Hirmez Boosts Sockers : MSL: Midfielder gets two goals, game-winning assist in 6-4 victory over Baltimore.


Waad Hirmez was talking what he saw Saturday afternoon on televison.

"I turn on CNN now," Hirmez said. "And I see all joy and happiness. People are cheering because the troops are coming back home."

At the Sports Arena on Saturday night, a crowd of 7,494 cheered Hirmez, who scored two second-half goals and had the game-winning assist in the Sockers' 6-4 victory over the Baltimore Blast.

For Hirmez, a native of Baghdad, Iraq, the joy and happiness of the troops' return probably spelled relief.

Before the Gulf War began, the midfielder had compiled 26 goals in as many games. Since then, however, he slowed to 11 goals in 16 games.

That was before Saturday's game. Not exactly a slump, but enough to make Coach Ron Newman sit up and take notice.

In Thursday's game, a 3-2 victory over the Tacoma Stars, the coach rested Hirmez most of the third quarter in an effort to jar the player out of his doldrums.

"(The end of the war) is a weight off my shoulders," said Hirmez, who emigrated to the United States in 1978 but still has cousins in Baghdad. "It's agood feeling to know it's almost over with. But I still haven't heard anything from my relatives, and I'm concerned for them."

Hirmez denied that Newman's ploy helped him snap out of his slump.

He tied the game at 3 with 14 seconds to go in the third quarter when he wrapped a free kick around a clutter of Baltimore players in front of the net and inside the left post.

Six minutes later, he took a pass from Branko Segota just inside the red line and near the boards and left-footed a rocket into the upper-right corner of the net.

"Branko played a beautiful ball," Hirmez said. "I just caught it on one bounce."

But the Blast would not quit. With barely over two minutes remaining, Dominic Mobilio scored a sixth-attacker goal to re-tie the game.

Hirmez, however, had something to say about that when, with 36 seconds to go, he took a pass from Ben Collins in the corner and sent a perfect cross through the goal mouth. Rod Castro was standing there waiting for it and tapped it in to put the Sockers back on top.

Wes Wade finished the scoring with 24 seconds remaining when he kicked a ball out of the hands of sixth-attacker goalie Billy Ronson and into the net.

"Wes Wade is their worst nightmare," Socker defender Kevin Crow said of Wade, who never stopped putting pressure on the Blast's sixth-attacker.

The first half ended with the Sockers holding a 2-1 advantage.

After Ronson opened the scoring early in the first period by working a give-and-go with Dale Mitchell, the Sockers tightened up in back and scored two goals of their own.

Paul Wright evened the score after taking an outlet from goalie Victor Nogueira along the left boards, dribbling by Richard Chinapoo and firing a shot past Henry from just inside the red line.

That came late in the first quarter. The Sockers did not go ahead until late in the second quarter. Glenn Carbonara, a former Blast, found an open net after collecting the rebound of a shot by Rod Castro.

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