Season ends in a flash for Flash at home
By Brad Falduto
SPECIAL TO THE UNION-TRIBUNE
October 1, 1998
CHULA VISTA -- The Flash picked an inopportune time to come up with its first -- and last -- two-game losing streak of the season.
Playing an uninspired first half -- a big no-no against a good team such as the Minnesota Thunder -- the Flash fell behind early and then came up short despite a furious rally as it lost to the Thunder 2-1 in the A-League Western Conference finals last night at Southwestern College's Devore Stadium.
With the victory in front of 3,181, Minnesota sweeps the best-of-three series 2-0 and moves on to the A-League championship game. The Flash closed out its season at 24-9.
"I don't know what happened," said Flash midfielder Kevin Legg. "People just didn't come out ready to play. We had some chances. We had two good shots that just didn't go in. Sometimes that's how it goes."
Flash defender Jimmy Conrad said the team just didn't play as a unit.
"Some guys wanted to dribble and other guys didn't know where they were going," said Conrad. "Then guys started standing around.
"We knew what we had to do and we just didn't do it."
San Diego coach Costa Skouras, also confused by his team's slow start, sounded like a winner when he talked about the just-concluded season.
"I'm very proud of what we achieved here," Skouras said. "A first-year franchise, this was a tremendous winner. We brought in a group of young men and they did all anyone could ask of them. This was a great team. We have lots to build on for next season."
The Flash came out looking like a team ready to call it a season. It did a lot of standing around for much of the first half and no one seemed to be on the same page. That strategy, or lack of one, proved costly.
Minnesota popped its first goal in the 18th minute when Constantin Stanici scored on a boot from 25 yards out. The Thunder's second goal came in the 42nd minute on a similar shot by Morgan Zeba.
What was baffling was that neither goal seemed to have much of an effect on the Flash. No one appeared to play with the desperation that the team truly was facing.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Flash finally got some momentum when goalkeeper Joe Cannon made a great save on a penalty kick by Minnesota's Kevin Anderson. Yet, despite putting on heavy pressure in front of the Thunder's goal for the next few ensuing minutes, the Flash was unable to score.
With 23 minutes remaining, the Flash finally found the net as Jerome Watson went up with Minnesota goalkeeper John Swallen in a header attempt about 18 yards in front of the net. Watson won the jump and headed the ball backward into the goal.
The Flash dominated play the rest of the way, mostly keeping the ball in front of the Minnesota goal, but couldn't notch the game-tying goal.
Copyright 1998 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.