The Maryland Bays clinched an American Professional Soccer League playoff spot with a 5-0 victory over the Albany Capitals last night at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia.
The five goals give the Bays 43 for the year, breaking the single-season league record, which they had set last season.
The victory was the Bays' 15th of the season, which ties a league record set last season by the Bays, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Francisco Bay Blackhawks. The Bays have lost twice.
The five goals equaled the Bays' highest output this season. They beat the Penn-Jersey Spirit, 5-0, July 28.
"You never expect to score five goals in a professional game,Bays coach Gary Hindley said.
The victory boosted the Bays' Western Division lead over second-place San Francisco to 15 points. The teams will meet Saturday at RFK Stadium in Washington.
Maryland led, 1-0, after a sluggish first half. The teams had played Saturday night in Albany, N.Y., where the Bays took a 4-3 overtime win.
And the Capitals (9-9) appeared to be dragging from that effort and an 8 1/2 -hour bus trip that included a 1 1/2 -hour delay when the vehicle overheated. The Capitals arrived just 20 minutes before game time yesterday.
Phillip Gyau, named Player of the Game for his two-goal, one-assist effort, scored the first goal unassisted at 22:12. He scored the second goal at 54:03.
"It was by far his [Gyau's] best game of the season," Hindley said.
Gyau had just one goal and two assists all season before last night.
"I injured my left hip while playing in Belgium, and it is starting to feel better now," Gyau said. "Tonight we just had too much speed up front. They were too tired to chase us down."
The Bays looked like a different team in the second half, and that pleased Hindley.
"We were just doing a waltz in the first half, but I had a talk with them at halftime, and we made up our mind we would come out strong the first 20 minutes of the second half," Hindley said. "It turned into a strong 45 minutes."
Gyau's second goal was a follow of a shot by Jean Harbor that had hit the far post.
Harbor, the league's leading scorer (14 goals, 9 assists, 37 points), came back at 55:13 to score in close off a double assist from John Abe and Gyau.
Kurt Dasbach, a late-game substitute, scored at 84:21 on a sensational bicycle shot off an assist from Scott Cook.
And Kevin Sloan, the league's second-leading scorer (12 goals, 3 assists, 27 points) powered the final goal into the upper left corner off an assist from Desmond Armstrong.
"The last two goals were a highlight film," Hindley said. "I was very pleased with those."
Steve Powers recorded his fifth shutout of the season before a paid crowd of 2,083.
Albany 0 0 -- 0
Maryland 1 4 -- 5
Goals: M--Gyau 2, Harbor, Dasbach, Sloan. Assists: M--Harbor Abe, Gyau, Cook, Armstrong. Saves: M--Powers 3; A--Steffen 6.