Sidekicks beat Sockers, 5-4, win CISL championship
by David McNabb, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Sidekicks won the championship of a first-year league while exorcising an old ghost.
Dallas defeated San Diego, 5-4, on Sunday night before 7,175 raucous fans at Reunion Arena to win the Continental Indoor Soccer League best-of-three championship series.
Sidekicks forward Eric Dade scored the winning goal with 2:19 remaining as the Sidekicks rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit. Dallas won the final two games of the series at Reunion after the Sockers won Game 1 in San Diego.
The Sidekicks' victory ends a five-year reign by the Sockers as indoor champions. San Diego has won 10 indoor titles in two leagues since 1981, including a championship over Dallas in the final season of the Major Soccer League.
"It's bloody marvelous to beat San Diego in the final," Sidekicks coach Gordon Jago said. "I honestly felt we deserved to win."
San Diego had eliminated Dallas three times in playoffs during the last four years. With the demise of the MSL, San Diego and Dallas were considered the favorites to win the CISL because they retained the most experienced players.
Dallas' 1987 MSL championship was the only season San Diego was not champion. That year, the Sidekicks defeated Tacoma for the title.
"Every championship is special," said Tatu, who has played with the Sidekicks since their first season in 1984. "We won the regular season and had the best team. It would have been an injustice if this team wouldn't have won."
The Sidekicks, who overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first period, had to overcome a 4-3 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
After a near-relentless onslaught on San Diego goalie Bryan Finnerty, the Sidekicks broke through with a goal. The Sidekicks outshot the Sockers, 47-29.
Dade centered himself five feet in front of the goal and pushed in an assist from Dave Reichart with the outside of his right foot.
"Normally, I try to power the shot, and the goalie blocks it," Dade said. "I thought he might make a save on this one."
The Sidekicks' Mike Powers, who helped first-year goalie Shawn Ray on defense, scored the tying goal early in the fourth period.
San Diego's Finnerty made two spectacular hand saves and held Dallas scoreless through a two-minute penalty in the final quarter with three more saves before Dade scored.
"They (Sockers) are so disappointed because they feel they let all the other (San Diego) teams down that won the other
championships," Sockers coach Ron Newman said. "Let's face it, Dallas' team is the favorite. The Dallas team was never disrupted. I'd say they were a better team than last year (1992 in the MSL final)."
The Sidekicks led, 3-2, after a first half that set the tone for a match so physical, it may be until the start of the CISL's second season next summer before all the bumps and bruises disappear.
The Sidekicks' rally from a 2-0 deficit began with a pair of goals during two-minute penalties against the Sockers.
San Diego scored its first goal on a header from Keder who knocked in an assist from the Sockers' Jacques Ladouceur.
With a 2-0 lead, San Diego's aggressive defense went too far as defender Waad Hirmez was sent to the penalty box with a wad of Tatu's jersey in his hand. Near the end of the power play, Dallas pulled within 2-1, as Tatu shot a perfect assist to Beto breaking in front of the goal. Beto slid into the net on his goal-scoring kick.
The Sidekicks tied the score, 2-2, in the second quarter on another power-play goal. With the Sockers' Paul Gelvezon called for pushing Roderick Scott into the sideboard, the Sidekicks scored less than 30 seconds later on a 15-foot blast from David Doyle off an assist from Beto.
Just as Dallas appeared to take the upper hand leading, 3-2, and holding the Sockers scoreless through two power-play chances, San Diegorallied for a 4-3 lead late in the third quarter.