Nashville Diamonds 2, Oklahoma City Slickers 2 (07.11.82)

Nashville 2-2 Oklahoma City

July 11, 1982 — Hale Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)

Scoring Summary
NASH — Juan Yepez 37′
OKC — Phil Rausch (Jimmy Husband) 58′
OKC — Jeff Bourne 107′
NASH — Michael Harderson 109′

Diamonds’ Pay To Be Trimmed

(Nashville Tennessean, 07.12.82)

By John Lewis Pitts

NASHVILLE — Members of the Nashville Diamonds professional soccer team are accepting pay cuts of 25% to 35% in an attempt to keep the struggling squad afloat, The Tennessean learned last night.

Head coach Hector Guevara, commenting after the team had tied visiting Oklahoma City 2-2 in a wild overtime contest, said last night the pay cuts would be made “in an attempt to keep the team going until the end of the season.”

News of the pay cuts, which Guevara said the team was accepting voluntarily, follows comments last week by members of the Diamonds’ management that the team was still on solid financial footing, despite the fact that less than 1,000 paying customers have turned out for the team’s eight home games.

Meanwhile, three Nashville Diamonds players, including the only member of the first-year franchise to win American Soccer League player of the week honors this season, will be dropped from the team today.

Goalie Fred Armstrong, forward Frank Lawson and defender Rich Finneyfrock will be waived by the team. In addition, a player who asked not to be identified said a list of team members “who need to shape up in the next two weeks or they’ll be shipped out, too,” will be posted at the Diamonds’ headquarters in Brentwood today.

Armstrong — the ASL player of the week on June 22 and the starting goalie in both Nashville wins — sat on the bench for last night’s contest. Finneyfrock and Lawson were among the announced crowd of 356 which watched the game from the stands of Tennessee State’s Hale Stadium.

Guevara confirmed last night that he would waive the trio today, giving other organizations in the seven-team ASL a chance to pick them. Guevara said today’s moves would be the first of “seven or eight” waivers he will make in the next couple of weeks.

All three said after the contest that Guevara had not informed them of their impending waivers.

“That’s really great … a very professional way to handle things,” said Lawson, who scored the team’s second goal of the season in the 2-1 victory over the Carolina Lightning which opened the season for the squad.

[Ed. note — Frank Lawson did not score against Carolina. He assisted the first goal in a 2-0 win over Carolina.]

Guevara, who conducted tryouts with several players yesterday morning, said he would add roster replacements before Sunday night’s home field contest against the Pennsylvania Stoners.

The future of the team appeared very much in doubt before the Friday-Sunday series with the Slickers. Thought Diamonds officials had appealed for 15,000 people to turn out for the two games, there was a total of less than 700 in the stands for the two games.

At halftime of Friday night’s contest, public relations director John Swauger told the Hale Stadium audience that the team would continue playing, despite previous threats that a small turnout might force the team to close down for the remainder of the season.

Guevara, who holds a partial share of the team, vowed last night that team would continue playing. “I give you my word, we will be here Sunday night,” he told reporters.

Guevara is scheduled to meet with a number of potential local investors on Wednesday night. Eight area businessmen will be offered a chance to purchase shares in the club, which claims it has already spent $700,000 trying to establish itself here.

Despite the furor surrounding the club — which mirrored the dark clouds that hung over Hale Stadium last night — the Diamonds turned in one of their best overall efforts of the season against the Slickers.

Juan Yepez put Nashville out front at the 36:45 mark with a nifty unassisted goal, but Phil Rausch tied the game in the second half at 57:05 after an assist by Jimmy Husband.

Nashville out-shot Oklahoma 19-11 but failed to score again in the 90 minutes of regulation.