From the start Philadelphia was in charge. Most of the first half was played in the Dallas end of the field. The rest of it was in midfield. The shots Dallas got at Rigby, in the Philadelphia goal, came seldom and they were puny. For all his jumping ability and his advantage in size, Rote found Dunleavy wrapped around him like an overcoat.
The big break came about 20 minutes into the second half. Rote and Dunleavy had leaped for a ball that neither of them got. Rote thought he was shoved and looked for the official. The ball, meanwhile, bounded toward the Dallas goal. "I broke into a cold sweat," Newman said later. "I knew that this was going to be bad." Best saw the ball drop at his feet and tried to clear it away. Instead, the ball went off the side of his foot and flew into the right corner of the Dallas goal. Philadelphia led 1-0 with 25 minutes left.
From then on the Philadelphia defense was the one and only concern for the Tornado. And that proved to be plenty. One Dallas shot, by Ilija Mitic, struck a goalpost with 12:50 to play, but mostly the Tornado looked like people stuck in brambles.
Then with 4:58 on the clock, Roy Evans of Philadelphia fed a shot to Straub, who knocked the ball with his forehead into the Dallas goal. If 1-0 had looked like a tremendous deficit, 2-0 seemed insurmountable. And it was. Philadelphia became the first expansion team to win a championship in its first year in any American professional sport.
In the Philadelphia locker room afterwards the team broke open the champagne and gave three cheers for Best. Ehlinger, McCloskey and Miller were hugging each other. Ehlinger said Miller had done the greatest coaching job of all time in any sport. Miller said his team hadn't changed a thing so far as strategy went, but that it may have run a bit harder. "Our people run until they drop," he said. "And we played six or seven Americans on our side tonight. This game has got a hell of a future here.
"What was lacking on the Dallas side was offense. Rigby only had to make six saves. Rote was never much of a factor. Dunleavy all season long has taken care of the other side's target man, and he sure did it tonight," Miller said.
"In England we play hard," Dunleavy said. "Rote understands. He accepted me hitting him hard and I accepted him hitting me. I kept it physical and hard, so he would always know I was there. Rote had a lot of pressure on him, it must have been on his mind. I don't think I played such a great game. After all, Rote was Rookie of the Year but that still means he is a rookie."
"What this means," said McCloskey, "is that we've got to go to work and figure out a way to top ourselves."