Oklahoma City Slickers 2, Nashville Diamonds 1 (05.30.82)

Nashville 1-2 Oklahoma City

May 30, 1982 — Hale Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.)

Scoring Summary
OKC — Pete Knezic 41′
OKC — Pete Knezic 43′
NASH — Goran Meskovic 44′

Faltering Diamonds Lose To Slickers, 2-1

(Nashville Tennessean, 05.31.82)

By John Lewis Pitts

NASHVILLE — About the only thing that the Nashville Diamonds soccer team has a lot of is problems.

The team doesn’t have many healthy players, hasn’t scored many goals and — worst of all — it hasn’t put many fans in the stands.

Yesterday’s 2-1 home field loss to the Oklahoma City Slickers was the fourth consecutive defeat for the new American Soccer League franchise.

The Nashville squad, racked by injuries that have benched five starters and have left half the players on the field qualified for cameo roles on M*A*S*H, were out-shot 16-7 in the contest by the Slickers.

And to make matters worse, there were only 625 soccer fans on hand for the contest.

Diamonds principal owner Ralph Woerheide was at Hale Stadium for the contest, and he admitted dismay at the meager turnout after the game had ended. “We thought we had done everything we possibly could to promote this game … what else can we do,” Woerhide said. The Chicago businessman and his partners have reportedly spent $600,000 to bring professional soccer to Nashville.

“Sure, we are concerned about the poor crowds,” Woerhide said. The team has drawn less than 7,000 fans for its three home dates so far this season — the the audience for the games has gotten smaller and smaller each time. “I just wish people would come out and see the team, give them a chance.”

Woerhide, asked if continuing poor turnout might change his previously-stated commitment to keep the Diamonds here “for at least three years,” Woerhide demurred.

Oklahoma’s Pete Knezic scored a pair of goals in a 2 ½-minute span in the first half to hand the Slickers all the scoring they needed in the sweltering (90°-plus) heat on the Hale Stadium turf. Knezic caught the Diamonds’ goalie Brien McInerney charging out of the goal for the first score at 40:03, and then booted home a rebound after McInerney had saved a direct kick less than three minutes later.

Nashville’s Goran Meskovic scored on a direct kick at the 43:45 mark, his second score of the season.

Nashville fell to 1-4 with the loss, while Oklahoma City boosted its record to 2-1-2.

Nashville’s next game is Saturday, when the squad visits the Carolina Lightning. The Diamonds are home on Sunday afternoon against Rochester.