Nashville Diamonds 2, Carolina Lightnin’ 0 (05.15.82)

Nashville 2-0 Carolina

May 15, 1982 — Hale Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)

Scoring Summary
NASH — Juan Yepez (Frank Lawson) 45′
NASH — Mac Garrigan 48′


Diamonds Win ASL Debut

(Nashville Tennessean, 05.16.82)

By John Lewis Pitts

NASHVILLE — Nashville’s entry in the American Soccer League made a dramatic debut last night with a 2-0 victory over the defending league champions, the Carolina Lightning.

The Diamonds used an inspired defensive effort and a pair of timely goals — one just seconds before the end of the first half — to put the Carolina Lighting into a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of.

The Diamonds Season opener, played under the lights at Tennessee State University’s Hale Stadium, attracted a crowd estimated at 3,000 — including hundreds of youth soccer players from the Middle Tennessee area.

“We just fought and scrapped from the start to the finish, which is the way this team will have to play every game,” Diamonds coach Hector Guevara noted afterwards. “This has to be a tremendous confidence-builder for the team.”

Carolina’s offensive efforts were stymied by the 23 offsides calls levied by the game officials during the 90-minute contest, while Nashville picked up only one such call. Meanwhile, Nashville’s long-kicking style frustrated the efforts of the Carolina team’s midfield to set the pace for the match.

The hard-luck visitors had their best chance to score with just 5:48 remaining, when striker Mal Roache missed a free kick from 12 yards out — after going 5-for-5 in that situation last season.

Nashville will face the Pennsylvania Stoners in Allentown, Pa., tonight in the Diamonds’ first road contest of the season. The squad faces a pair of road dates before a May 23 afternoon appearance here against the Stoners.

The Carolina team dropped to 0-1-1 with last night’s loss, while Nashville moved into a second-place tie with Detroit, both teams with 1-0 records and seven ASL points. The Diamonds got five points for last nights win and one point each for the goals.

The Nashville squad stunned Carolina with a goal two seconds before the end of the first half, on a head shot by forward Juan Yepez.

Frank Lawson set up the goal with a cross-goal pass after driving the ball deep into the corner. Lawson pass was in a perfect position for Yepez, who headed the ball into the left corner of the net.

Yepez quickly scrambled to the sidelines where he fell on his knees and blew kisses to the cheering crowd.

“They were really having problems picking up on what we wanted to do,” said Yepez, who was one of several Diamonds mobbed by young autograph seekers after the win. “I was anticipating that pass from Frank and he put it right on the spot. What a great way to start the season.”

Nashville put its second goal on the TSU scoreboard less that three minutes into the second half on a direct kick by team captain Mac Garrigan.

The shot, set up when Carolina’s Kevin Murphy tripped defender Julio Gaviria, got past the wall of Lightning players set up to deflect the effort and sailed over the head of Charlotte goalie Scott Manning.

“I’ve been working a lot on that curve shot,” Garrigan said with a laugh. “They put the wall up there to try to protect one side of the goal, and it just got around them.”