CHULA VISTA — John Gerrard, the hard-charging Englishman, introduced himself rather rudely Saturday night to new L.A. Heat forward Brad Smith.
Cut by the Heat three weeks ago, Gerrard, from Torrance, started at fullback for the San Diego Nomads against his old teammates in the American Professional Soccer League West game. Smith, who recently returned from Germany, replaced Gerrard in the Heat front line. And it was Smith who drew Gerrard heads up.
By the time the game ended, with the Heat (3-2) winning, 2-0, in overtime, both player's heads were smarting.
Gerrard took Smith's legs out from under him at least half a dozen times, including one violent episode near midfield with 20 seconds gone in the second period. Gerrard came up from behind Smith, wrapped his hands around his neck, then punched him under the eye. No yellow card was thrown, however.
Eighteen minutes later, shortly after Smith went to the turf again--this time in a collision with Kenny Boardman--Smith was taken out of the game by Heat Coach Bobby Sibbald.