KANSAS CITY — A fairness doctrine would dictate that Socker forward Steve Zungul should be sold to the Tacoma Stars or the Pittsburgh Spirit.
It's just a rumor that Zungul will leave the Sockers, and rumors fly throughout the Major Indoor Soccer League as quickly as the Sockers score goals. However, there are folks in the MISL who are making serious offers to Zungul and hope this rumor turns into reality. And soon.
After San Diego's 11th straight victory, a 13-3 rout against an injury-riddled Kansas City team Tuesday night at Kemper Arena, cries of "Split up the Sockers" are being heard from Kansas City to Tacoma.
"It's not good to have a top team that's beating clubs by so much," said former Socker goalkeeper Alan Mayer, the Kansas City goalie who missed Tuesday's game with ligament damage to his right index finger.
"Why even bother playing the season and playoffs? We know who the champion will be."
At the midway point of the MISL season, the Sockers--winners of four straight indoor titles--lead the league in wins (18), most goals scored (147) and fewest goals allowed (90).
Coupled with Wichita's 7-3 loss to Chicago Tuesday night, San Diego has a five-game lead in the Western Division. The Sockers also lead the league in having the most talent on the field and on the bench.
"They could send off half a dozen of their players," said former Socker forward Laurie Abrahams, "and they could still field an all-star lineup."
It was almost a game of "Can you top this?"' when it came to praising the Sockers.
"They have more talent than any other two teams put together," Mayer said.
Not only are the Sockers winning, but they are beating teams by touchdowns.
"Just hand us the trophy," Socker midfielder Juli Veee said. "Then we could spread our players around. Steve (Zungul) could play here with Kansas City one night, and then I'll play with them another night. It will help balance the league."
Sockers Coach Ron Newman called Tuesday night's game "embarrassing at times. What can you say? I feel so bad for Kansas City, but we don't want people in San Diego to turn off their TV sets because we stop playing."
Led by Zungul, who had three goals and two assists, the Sockers led 2-0 after one quarter, 5-0 at half and 7-1 after three quarters. They added six goals in the final 15 minutes.
"When was it over?" said Abrahams. "After the first two minutes, or was it four?"
Eight San Diego players scored Tuesday night and 11 players had at least one point.
Cha Cha Namdar, George Katakalidis and Branko Segota had two goals apiece, and Brian Quinn, Hugo Perez, Jacques Ladouceur and Veee had one goal each against Enzo DiPede, the Comets' third-string goalkeeper.
By early in the second quarter, Zungul had two goals and an assist and already had shown the Comet crowd of 9,708 why Tacoma President John Best says Zungul "is absolutely the one player in the league who has the qualities necessary to help us rebuild our club."
Tacoma (11-16) is averaging only 6,992 fans at the 20,284-seat Tacoma Dome, and is next to last in the league in goals scored with 96.
"We're very optimistic," Best said Tuesday night. "We're enthusiastically courting Steve. We're discussing money and feel we are getting closer."
On Tuesday, Best replaced Coach Bob McNab with former Seattle Coach Alan Hinton. Best said his next move is to obtain Zungul.
Socker owner Bob Bell says Best is "being overly optimistic. The price tag Tacoma is offering for Steve is much higher than Pittsburgh. Therefore, he definitely won't go to Pittsburgh. However, I'd be surprised if anything happens. I don't want to get rid of Steve, and I don't think Steve wants to go."
Zungul has mixed emotions. It's certainly easier for the league's leading scorer (27 goals and 32 assists for 59 points) to blast right-footers than decide whether to agree to go elsewhere. Zungul has a trade approval clause in his contract.
"If Pittsburgh and Tacoma make the same offer," said Zungul, "then I will go to Pittsburgh. With respect to Mr. Hinton in Tacoma, it will be better for me to play for my former coach, Don Popovic.
"But if Tacoma is willing to give me a better offer, I might go there. It's not that I want to go, but business-wise, it's good for me and the club."
And maybe for the MISL.