The Dallas Sidekicks are sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Division in the Major Indoor Soccer League. But that doesn't prevent them from giving the shirt off their back.
At least one of the Sidekicks, a Brazilian named Tatu, peels off his jersey every time he scores a goal. Friday night Tatu bared his chest twice as Dallas beat the Lazers, 6-4, before 4,235 mostly young fans at the Forum.
With his four points--two came on assists--Tatu becomes the league's scoring leader with 34 points.
"I told the team before the game that if we control Tatu we will win the game," Lazer Coach Peter Wall said. "Obviously, we didn't and we didn't win. He's a rare talent."
The Dallas win wasn't only due to Tatu's heroics. The Lazers (4-9) had plenty of chances to score, but blew most of them.
Dallas (8-8) scored first with 4:02 gone in the first quarter. That goal came from Tatu, with an assist from Pedro DeBrito. Dallas scored again, at 5:36. Louie Nanchoff took a pass from Tatu to make it 2-0, Dallas.
Neither team could threaten until the Lazers maintained prolonged offensive pressure that culminated in a goal by Willie Molano at 10:48.
The Lazers scored again at 12:54. With Gus Mokalis of the Lazers and Mark Evans of the Sidekicks both in the penalty box, Greg Ion scored from the right side for the Lazers. Batata had the assist.
Dallas got hot in the second quarter, scoring two goals while Los Angeles could not sustain anything offensively and seemed to forget about playing defense.
The Sidekicks had 18 shots on goal in the first half while the Lazers had only 11; only two in the second quarter. For the game, Dallas outshot the Lazers, 31-23.
At 12:25, Dallas' Nanchoff scored off a pass from Mike Uremovich. Dallas scored again 21 seconds later, amid confusion around the Lazer net.
Tatu passed from the right side to Pedro DeBrito in front of the goal. DeBrito didn't have a clear shot but took one anyway. The ball bounced on the wall behind Lazer goalie Tim Harris and rebounded into the net.
The Lazers looked like a different, more enervated team in the second half. Juan Cardenas scored only 17 seconds into the half to close the gap to 4-3.
But the Sidekicks came right back. With DeBrito in the penalty box for Dallas, the Lazers had two minutes for a power play. Despite that five-to-four advantage, the Lazers managed only one shot on goal.
To further embarrass the hapless Lazers, DeBrito came out of the penalty box to score at 11:13. Uremovich had the assist and the goal made it 5-3.
Molano's goal at 11:42, with an assist by Lee Cornwall, made it 5-4 to end scoring in the third quarter.
Tatu lost his shirt again in the fourth quarter, as he scored at 2:08 to make it 6-4. Nanchoff had the assist.