The way Soccer Bowl started, it looked as if Seattle would play the home-team role this time. The Sounders had almost all of the crowd support, probably because San Diego and Seattle at least have the Pacific Coast in common, and all the early play was theirs, BRING PRO SOCCER BACK TO ORANGE COUNTY read a banner produced by the Surf Wipeout Club, clearly a last-ditch guerrilla unit battling for the revival of the now-defunct California Surf. The Wipeouts cheered almost hysterically as Peter Ward, the Sounders' English striker, came close to heading in a pass by Gary Mills. Next it was Jeff Stock, a home-grown product from Tacoma, Wash., chipping a left-foot shot that Hubert Birkenmeier, the Cosmos' goalie, misjudged. The ball was just wide. Then the Sounders forced three successive corners. High balls were obviously troubling Birkenmeier, who looked shaky.
When Steve Daley, the Sounders' most dangerous attacker, just missed with a 25-yard screamer and, moments later, Birkenmeier sank to his knees to save a shot from Mark Peterson, it looked as if the game would surely go Seattle's way. It was shortly thereafter, at 30:17, that Chinaglia went into his act.
"What people don't understand," Alan Hinton, Seattle's coach, said later, "is Chinaglia's sheer strength. Look at the way he's built, the shoulders. He can bull a defender right off the ball, entirely legitimately, and get his shot in."
And Dargle added ruefully, "He turned away to shield the ball from me"—those big shoulders were the barrier—"and instead of holding my ground, I tried to go for the ball." That gave Chinaglia the opening to twist and get a fast shot in. "It was my sort of ball," he said. "I snap it up." He sure did, nullifying all of Seattle's brilliant first-half play. The goal was the Cosmos' first really threatening movement; for the half Seattle out-shot them 10-5.
In the second half, Daley's powerful running might have put Seattle on equal terms. He broke through on the right and found Ward, unmarked, in front of goal. His pass to Ward was too far in front. Offside. And that was virtually that. By the end, even Sounder toughies like Alan Hudson were permitting themselves to be hustled off the ball.
Hunt summed it all up. "If Seattle was going to win," he said, "it was going to be in the first half hour. That's the way they always play.
"For us," he went on with a fine disregard for mixed metaphor, "it was a question of hanging in and climbing the mountain. You can write Giorgio off, but he won the championship for us."
Nevertheless, the way the Cosmos hung on to their slender lead presented no cause for rejoicing by Samuels and franchise owners hoping for the league's resuscitation. It was dour, possession soccer. "They came to win, not to entertain," said Hinton after the game.
The most gripping moment of the day, in fact, came in the Cosmos locker room at game's end, as Roberto Caba�as and the rest of the team's Latin players shimmied to a samba beat, keeping time by crashing Gatorade container lids together, and sang " Carlos Alberto" to the tune of Guantanamera. Wearily, running with sweat, Alberto smiled, which was more than the NASL can do these days.