San Diego Gauchos coach Bob Maruca's biggest complaint has become his worst nightmare. At the United Soccer Leagues' preseason meetings, Maruca didn't like that his Pro Select League team, essentially a third division professional team, would be playing Premier Development League teams during the 2003 season.
"He didn't want to play any PDL teams because he felt they were below his team," said Nevada Wonders' General Manager Randy Roser, who attended the meetings. "Well, he's kind of been humbled this season."
San Diego will try and avoid being humbled for the third time this season when it hosts the Wonders tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Gauchos Stadium on the campus of Southwest High School. The Gauchos (1-9-1) have already lost two games by a combined score of 5-0 to the PDL's Fresno Fuego.
That alone would be enough for a professional team to worry. But San Diego, a second-year franchise, also hasn't won since April 5, when it beat the California Gold 3-2 in Modesto, Calif. The Gauchos are in 12th place in the 13-team PSL and are coming off a three-game east coast road trip where they were outscored 9-1.
"I talked to their coach the other day and he knows they're struggling," Roser said. "He's basically tired of getting smoked."
Miguel Medina and Ralph Dartt lead San Diego with two goals each. Dartt, a former San Diego State University star who has played in the A-League, scored both of his goals in the season-opening win over California. The Gauchos' worst loss of the season was to the Western Massachusetts Pioneers, 5-0.
"They lost one of their better players from last year, they're kind of in a rebuilding year," Roser said.
When management from an opposing team says 'rebuilding year,' it means they believe their team could be destined for a win.
"We think we could've won the past two games," Roser said. "It's like I said before, we're going to be in every game from now on. This is certainly a game we think we can win. Before the season, our goal was to win three games. We can still do that."
The Wonders (1-8-1), who are in fourth place in the five-team Southwest Division of the PDL's Western Conference, are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Southern California Seahorses last Saturday. The previous weekend they lost 3-0 to Fresno. Both were games they felt they could've won. But both were games they were unable to score.
Earlier in the week, defender Sean Nealis, the team's most experienced player, said it might be difficult for him to play the rest of the season because of a new job. But several weeks ago Roser signed Gerardo 'Chuckie' Saidana, who filled in for Nealis in the game against the Seahorses. Saidana played with the Northern Nevada Aces last season.
Kai Edwards, a forward from Sonoma State University, will fly from Northern California to San Diego for the game. He might energize a team that hasn't scored a goal since a 3-0 win over the BYU Cougars on May 30. Roser also signed Ian Miller, a midfielder and a sophomore to-be at Sterling College in Kansas.
San Diego will be without one its starters in tonight's game. The Gauchos had three players earn red cards in the first halves of their games against three different PSL teams during their east coast road swing...San Diego is the only PSL not to have a player named to the PSL's Team of the Week in the past seven weeks...Tonight's game marks the first of three games the Nevada Wonders will play against a PSL team. They host the California Gold on June 21 and the Utah Blitzz on June 27 at the Carson High soccer field...Nevada Wonders' defender Bernard Morley leads the PDL in fouls committed with 34 and Ken Otalor is third with 26...Randy Roser said Wednesday he submitted his name for the Carson High varsity girls soccer job opening. The job became available when Mike Popp resigned last week after five years with the program. Roser currently serves as Jim Nealis' assistant coach on the Carson High boys varsity team.
PDL Western Conference
Southwest Division Standings
Team W L T GF GA PTS
Fresno 10 2 0 35 12 30
So. Calif. 10 5 3 19 16 17
O. Cty. 7 4 3 17 15 12
Nevada 1 8 1 5 30 4
BYU 1 7 0 11 27 3
BYU vs. Orange County, 7:30 p.m.
Utah Blitzz* vs. Orange County, 4 p.m.
Fresno vs. Southern California, 7:30 p.m.
San Diego Gauchos* vs. Nevada, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 18
Southern California vs. Orange County, 7 p.m.
*Utah and San Diego are Pro Select League teams