How to connect SQLPlus without tnsnames.ora

Hi
I am trying to use SQLPlus to connect to database directly using just the connect string (ie without referencing to tnsnames.ora)

I have this in my tnsnames.ora
POD =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS_LIST =
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = PODS.GATE.COM)(PORT = 1521))
)
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SID = ODS)
)
)

I can connect to the database if I use the command below, obviously the SQLPlus is refering the tnsnames.ora that I have)
sqlplus USER/PASSWORD@POD

However, if I do this, I will the error shown below.
sqlplus USER/PASSWORD@//PODS.GATE.COM:1521/ODS

ORA-12154: TNS:could not resolve the connect identifier specified

Is there any way, I can connect to the database without refering to tnsnames.ora as defined in the TNS_ADMIN system environment variables?

Thanks in advance for your help

KH Ting