Tatu Wins Shootout in Dallas : Soccer: His penalty goal sparks Sidekicks to 10-6 victory and denies the Sockers a sweep in the MSL finals.


In a city that finds itself the center of one of the most widely circulated conspiracy theories, Sockers Coach Ron Newman on Friday espoused another one.

This one, though, has nothing to do with JFK. This one has to do with the San Diego Sockers and how all the calls, in Newman's view, seem to go against them.

It's an effort by everyone else in the Major Soccer League to try to dethrone the Sockers, who are going for their 10th championship in 11 seasons, Newman insists.

This time the Dallas Sidekicks were the beneficiaries of what Newman judged a questionable call. After the call, the Sidekicks exploded from a tie game with four goals in the final four minutes for a 10-6 victory in Game 4 of the MSL championship series in front of 8,655 at Reunion Arena.

The Sockers lead the series, 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled at 5:35 tonight (PDT) at Reunion Arena.

The Sidekicks were awarded a delayed shootout after forward Jan Goossens broke free from a hold by Socker defender Kevin Crow with 3:50 remaining. After losing Crow, Goossens went in on goalie Victor Nogueira, but shot the ball right at the goalie. The Sidekicks missed another shot before the Sockers gained control and referee Marty Templin called Crow for a two-minute holding penalty.

Because Goossens was on a breakaway, the Sidekicks were awarded a shootout. Tatu hit it to make it 7-6.

"That rule only works against the Sockers," Newman said. "They let the fellow have two shots on goal, then give him the shootout. It's a stupid rule. They never call it for us, and it's the third time they've called it against me."

Over in the other locker room, Sidekicks Coach Gordon Jago sounded like a cowboy, what with all his whooping and hollering. He was excited about the pace his team maintained despite being on the brink of defeat.

"We won this one in the first period because of the work rate we set and were able to play with throughout the game," Jago said.

This just in: Hey, Coach, it was tied with four minutes remaining. It was up for grabs at that point, and the first quarter was rendered null and void.

"I was a bit concerned at 6-6 because the momentum was swinging in their favor," Jago said, amending his earlier statement. "And I could see the worry in my players faces."

But it was erased by Tatu, who also lined up for a shootout in Game 2. Nogueira came off his line quickly that time, and Tatu was forced to shoot wide.

This time, though, the eight-year MSL veteran didn't miss. This time, Tatu hit the right side of the net.

"Not the back of the net, the right side of the net. You can't hit it better than that," Tatu said. "It was a pressure shot. . . . It's nice when it works. . . . I always do my shootout attempts the same--it's my best against Victor's best. But this time the difference was I put my head up (before shooting). I picked my head up, used patience and made sure the side of the net was open enough that I could do what I wanted to."

It was more than a pressure shot. The Sidekicks had led throughout, having finished the first half ahead, 3-0, then, after the Sockers scored two quick goals at the start of the third quarter, the Sidekicks rebuilt their three-goal lead, 5-2.

But the Sockers scored four of the next five goals to forge a 6-6 tie. Two of the goals came from John Kerr.

"Golly," Tatu said. "We worked so hard, and the next thing, after all that hard work, we look up and it's 6-6. That's it. Next goal wins.

"I realized (the score), and I knew there were three minutes (four, actually) to go. If I miss, it's a big lift to them. If I score I take the load off our back--and that's the key. . . .

"If I was a dumb idiot, I wouldn't feel the pressure. But unfortunately, I'm not a dumb idiot and I felt the pressure."

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