Dallas Sidekicks Small Logo, 1984-1992

Newspaper Story

Major Indoor Soccer League Logo


1985-86 at a Glance

Playoff Results

Playoff Player Statistics

Playoff Team Statistics

Box Score

Main Menu


By Terry Bigham The Dallas Morning News
Published April 17, 1986

Republished with the permision of the author

When Sidekicks defender Doc Lawson was announced to the crowd before the Wednesday night's playoff game, he held up a stick from which dangled a stuffed parrot.

In the Major Indoor Soccer League, a parrot is synonymous with Strikers goalie Tino Lettieri. In two playoff victories by Minnesota, Lettieri had kept the Sidekicks from getting early goals and Minnesota took 2-0 leads in both games.
Maybe it was Lawson's parrot Wednesday night or the home crowd of 10,218 at Reunion Arena for the Sidekicks' first home playoff game that helped Dallas beat Minnesota, 4-1, and stave off MISL playoff elimination. The Sidekicks have never lost a home game before more than 8,000 fans and hope to have at least that many for Game 4 of the best-of-five series Saturday night. Minnesota still leads the series, 2-1.

"We had to get the pressure on the Parrot early,' Lawson said, "so I felt we should hang him from the beginning. We had to score early and not let them take the defensive.'

The Strikers' defense had allowed just one goal in the first three quarters of both games against Dallas, but Billy Caskey and Tatu broke that string at 1:51 of the first period.

From the right side of the Strikers' goal, Caskey shot to the near post. Lettieri blocked the shot but could not control and the ball trickled underneath the Strikers goalie. Tatu knocked in the loose ball for his second goal of the series.

Dallas had only two power-play attempts in the first two games but got two consecutive chances in the second period. At 7:24, Jan Goossens was called for tripping and 9:18 later, the Strikers committed their sixth team foul and had two men in the penalty box for 17 seconds.

"They got a little help from outside (the referees),' Lettieri said. "We were leading in fouls every quarter. It seemed everything we did, they blew.'

The Sidekicks could not capitalize on the two-man advantage but did score during the second power play.

Tatu, in the penalty area, chested down a high shot off the glass and passed to Louie Nanchoff on his left. Nanchoff's shot from 20 feet hit high off the plexiglass, but Tatu volleyed the rebound past Lettieri for his second goal and a 2-0 Sidekicks' lead at 9:52.

"We realized we had to win or it was vacation time,' said Tatu. "The team played magnificent. Everyone was so determined tonight.'

Dallas had numerous scoring opportnuities in the second half but could not convert until Lawson scored with 5:40 left. Lawson beat Lettieri with an 18-foot shot from the right side on a 3-on-1 break.

"The first goal was important because it took the pressure off,' Sidekicks coach Gordon Jago said. "But the third goal was really the difference. If they score it, the game is tight. The third goal took the pressure off and put us a little beyond their reach.'

The Strikers pulled Lettieri and put David Byrne in goal as a sixth attacker after Lawson scored. Just more than a minute later, Nanchoff beat Byrne and Chris Dangerfield to a loose ball at midfield and scored an empty-net goal from 50 feet.

The Strikers outshot 28-5 during the first three quarters, took 14 shots to the sidekicks' five in the final period. Thompson Usiyyan's shot from 18 feet beat Sidekicks goalie Krys Sobieski with 2:25 left to keep the Strikers from being shut out.