A matchup between the Maryland Bays and the Vancouver 86ers moved closer to reality last week when it was announced that the American Professional Soccer League champions would meet the Canadian Soccer League winners for the North American pro soccer title.
The first continental soccer championship game will be known as the Pepsi Cup and will be played Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Vancouver, which features Baltimore Blast strikers Domenic Mobilio and Dale Mitchell and former Blast team captain Carl Valentine, won the Canadian Soccer League championship, and the Bays will play for the APSL title Sept. 22 at 8:05 p.m. at Boston University's Nickerson Field.
The Bays (19-5) are the American Soccer League champions and will take on the Western Soccer League winners in a one-game showdown for the right to represent the APSL. The Western Soccer League title will be decided tomorrow night when the Los Angeles Heat battles the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks in San Jose, Calif.
Bays coach Pete Caringi said yesterday that the opportunity to play the 86ers should give his team extra incentive against the Heat or Blackhawks.
"Our guys are all excited about the chance to meet Vancouver," Caringi said. "We've been fighting for respect all season, and now we're in a great position to get a lot of it. But right now we have to concentrate on the Boston game. That would be another great win for us."
The Bays returned to workouts last week after a 10-day layoff following the 2-0 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers that wrapped up the team's first ASL title.
"Everybody returned to practice in good shape, and we're looking to get some scrimmages in now," said Caringi. "We're looking for an AstroTurf field with lights to play the Washington Stars club team in an exhibition game. We might play at Howard University."
NOTES: Bays striker Phillip Gyau will play for the U.S. national team Saturday when it meets the Trinidad & Tobago national team in an exhibition game in High Point, N.C.... The 23 APSL team owners will hold meetings in Boston Sept. 22 and 23 to chart the league's course for 1991. There has been talk that the Bays, Washington Stars and Washington Diplomats will merge in some fashion next season. But the success of the Bays may have changed Maryland owner John Liparini's mind about breaking up his team.