Rochester Flash 3, Nashville Diamonds 1 (08.27.82)

Rochester 3-1 Nashville

August 27, 1982 — Holleder Stadium (Rochester, N.Y.)

Scoring Summary
ROCH — Michaelle Lacevic (missed penalty) 7′
ROCH — Dennis Mepham 7′
ROCH — Ian Martin 21′
ROCH — Mike Laschev 30′
NASH — Kirk Gilbert 43′

Flash win on 3 first-half goals

(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 08.28.82)

By Michael Lewis

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Flash played the part of gracious hosts to the Nashville Diamonds last night. They averted a possible forfeit by Nashville as the Flash paid for the hotel rooms of the financially-plagued Diamonds.

The Flash, however, were only gracious hosts up to a point. Dennis Mepham, Ian Martin and Mike Lashchev scored first-half goals en route to a 3-1 American Soccer League victory over the Diamonds before a crowd of 3,256 at Holleder Stadium.

Had the last place Diamonds (2-21-4, 42 points) chosen to stay in Nashville, the fifth-place Flash (9-15-2, 92) would have been awarded a 1-0 forfeit victory and only six points — five points for the victory and one point for the goal.

Last night, they walked away with eight points. Since the Flash are battling the Pennsylvania Stoners (8-11-5, 82) for fifth place in the playoff seedings, every point is important.

The fourth- and fifth-place teams meet in the first round of the playoffs next week, and the Flash would rather meet fourth-place Carolina than third-place Georgia.

“They called us up and asked us for help,” said Flash President Gene Quatro, explaining the owners’ decision to aid the Diamonds. “We’re all partners here. We should help each other out. They are financially strapped.”

“That’s the American Soccer League,” said Flash assistant coach and defender Nelson Cupello. “We knew we needed the points. We didn’t want to take the 1-0 victory (a forfeit).”

The Flash were willing to help out — until game time. After arriving in Rochester with only 11 players (just enough to field a team) after a 14-hour trip from Nashville, the Diamonds were greeted at Holleder by a hungry Flash team. The Flash peppered Nashville goalkeeper Bill Crawford with 16 first-half shots, and walked away with a 3-1 halftime lead.

Mepham, a Brighton High graduate, opened the scoring, but converting Michaelle Lacevic’s missed penalty kick at 6:38. The kick was set up after a Diamonds defender was called for a handball in the penalty area. Lacevic took the ensuing kick, and Crawford knocked the ball away. Mepham put in the rebound.

“He had scored only one goal this year, and he’s been creating a lot of chances,” said Flash coach Joe Horvath on his decision to move Mepham up front. “He’s a very good player. He controls the ball very well.”

So did the Flash last night. They continued to press, and again it paid off at 20:15 as Marshall High grad Ian Martin converted perfect one-two combinations passes from Ernie Buriano and Lashchev. Martin’s sixth goal of the season was extra special becasue he had about 30 relatives from Scotland at the game.

Lashchev closed out the Flash scoring at 29:45 when he converted Franco Paonessa’s rebound. Kirk Gilbert brought the Diamonds to 3-1 on a breakaway goal at 43:00.

“The first half was an excellent game,” Horvath said. “It was excellent team work. The second half wasn’t as good. Everyone tried to score a goal. We were selfish and didn’t have any team play.”

Not all the players were in a celebrating mood. Midfielder Alex Vayman was upset because he was benched by Horvath.

“I’m very mad,” said Vayman. “I left my heart on the field for this team. Maybe I did something wrong for 27 games (actually 26). I don’t know why I was benched. I played very well this season. Everybody was happy with my play. I scored some important goals and I made the all-star team. I played with injuries. I even scored a goal once while injured.”

Vayman started the season on fire, scoring five of his six goals in the 10 opening games. He hasn’t scored in the last 13 games.

Horvath said he benched Vayman because he decided to use four forwards and two midfielders instead of the usual three forwards and three midfielders.

“Alex wasn’t a forward, so one midfielder had to sit on the bench,” Horvath said.

After Lashchev re-injured his knee late in the first half, Horvath said he asked Vayman to warm up, but that the midfielder refused.