Nashville 0-0 Pennsylvania
July 18, 1982 — Hale Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)
Diamonds Will Move By Friday
(Nashville Tennessean, 07.19.82)
By John Lewis Pitts
NASHVILLE — The Nashville Diamonds professional soccer team will have a new home — somewhere — by this weekend, officials of the American Soccer League franchise said last night.
The rapidly-improving team, meanwhile, posted its second straight tie last night — scoreless overtime deadlock against the Pennsylvania Stoners. A crowd of less than 400 was on hand at Tennessee State’s Hale Stadium for the contest.
Diamonds public relations director Jim Swauger said that the team would play next Sunday’s contest against the Carolina Lightnin’ at a new field in the Nashville area, “although we still haven’t found a place to play yet.” Swauger said three fields outside Davidson County are being considered for the team’s new home.
Officials at Brentwood Academy confirmed last night that the Diamonds were interested in using the Eagles’ football field for the five home matches the team has left to play this season. But football coach Carlton Flatt, athletic director at the private school, said it was unlikely that the team would play there.
Swauger, who would not disclose specifics about the team’s search for a new field, said moving from North Nashville is the key to the future success of the team, which has drawn less than 1,000 paying customers in nine home dates.
“All we need is to find a place to play and get a couple thousand people coming out to our games and we’ll be alright,” the Diamonds’ Swauger said last night. “We’re going to finish out the season, even if nobody comes out to watch us,” vowed head coach Hector Guevara, a minority shareholder in the first-year team.
The Diamonds players, ignoring the struggles of the team off the field, turned in their third shutout of the season last night, as the team’s record went to 2-12-3. On June 20, the Diamonds posted a 1-0 win on the road against Pennsylvania, the 1980 ASL champions.
The Stoners record stands at 7-4-4 after last night’s decision.
“We just can’t get the ball in the net for anything,” Pennsylvania coach Kalman Csapo lamented afterwards. “The Nashville team completely surprised us earlier in the season, but this team tonight … they’re 100% improved since the last time we saw them,” he added.
Nashville was just a silly millimeter away from getting their third victory of the season, when two shots by Diamonds players hit the goal frame during regulation.
With 15:05 remaining in the contest, midfielder David Strecker took a pass and hit the right sidebar with Stoners goalie Tom Reynolds out of position. With just 36 seconds remaining in regulation, Dario Ochoa lofted a dramatic shot after a Nashville corner kick, hitting the meta goal frame squarely above the head of Reynolds, who was caught flat-footed by the play.
Nashville’s best chances in the overtime came with less than two minutes left in the second 10-minute overtime period, as the ball caromed wildly in the goal mouth before the Stoners cleared it out. Seconds later, a high shot by forward Juan Yepez was stopped by a cartwheeling Reynolds for the game’s best save.
“We had our chances tonight, but the main thing was that we didn’t let them score,” said Nashville captain Mac Garrigan, moved from sweeper to the midfield for the contest. Pennsylvania held a 19-8 edge in shots on goal, but Diamonds goalie Brien McInerney enjoyed his finest game of the season, claiming eight saves and his first shutout.
“All that’s left on this team are the die-hards … this group is playing like a real team now,” said McInerney. “For me, the money isn’t the important thing anymore … I’m just out here to play the game and do my best.”
Nashville visits the Detroit Express in the Silverdome on Wednesday night.