American soccer writing, history & data.
The same six teams returned for the 1988 Western Soccer Alliance season. The teams would play home-and-home series against each other plus two games against Canadian Soccer League clubs. The games against the Calgary Kickers and Vancouver 86ers would count in the league standings. In a slight change from the prior season, matches tied at regulation would go to two mandatory, not sudden death, 10-minute overtime periods and, if necessary, a penalty kick tie-breaker.
Now firmly and amateur/semi-professional league, the San Jose Earthquakes were the only WSA team capable of paying its players. The team was buoyed by $800,000 from new ownership which allowed it to go all-professional. The players would be paid by dividing a portion of the total gate receipts evenly among them.
On the other side, F.C. Seattle Storm only had an operating budget of $150,000 for the entire season. But, even given those financial restraints, the club took first-place in the regular season. On July 23, 1988, the San Jose Earthquakes beat the San Diego Nomads on penalty kicks to win the first playoff game of the WSA American Airlines Soccer Championships. On July 30, the Seattle Storm blanked San Jose 5-0 before 5600 at Seattle's Memorial Stadium to win the season title.
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