TAMPA, Fla. -- Kevin Sloan's unassisted goal 25 minutes into the second half gave the Maryland Bays a 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay in an American Professional Soccer League match at the University of South Florida Soccer Stadium Saturday.
The victory kept the Bays (5-0) atop the Western Conference standings. It was Maryland's 13th straight APSL victory, including playoffs, during the past two seasons.
Tampa Bay (1-4) lost its third straight. Maryland, the defending APSL champion, has defeated the Rowdies six straight times since 1989, including a 3-0 win May 25 at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia, Md.
Sloan's goal was set up by Jean Harbor, who dribbled past two defenders deep into Tampa Bay territory. Harbor got off a shot that was blocked by Tampa Bay goalie Winston DuBose in front of the goal mouth. But Sloan recovered the rebound and chipped a right-footer past DuBose.
"I get a lot of my goals by setting up within six to eight yards of Jean and looking for the rebound," said Sloan, explaining his third goal of the year. "With his [Harbor's] shot, few goalies are going to be able to stop it without a rebound coming out because he gets so much behind it."
Tampa Bay had two chances to tie the match and send it to overtime in the final minute, but Chris Brauchle and Tom Reasoner both missed wide left from close range.
The Rowdies had more scoring chances throughout the match. But a strong defensive effort by the Bays kept them silent.
In the first half, defenseman Darryl Gee's quick reactions near the goal thwarted two Tampa Bay opportunities and Maryland goalie Steve Powers stopped Reasoner's blast from 15 yards.
Gee said Tampa Bay was more aggressive than in last week's game in Columbia.
"They went to the ball better, especially in the second half," Gee said. "We thought they wouldn't be as fit in the heat down here, but they kept coming at us."
The Bays will play host to Miami on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Cedar Lane Park. They will play Catuense of Brazil in an exhibition match a week from today at RFK Stadium in Washington at 4:05 p.m.