SAN DIEGO — Sockers Coach Ron Newman has incited anger among opponents in the past, but after San Diego's 7-4 win against the Lazers Tuesday night at the San Diego Sports Arena, Lazer Coach Peter Wall promised a "blood bath" when the Sockers come to Los Angeles March 2.
With three seconds to play and San Diego leading 7-4, Newman called timeout and brought in Fernando Clavijo as his sixth attacker.
After the timeout, Socker midfielder Ade Coker claims he was kicked by Lazer defender Greg Willin and that Wall told Willin to kick him. When Wall was asked whether he told Willin to kick Coker because of Newman's late-game tactic, Wall said: "I have nothing to say on the matter."
A fight broke out among players as they ran through the tunnel toward the locker room, and cups were thrown by fans at the Lazer players.
"They have to come to LA and it will be a blood bath," Wall said. "This kind of thing leads to other things. It could have been an ugly scene.
"He (Newman) likes to mimic people when they are down. One day he won't be on top. It wasn't necessary. That's the bad thing. He'll get his day. I'll tell you that now."
Newman called timeouts in the final minute of one-sided victories in games against Wichita and St. Louis earlier this season. He also did it against Kansas City in the playoffs last year.
"I'm not bothered with it anymore," Newman said. "When it's the last game of the season, I won't practice it anymore.
"I won't apologize anymore. I don't incite it (fight). They should try to defend against it."
After Newman called the timeout, there was a scuffle between players from both teams near the San Diego bench.
"He told me 'I don't have to give you reasons for doing it,"' Wall said.
When Wall passed out of the tunnel, after his players had headed to the locker room, Coker told Wall: "I know what you told him (Willin) to do. It was a cheap shot."
In the locker room, Coker said: "I heard someone say kick Coker and it wasn't one of our players. Willin was told to kick me. It should clearly show that on the tape. I ran after him when one of their players ran behind me and whacked me."
Newman's maneuver does not appear to be popular with players on either side.
"I know lots of players don't agree with it," said Sockers midfielder Brian Quinn. "I think we shouldn't use it when the score is out of hand. It incites anger and frustration. I can understand the way the Lazers feel. I would feel the same way."
Said Lazer midfielder Greg Ion: "It's one thing if the game is tied or it's a one-goal game. When it's a three-goal difference and there are three seconds left, it shows no respect for the other team."
It wasn't a night for predictable results.
Hustlers turned into finishers in the pivotal third quarter of the game.
There was Socker defender Kevin Crow posting up an opponent in the penalty area, wheeling and scoring on a left-footer to give San Diego a 6-3 lead.
What? Crow is paid to block shots, not score them.
Before the shock of Crow's seventh goal of the season had worn off, he notched No. 8. As the wing on a three-on-two break, Crow took a pass from Jacques Ladouceur and angled a left-footer into the far corner of the goal to make it 7-3.
Midway through the third quarter, before Crow's outburst, defender Waad Hirmez scored only his second goal of the season on a left-footer from inside the penalty box.
That power-play goal extended the Sockers' lead to 5-3 and gave the hustlers added confidence.
It wasn't just happenstance that passers became shooters for the Sockers Tuesday night.
San Diego played without two key offensive players. Midfielder Branko Segota, forced to sit out one game because he went over the 20-minute mark in penalty minutes in his last game, is second in the league in scoring with 35 goals and 27 assists.
Juli Veee, out with a bruised right ankle, has 16 goals and 17 assists. With defender Brian Schmetzer out with a sprained left knee, players like Hirmez got more playing time.
And don't forget, the team is still adjusting to the loss of Steve Zungul, who was sold to the Tacoma Stars last week.
Without Zungul, Segota and Veee, passers suddenly become shooters.
However, compared to the Lazers, the Sockers appeared to be at full strength.
Six Lazer regulars missed the game with injuries, including All-Star defender Gus Mokalis (bruised left ankle) and leading scorer Willie Molano (bruised left big toe).
Hugo Perez scored two goals, and Jean Willrich and Ladouceur added one apiece for San Diego. Lazer goals were scored by Juan Cardenas, Nathan Sacks, Oscar Albuquerque and Poli Garcia.
However, goals were definitely not the story on a wild Tuesday night at the Sports Arena.