YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

With a Little Bit of Luck, Sockers Score Quickly to Beat Wichita, 8-3

March 16, 1985|STEVE DOLAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — In Jean Willrich's native home land of West Germany, it doesn't matter who gets the goal or assist in a soccer game.

What counts is whether the team gets the goal. And if a certain player causes the team to fail, he certainly hears about it.

"Every game in Europe, you play for bonuses," Willrich said. "You might get $1,000 for a win or $500 for a tie. If you get selfish in a game and don't pass to an open player, your teammates get mad at you. I've learned not to be a selfish player."

Willrich became an American citizen last year, but he still knows the European way of soccer. He had four assists Friday night as the Sockers beat the Wichita Wings, 8-3, before 9,385 fans at the Sports Arena.

In about the time it takes to spell Wichita, the Sockers put the game away in the first period. They scored two goals in nine seconds and three goals in 38 seconds, both team records.

Steve Zungul scored the first goal off a Willrich assist at 9:21. Hugo Perez scored off a give-and-go pass from Willrich at 9:50, then Perez scored again nine seconds later after a Branko Segota steal.

"You don't expect to score two goals in nine seconds," Perez said. "I think it's a little bit of luck. Everybody can score on this team, even the defenders. It's a matter of giving the ball to the right guy."

There were other "right guys" besides Willrich and Perez against Wichita. Zungul scored three goals and Segota had two goals and two assists.

Coach Ron Newman was pleased his team put Wichita away early. The Sockers have had a habit of waiting until late in the game before making their move.

"I think we have been a little nervous about letting down," Newman said. "We came out like this was a championship game, which is good. I'm always worried we will relax too much. We relaxed later in the game, which is the right way to do it."

Actually, the game could have been a bigger blowout than it was.

Newman thought he helped keep the score down by playing Ade Coker and Kaz Deyna, who were coming off injuries. Coker had not played in 21 games because of an infection from an appendectomy and Deyna had missed eight of nine games with a sprained right knee.

They saw most of their playing time in the second and fourth periods.

"By trying to infiltrate Kazzie and Ade, it upset our rhythm just a little bit," Newman said. "We played the third period like we played the first."

The Sockers had led after the first period, 4-0, with Segota scoring the final goal at 12:13 off Willrich's third assist. At halftime, their lead was 4-1.

Just 6:07 into the third period, San Diego had extended its lead to 7-1.

Zungul scored at 1:13 of the period while being pulled down in front of the goal by Wichita's Gregg Willin. Defender Kevin Crow scored at 5:15 off the rebound of Deyna's shot, and Segota connected from in front off Brian Quinn's assist 52 seconds later.

Crow also made the defensive play of the game with 5:30 remaining. He blocked a Wichita shot at the last second while goalie Zoltan Toth was out of position.

Toth had received another break two minutes earlier when Karsten Christensen missed an open net from 10 feet out.

But overall, Toth played one of his better games. He made 17 saves, compared to five by Wichita's Mike Dowler.

"Toth performed about as well tonight as I have seen a goalkeeper perform," Wichita Coach Roy Turner said. "If you are looking for a key to the game, he was it."

Toth said he had added motivation for the game. The last time Wichita played in San Diego, he was pulled at halftime after allowing three goals.

The Sockers, 29-9, have yet to lose to Wichita in 10 career games. Wichita fell to 18-18.

Los Angeles Times Articles