Aztecs Take First Loss

Author: 
Glenn Parsons
Date Published: 
1974-04-22
Source: 
Pasedena Star-News

Los Angeles Aztec coach Alex Perolli, like most coaches, likes to think he produces his own luck.

But Lady Luck sprinkled a thin coat of "charm" on the Aztecs' first loss of their three-game history, a 2-1 decision to Mexico City's Club America before 14,211 fans in the East L.A. Stadium.

Club America, one of the richest professional soccer organizations in the world, scored once in the first half and again in the second before the Aztecs put their lone tally on the board with five minutes left in the contest.

On various occasions, the Aztecs appeared to have a goal in the bag. Early in the first half, Tony Douglas, who eventually scored the Aztec goal, took a shot which hit an upright of the goal and bounced away, as did a Uri Banhoffer shot with 23 minutes left in the game.

One of the most spectacular plays in the game came with a minute showing. Defenseman Ramon Moraldo passed the ball to midfieldman Douglas in front of the goal. Douglas' shot careened off the chest of American goalie Alex Palacios and was headed back toward the goal by Banhoffer. The shot hit the crossbar and fell out of play.

The Aztecs finally scored, however, when Douglas, took a pass from Banhoffer and shot twice from 20 feet in front of the goal. The second shot went home to make the score 2-1.

Although Perolli was pleased with his club's overall showing, certain things bothered him. Especially the officiating.

"The referee was terrible. He was not keeping up with the game at all," Perolli commented emphatically. "He wasn't watching what was happening too much of the time."

It appeared that with only three minutes left in the first half. Aztec Uri Banhoffer had tied the game at 1-1 when he outraced the America defense and put the ball in the net.

The referee called offside, however, and the score was nullified.

"Not only was the referee not keeping up with the ball, but he acted like he didn't know the rules," Perolli ventured.

"There was no offsides there. I think everyone in the stadium was as surprised as I when the call was made."