Sidekicks bask in title glow
by David Boclair, Star-Telegram Writer
DALLAS - Indoor soccer's change of seasons arrived right on schedule. With 7,175 witnesses at Reunion Arena last night, the Dallas Sidekicks ' six-year solstice struck.
Every sixth year since the inception of the game, the San Diego Sockers endure a titleless cold spell while Dallas basks in the glow of a title. It first happened in 1987. So it is this year with the Sidekicks' heart-thumping 5-4 victory against San Diego.
Never mind that this was the Continental Indoor Soccer League of the summer as opposed to the winter's Major Soccer League.
"San Diego has that mystique, but we just took it away from them," Tatu said. "Our job here was to make history and we made history today. We're the first one. We did it."
Rookie Eric Dade kicked off the celebration by scoring the deciding goal 2:19 before the final whistle. Off a restart in the San Diego end, Tatu passed to Dave Reichart, who fed the ball to Dade in the goalkeeper area. Defender Cha Cha Namdar fell to the ground as Dade spun to his left and used his right foot to bang the ball inside the far post.
In response, the Sockers immediately went to the sixth-attacker and pressed the issue in vain. Time ran out and the party started.
"It's the greatest feeling I've ever had, to do something to help this team," Dade said. "Those last two minutes were so intense because we thought we could win this thing if we could just hang on."
The best-of-three series reached this point after two lopsided affairs, one in each city with the home team claiming victory. This one gave nerves no rest, but Dallas ultimately kept the form that these playoffs held the whole way - the home team wins. Five playoff matches have been contested in CISL history and the home team has won every time.
Dallas claimed the home-field advantage in this one because of its 23-5 regular-season record, best in the league and three games up on the Sockers.
"This was the first time while I've been coaching that I've had home-field advantage against San Diego," Sidekicks coach Gordon Jago said. "The 28-game (regular season) program was the key to our performance.
"It feels bloody good to beat San Diego."
This match featured four lead changes and more than its share of missed opportunities. Dallas dug out of an early 2-0 hole but still started the final period one goal down.
The Sidekicks outscored the Sockers, 2-0, in that fourth quarter while outshooting them 17-5.