Here today, gone tomorrow.
That will be the story throughout the regular season for World Cup veterans Desmond Armstrong and Bruce Murray as they shuffle between the Maryland Bays and the U.S. national team.
It's uncertain exactly how many regular-season games Armstrong of Columbia and Murray of Germantown will play for the Bays. Armstrong said last week he would make about four to five games, but Bays coach Gary Hindley said he hoped to have the two World Cup players for 10 games.
Hindley said yesterday that Armstrong and Murray would be available for all the playoff games for the defending American Professional Soccer League champion Bays.
Armstrong and Murray will both be in Palo Alto, Calif., today playing for the U.S. national team against Argentina as the World Series of Soccer continues. First-year Bays defender Jeff Agoos, of the University of Virginia, will also be with the U.S. national team today.
They will all miss today's 6 p.m. Bays (2-0) home game against the Penn-Jersey Spirit (1-1) at RFK Stadium in Washington. It is one of four Bays home games at RFK this season.
The other seven home games will be played at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia.
If Agoos continues to impress U.S. national team coach Bora Milutinovic, he will join the summer-long shuffle that will present Hindley with some cohesion and playing-time problems.
Armstrong, Murray and Agoos made their debuts with the Bays on Saturday night at Cedar Lane Park in a 3-2 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on a penalty-kick shootout. Hindley said the three U.S. national team players will be in a miss one, play one mode for four games, beginning tonight.
That means Armstrong, Murray and Agoos will play in the next two home games at Cedar Lane Park (next Saturday against U.S. National team captain Peter Vermes and the Tampa Bay Rowdies) and June 8 against the Miami Freedom.
"It presents some obvious headaches," said Hindley, who had the luxury of bringing Armstrong and Agoos off the bench against Fort Lauderdale. "We not only have two World Cup players and Agoos, but we have a lot of other talented players who deserve to play. We'd like to change the image of how people look at Desmond and Bruce. We want them to be Maryland Bays players who occasionally have to go to the U.S. National team, instead of U.S. national team players who are on loan to the Bays."
With Armstrong, Murray and Agoos missing tonight, Hindley said he is contemplating "one or two lineup changes" that will get some of his other top players in the game.
"I haven't decided what moves I'll make," said Hindley. "But I need to keep my players sharp and satisfied with their playing time."
Some of Hindley's moves could involve midfielders Michael Brady, Bob Lilley and Sam Mangione, defender Jeff Nattans and forward Kurt Dasbach, who didn't play last week.