Detroit Express 3, Nashville Diamonds 1 (07.30.82)

Nashville 1-3 Detroit

July 30, 1982 — Brentwood Academy Eagle Field (Brentwood, Tenn.)

Scoring Summary
DET — Clyde Watson 17′
NASH — Kirk Gilbert (Dario Ochoa) 39′
DET — Clyde Watson (Brian Tinnion) 53′
DET — Billy Bolevic (Brian Tinnion) 65′

Diamonds star in stands, but results same on field

(Nashville Banner, 07.31.82)

By Pam Clark

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — The positive results since the Nashville Diamonds’ move from Tennessee State University to cozy Brentwood Academy are enough to start the nature-nurture war all over again.

Despite posting an 0-2 record since they switched home fields last Sunday, the locals hardly have looked like the same scraggly team that haplessly ran up a 2-13-3 record before the move.

The soccer skills exhibited Friday by the reborn American Soccer League expansion team and its opponent, the Detroit Express, delighted soccer aficionados as well as those less knowledgeable about the game.

Detroit impressed the crowd of 1,500 with its deft footwork, aggressive play and teamwork, but when the hometown Diamonds jumped into the act, too, it hardly seemed to matter that Nashville went down to defeat again, this time 3-1 to the ASL leaders.

“They (Express) mesh so well,” said Diamonds’ midfielder Dave Strecker, who along with Goran Meskovic was named to the ASL All-Star team. “It’s like they’re one unit. They know what each other is doing. It’s frustrating to see them move the ball around like that.”

The Diamonds, who played Detroit tough two weeks ago before dropping a 1-0 decision on a late goal, seemed to sit back and enjoy Detroit’s beautiful passing game until midway through the first half when they decided to get aggressive.

“After the better part of the first half, we saw how they played and began to play with them,” Strecker said.

Detroit boasts three of the top five scorers in the league — No. 1 Andy Chapman, No. 2 Brian Tinnion and No. 5 Bill Bolevic — but it was little Clyde Watson who put the Express on the scoreboard first when he nailed a shot in the left corner past Nashville goalie Brien McInerney at the 16:35 mark.

That’s when the Diamonds started to assert themselves, especially Strecker and Dario Ochoa, who kept penetrating the Detroit defense to set up scoring opportunities. It finally paid off toward the end of the first half, when Ochoa worked the baseline and then passed the ball out to teammate Kirk Gilbert. Gilbert drilled the ball into the upper left-hand corner of the goal to tie the score 1-1 at 38:54.

Ochoa’s aggressiveness was a direct result of his work with Meskovic, who was named an assistant coach when it was determined this week his back injury would keep him out the rest of the season.

“Dario played so well,” Meskovic said. “I told him no fake plays, he’s got to beat his man. He’s got the advantage 60 percent to 40 percent of the time: the man with the ball knows what he wants to do; the man without the ball has to figure out what you’ll do. I told him you may get the ball taken away but you’ve got to try to beat him.”

The Detroit attack was relentless, however, and the Express took the lead for good when Watson lofted a head shot over the outstretched arms of McInerney at the 52:57 mark. When Bolevic scored on a breakaway with 64:08 gone, it was just icing on the cake. Detroit goalie Tad Delorm already decided the Diamonds — Delorm is the ASL’s top ‘keeper with a sparkling 0.98 goals-against average.

Delorm said Nashville gave him quite a workout, though.

“It was a tough game, obviously,” the lanky, 6-4 goalkeeper said. “We scored first, but then they came back to equalize things. It’s a nice field, a good crowd and they were sky-high to knock off the best team in the league.”

Nashville’s record fell to 2-15-3, while Detroit upped its slate to 12-4-3. The Diamonds host the Rochester Flash Sunday at 7:35.



Diamonds Host the Flash

(Nashville Tennessean, 08.01.82)

By John Lewis Pitts

NASHVILLE — The Nashville Diamonds’ move to Brentwood Academy’s outstanding Eagle Field has meant more than a change of scenery for the American Soccer League team.

The Diamonds, statistically the worst team in the seven-city ASL, have played a more active style of soccer since leaving Tennessee State University. And though they have lost both of their matches here, the team has attracted a total of 3,600 fans — which leaves team officials talking with optimism about the future.

“Whether or not we return to Nashville next season is a matter that we’re going to leave up to the fans,” Diamonds head coach Hector Guevara said Friday night, after the team’s 3-1 loss to league-leader Detroit. It was the ninth straight decision without a win for Nashville, which takes a 2-15-3 record into tonight’s 7:35 match against the Rochester Flash.

Though the effort has been held up by the team’s abrupt move to Brentwood Academy, Diamonds officials will soon begin a drive to sell 2,000-3,000 season tickets for next season.

Meanwhile, the Flash couldn’t be coming to town at a better time, from the Diamonds’ point of view. Rochester (5-9-2) was scheduled to visit Detroit last night, and ASL teams usually don’t fare well on back-to-back road dates. The Flash is reportedly playing without either of its top goalies, instead relying on an 18-year-old keeper.

“This is a situation we’ve got to take advantage of,” Guevara said, though his team’s offensive output (19 goals in 20 games) has been anemic all season.

The move to Brentwood Academy, with a playing field that is narrow when compared to most in the league, has made the Diamonds’ attack look better than on the battle-scarred TSU field.

“That team is 100% improved over the first time we played them this season,” Detroit goalie Tad DeLorm said of the Nashville squad after Friday night’s match. “We knew they would be tough, because of this great field, the backing they’re getting from the people of Brentwood and the chance they had to knock off the league’s best team … they just didn’t get the breaks, that’s all.”

The soccer-smart crowd at Eagle Field on Friday couldn’t help but notice the improved play of Nashville midfielders David Strecker and Dario Ochoa. Strecker has been a force for the team since shaking off a half season of injuries, while Ochoa made the assist for the Diamonds’ lone goal against Detroit.

Both are benefitting from the coaching help of Goran Meskovic, the Yugolavia native named an assistant coach this past week after being sidelined for the rest of the season by a nagging back injury.