Los Angeles Lazers vs. San Diego Sockers
March 27, 1988
Major Indoor Soccer League Programs
The Major Indoor Soccer League’s long-running Southern California rivalry in action here in this game from March of 1988. Actually, it wasn’t much of a rivalry. The San Diego Sockers won the MISL championship five times during the seven seasons that the Los Angeles Lazers existed. Meanwhile, the Lazers only had one winning season in their history.
But this was that year. The 1987-88 Lazers were pretty damn good, led by Ecuadorian forward Chico Borja, pictured on the cover of the evening’s MISSILE Magazine game program. Borja set the Lazers’ franchise record for scoring with 47 goals and 51 assists in 54 matches.
The best indication of how strong the Keith Tozer-coached Lazers team was this year was the damage they did to the Sockers. This was the seventh and final regular season meeting of the clubs and the Lazers ripped San Diego 8-2. It was the Sockers’ worst loss in four years and gave Los Angeles a 4-3 series victory for the season. The Sockers (42-14) lost only 10 other matches-to the entire rest of the league.
Borja scored a goal and an assist. L.A.’s big star on the night was Cha Cha Namdar, a former Socker who notched two goals and added three assists.
The playoffs brought both clubs back to their traditional roles in the league. The Lazers flopped badly, losing to the Kansas City Comets in a three-game first round sweep. The Sockers won the championship, launching a run of five straight league titles.
After the 1987-88 season the MISL nearly folded (the Sockers went into bankruptcy, but emerged somewhat miraculously). Lazers owner Dr. Jerry Buss hung in, but dumped many of the club’s larger salaries, including Borja who departed after a single exemplary season.
Los Angeles Lazers Home Page
San Diego Sockers Home Page