SAN DIEGO — Socker Coach Ron Newman ranted, raved and kicked things in the locker room after the game, and accused his team of quitting in the 7-4 loss to the Wichita Wings Wednesday night.
"I don't like a team that quits, and I think we quit," Newman said. "It was easily the worst game of the year. . . . That was a deplorable attempt at defense. . . . Players were staying on the field too long. . . . There were times we were showing casualness.
"If players can't play the way they're supposed to, we'll have to make changes again."
Playing in front of a season-low crowd of only 6,367 fans, San Diego blew a 3-0 second-quarter lead, allowing two goals in both the second and third quarters to trail 4-3 going into the final quarter.
After tying the game at 4-4 at 2:22 of the fourth quarter, the Sockers allowed three goals--including two empty-net goals--to lose their second game in their last three.
How do you explain this one? The Sockers have the best record in the league at 22-8 and are 11-3 at home. Wichita is 13-17, 2-14 on the road, and those wins came Sunday and Wednesday, but they have defeated the Sockers 3 out of 5 times this season.
"It was the same old . . . tonight," said Socker midfielder Branko Segota.
"When you win everyone thinks they can do things they can't do."
Defender Kevin Crow didn't think the team quit, but he said their performance was embarrassing.
"There are too many people not willing to do the hard work," Crow said.
Midfielder Juli Veee tried to take a positive outlook: "The good thing about it is you can't play any worse than this."
Defender Fernando Clavijo said the Sockers lacked concentration.
They also lacked a big crowd. Last Tuesday, they drew only 6,470 fans against the Lazers. That crowd and this one are the smallest at home since the Sockers drew only 6,084 fans against the Cleveland Force on March 9, 1983.
The players didn't blame the loss or their performance on the small crowd, but it certainly didn't go unnoticed.
"We're the only winning team in San Diego, and we don't get any support," Segota said.
On the field, the Sockers weren't supporting one another. They took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter but allowed two goals within a 1-minute 21-second span in the final four minutes of the first half.
"It should have been 3-0 at half," Newman said.
Instead the Wings had new life. They scored twice within a 1-minute 36-second span in the third quarter to take a 4-3 lead into the final quarter.
Waad Hirmez tied the game at 2:22, but Wing midfielder Pedro DeBrito's turnaround right footer from the top of the circle won it at 4:24.
With 4:46 to play, the Sockers inserted Clavijo as their sixth attacker and pulled goalkeeper Zoltan Toth, but the strategy proved beneficial to the Wings.
Wing forward Erik Rasmussen completed a hat trick with an empty net goal with 3:55 left. DeBrito scored his second goal into an empty net with 27 seconds remaining.
Branko Segota, Juli Veee, Fernando Clavijo and Waad Hirmez scored for the Sockers. Hirmez has scored at least one point in 16 consecutive games. Jean Willrich and Steve Zungul hold the team record of scoring in 28 consecutive games, set in the 1984-85 season.