Scorpions Fall, 2-0, In Playoff Opener

Date Published: 
Syracuse Post-Standard

The Washington Darts stormed into Griffin Field yesterday and carved out a 2-0 decision over the Syracuse Scorpions in the first game of their two game total goal American Soccer League championship playoff.

The series returns to Washington next Sunday, when Northern Division champ Syracuse will have to outscore the Southern Division title holders by at least three goals to take the crown.

Washington, using the small Griffin turf to their advantage, went to the attack from the opening whistle yesterday, finally cracking through the Scorpions' defenses for a pair of goals within a minute, at the 40 and 41-minute marks of the opening half.

Outside right John Kerr scored the first, setting up the play with a pass to wing Nana Gyau, then taking the ball back in front of the Syracuse net and kicking it in from eight yards out.

The second marker came on a long pass from Winston Alexis to Gerry Browne, with Browne putting the ball past Scorpion goalie Claude Campos from some 10 yards away.

Campos, who turned in several spectacular stops in the first half, suffered an injured ankle making a save 23 minutes into the game and was not able to play the second half. He was replaced in the goal by Kosmas Sarigiannis.

Jim Lefkos, the ASL's most valuable player and the loop's top scorer during the regulation season, suffered a strained groin muscle in the first half and also sat out the final 45 minutes.

It was not know whether either of the injured Scorpions would be available for the playoff finale Sunday.

Washington, beating Syracuse to the ball in the first half, outshot the hosts, 9-3, in the first 45 minutes, but the Scorpions, with a new front line of Gladstone Ofori, Asher Welch, Frank Odoi, Yao Kankam and Quona Taylor necessitated by the injury of Lefkos, came on strong in the second half, but were not able to put the ball past the league's No. 1 goalie, player-coach Lincoln Phillips.

Phillips said after the game that the Darts had hoped to get at least a tie in Syrancuse Sunday and then wrap up the series win next week on their home pitch. Needless to say, the two-goal Washington advantage puts the pressure on the Scorps next week.

[photo caption]
Kicking Up Their Heels

Winston Earle, right, of the Syracuse Scorpions and Gerry Browne of the Washington Darts battle for the ball during yesterday's American Soccer League playoff action at Griffin Field.