The Sockers’ offense, or at least a very big part of it, will be taking a 10-day leave of absence.
Branko Segota strained his right hamstring in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game against Wichita in front of 11,410 at the Sports Arena. Then things got very strange.
The final score: Wichita 5, Sockers 4. It wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
First, there’s Segota, who has been hot lately. He has six goals and seven assists in the past three games. His services were sorely missed and will be when the Sockers leave this morning for a two-game trip to Dallas and Baltimore.
“That hurts,” Newman said. “If we’d have had Branko there (the game) would have been different.
The Sockers (21-18) were trailing, 2-1, early in the fourth quarter but finally took a 4-2 lead on goals by Alan Willey, Kevin Crow and Paul Wright.
Until then, Socker Coach Ron Newman liked what he saw. He said after the game his team had played one of its best games of the year. But the Sockers slumbered through the final six minutes. First, Daryl Green scored. Then Chico Borja scored. After that, Borja scored again. All within 1:38. Borja’s second goal ended the scoring with 4:21 left to play.
“It was a crazy game,” Newman said. “Terrible defensive work on our part. We’re not working as a unit.”
Ask Crow--he’ll say the Sockers were too tired in the fourth quarter to work together and effectively stop the Wings’ assault.
“I just don’t think we’re as physically fit as other teams,” Crow said. “When we play a high-pressure game, we can’t last for four quarters. I bet we’ve lost 13 (of 18 losses) in the last three or four minutes of the game or in overtime.”
The return of Brian Quinn, who has been sidelined with a strained arch, helped. But Quinn, whose wife, Sharon, gave birth to a girl Tuesday, was only able to play in spurts after being out since Feb. 3.
So now the Sockers take to the road five games behind first-place Baltimore and wondering what’s ahead.
“If we had won that game, the road trip would have been that much easier,” Quinn said.
The score at halftime was 0-0. The Sockers haven’t been held scoreless in the first half for 12 games. Last time the Sockers played Wichita (17-22) at the Sports Arena, they won, 10-6.
Players from both teams did their share of running in the first half, but scoring opportunities were scarce. Credit each team with one legitimate almost. Wichita’s came midway through the second quarter when midfielder Mike Fox launched a shot from beyond the penalty arch that required Socker goalie Victor Nogueira to dive to his left and knock the ball away with one hand.
Socker defender Ralf Wilhelms nearly scored on a bicycle kick four minutes later, but goalie Cris Vaccaro knocked it down, and an attempt by Crow to head it in was unsuccessful.