August 21, 1998
The San Diego Flash (15-6, 45) earned a berth in the A- League post-season by virtue of their 3-0 win over the New Orleans Storm (12-10, 34) before a crowd of 1,467 at Devore Stadium. The win coupled with San Francisco Bay's loss to Orange County, puts the Flash in the playoffs The victory also puts the Flash in first place past Nashville in the Western Conference, in the battle for home-field advantage.
The first half was played evenly with neither team having a clear-cut advantage. The Flash found the back of the net in the 44th minute on a beautifully executed play, but Mauricio Alegre was in the offside position when he took the shot. The disallowed goal was the best chance for either team in the half. In the 40th minute, the Storm's Avery John was ejected for a hard sliding tackle on Flash leading-scorer Antonio Robles.
New Orleans began the second half with their best opportunity for a goal in the 47th minute, a pass went through the goal box, but no one was at the backpost to tap it in. San Diego was victimized again by an offsides call in the 56th minute, Jimmy Conrad received a through ball and found a wide open Mauricio Alegre for the tap in goal, but Conrad was ruled offsides.
With the man-advantage, San Diego finally capitalized on Carlos Farias' eighth goal of the season on the assist from goalkeeper Joe Cannon. Farias received Cannon's punt and took a shot from 12-yards out to beat Storm `keeper Tom Dutra. Dutra was beaten again, this time on a 35-yard knuckle ball shot by Farias only three minutes later. The two Farias' goals, three minutes apart set a team record (Robles, ELP, 4`,8/1) for the quickest two goals by a single player.
Robles converted his third penalty kick of the season in the 76th minute to give the Flash a 3-0 lead. Robles was pulled down in the box by Andrew Restrepo and awarded the penalty. He currently has a three-game goal streak and a tally in seven of his last eight matches.
San Diego has won seven of its last eight matches and four in a row. The Flash has scored in fourteen consecutive matches and two or more goals in seven of its last eight games. Devore Stadium has been kind to San Diego, the Flash has won eight of its last nine in the "Lightning Bowl", Cannon made four saves and recorded his ninth shutout of the season.
San Diego plays San Francisco Bay on Sunday afternoon, 4:00 p.m. in the "Lightning bowl" at Devore Stadium. The Storm will travel to meet the Orange County Zodiac on Sunday in Irvine.