Detroit 1-0 Nashville
July 23, 1982 — Silverdome (Pontiac, Mich.)
DET — Billy Bolevic (penalty) 73′
Express roll on — but barely, 1-0
(Detroit Free Press, 07.24.82)
By Jon Pepper
PONTIAC, Mich. — Maybe it was fatigue from standing under the hot sun all afternoon at soccer camp.
Maybe it was the brilliance of Nashville goalie Brien McInerney.
Or maybe it was just overconfidence.
But whatever the problem was in the Express’ sluggish 1-0 victory over the last-place Nashville Diamonds at the Silverdome Friday night, it will all be quickly forgotten. Because when the final whistle blew, the Express found themselves once more in first place in the American Soccer League.
“We had the chance to score 10 goals tonight,” coach Brian Tinnion said. “Let’s not make excuses, but their goaltender was brilliant.”
Billy Bolevic, who scored the game’s only goal on a penalty kick with 18 minutes to play, said the Express were “relaxing too much.”
But they had reason to relax. The game appeared to be a mismatch from the moment boxer Thomas Hearns kicked out the ceremonial first ball before a crowd of 4,500.
The Express were the ASL’s highest scoring team; Nashvile the league’s most porous defense.
The Express were unbeaten in 12 straight games at home; Nashville had won but twice in 17 games. And the Diamonds were the team that threatened to fold this month if its players did not take a pay cut.
“The Express forwards were not pushing upfield 100 percent,” Bolevic said. “We relaxed because their team is at the bottom of the league.”
Forward Andy Chapman, who leads the league in scoring, said he relaxed because he was “shattered” from being out in the sun at the afternoon soccer camp in Troy for 203 youngsters.
“I was very tired,” Chapman said. “I had no energy. We were out there for 3½ hours with the sun beating on our backs. It takes a lot of energy to organize all the kids. I don’t think you should do those camps on the day of a game.”
Owner Sonny Van Arnem said he was sympathetic, but it was the only camp all year scheduled for a game day.
“When you’re a new sport and you have to sell yourself to the public, you have to do extra things,” Van Arnem said. “I think the players have to get up and play with more pride.”
The game was scoreless through the first 71 minutes, even though the Express fired 25 shots at McInerney. Detroit was awarded a penalty kick at 72:15 when Nashville defender Kurt Swanbeck deflected a shot by Bolevic at the goal mouth with his arm.
Bolevic calmly knocked the ball past McInerney for the game-winner.
The Express are 10-4-3. The Diamonds are 2-13-3.