SAN DIEGO — One would think that being an Iraqi, Waad Hirmez would keep a low profile these days.
But no. Against the Cleveland Crunch Friday night, Hirmez was front and center , scoring four goals to lead the Sockers to a 10-3 victory in front of 10,631 at the Sports Arena.
It was their third consecutive victory at home. And it was an easy one. Even injured Branko Segota wanted to be on the carpet.
"I could have had a hat trick tonight," he said after the game. "With one leg!"
Instead, it was Hirmez who pulled that off, adding another goal to his total midway through the final quarter.
"Waady watched a tape of Maradona (a soccer great from Argentina) today," said Coach Ron Newman. "So I knew he was going to play well."
He played well, all right. It was the first time in his Sockers career that Hirmez has scored four goals in one game. The fourth goal, which came after he got behind the Cleveland defense and took a pass from Paul Wright before firing past goalie Otto Orf, was his 200th career point with the Sockers.
Hirmez now has scored at least a point in 13 of the season's 15 games and in eight of the past nine.
But as Segota said, Cleveland made it easy for the Sockers to score. Crunch rookie defender Marco Rizi personally gift-wrapped two Sockers goals.
But at least Rizi was trying. Other Crunch players looked as though they had paid their way into the Arena and just wanted a good seat.
Newman said Cleveland appeared flat because the Sockers did such a good job attacking their defenders when they tried moving the ball upfield.
"We stopped them coming out of thir defensive third," Newman said. "And we're at our best when we play like that."
But the two late second-quarter goals, scored after Rizi's miscues, were what really made things easy. They were two big goals because, instead of going into halftime down by two, the Crunch went in trailing by four.
No wonder why Crunch players were looking for a good seat.
Both of Rizi's mishaps came along the end boards some 15 feet from the right post of the Cleveland goal.
With the Sockers ahead 2-0, Rizi beat Socker Jacques Ladouceur to a loose ball and tried passing it back to goalie Orf. Only the pass was errant, got past Orf and went through the goal crease where Jim Gabarra ran onto it and hit it into an empty net.
Rizi struck again three minutes later while trying to get to a pass from Socker goalie Victor Nogueira to Hirmez. The pass hit the end glass, went right by Rizi and to Hirmez, who had time to control it before lofting an easy shot between Orf and the near post.
Meanwhile, the Crunch offense was doing no better than its rookie defender, managing only three shots in the first half.
That ties the Crunch with the defunct Cleveland Force for second-fewest shots in a half. The Force's bad night came in 1983 against Wichita.
The record for fewest shots in a half was also set against the Sockers. It came in 1986 when the defunct Minnesota Strikers got off only one.
Cleveland finished with 12 shots, the Sockers with 39.