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Sockers Stop Splash Streak, 6-5

Soccer: Anaheim coach says his team allowed too many easy goals in loss to San Diego at the Pond.

July 06, 1996|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — Bernie "The Bolt" Lilavois had been pointing to Friday's Splash game for more than a week.

He said he wanted to make a statement.

Apparently, so did San Diego.

Despite Lilavois' best efforts and two goals apiece by Sam George and Paul Agyeman, the Splash watched its two-game winning streak end in a 6-5 loss in front of 5,987 at the Pond.

"As long as we're making the chances, we'll be fine," Splash Coach Ian Fulton said. "If we didn't have chances, then I'd be upset. But we gave up too many silly goals."

The Splash fell behind, 4-1, before Lilavois' sweet pass to himself off the boards and around goalkeeper Antonio Cortes (16 saves) made it 4-2, and George's second goal--on an assist from Lilavois--made it 4-3.

"I set in my mind that I am going to make a statement tonight--to my teammates, to the organization, our fans, and the league," Lilavois said before kickoff. The last reference was to his elbow that fractured the jaw of Dallas star Tatu, and Lilavois not wanting to be labeled a dirty player. The other references are a matter of pride.

New coach, new general manager, new set of people he had to prove himself to, he said.

"Personally, I was satisfied with the statement I made," said Lilavois, who had been benched against Sacramento and suspended by the league for the Portland game for the Tatu incident. "I worked my tail off, and so did the team. But we can't afford to get behind early in games.

"Our work rate is good, but we need to get over the hump. If we get down, we need to come right back with a goal, like teams do against us."

The Sockers responded with a power-play goal by Moises Garduno (two goals) to make it 5-3. Agyeman scored, but Tom Crane added San Diego's second power-play goal midway through the fourth quarter to make it 6-4.

Agyeman's second goal, a power-play goal with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter, made it 6-5.

Lilavois was used as the sixth attacker the final two minutes, but the Splash couldn't produce the tying goal.

The Splash (3-3) trail second-place San Diego (3-1) in the Western Division. The Splash hosts first-place Sacramento (4-1) Wednesday.

It was an unusual night for the Splash as its two leading scorers, Dale Ervine and Danny Barber, had neither a goal nor an assist.

"The guys who get paid to score goals didn't score, and they have to produce if we're going to be a winning team," Fulton said. "But it wasn't anybody's fault in particular."

The Splash took 35 shots, but often found the post or the leg of a defender. Still, the offense was not as sharp as it had been, often making passes a step long.

As for statements?

"We can't say, 'Oh [shoot], we're 3-3,' " George said. "We don't need to panic."

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