Sockers to victories in 7 of the past 9 games and over the .500 mark for the first time since he returned from a hamstring injury. “Why do we play so poorly against Los Angeles? I guess it’s just the way one club fits another. Now I think Dallas is a bit afraid of us.”

And well they should be.

After a scoreless first quarter, San Diego struck first when Karic moved past defender Wes McLeod and nailed a left-footer from 35 feet. The ball caromed off the boards, off Papaleo’s back and finally into the goal at the 8:47 mark.

Dallas got even 2:21 later on Richard Chinapoo’s tap-in goal.

The Sockers got a late power-play goal from Willey to take a 2-1 halftime lead. Willey slipped a right-footer between Papaleo and the right post with 54 seconds remaining in the second quarter after taking the rebound of Karic’s miss.

The second half was no contest. Segota’s running, left-footed volley raised the Sockers’ lead to 3-1 4:40 into the third. Willey then re-directed Ralph Black’s shot for a 4-1 lead, and Segota lulled Dallas to sleep before sneaking in a left-footer from 25 feet for a 4-goal lead with 47 seconds remaining in the third.

Karic and Rene Ortiz added easy goals against Dallas’ futile sixth-attacker offense in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve got to continue this level of play,” Newman said. “If we come out and lose to Wichita we’ve gotten ourselves nowhere.”