Maryland Bays coach Gary Hindley said he went into the 1991 season trying to keep all his talented players happy.
But in the end, Hindley said yesterday: "I'm not sure if I kept anybody happy. But someone has to be in charge."
Even though Hindley didn't win any popularity contests this season, he won a lot of games. The Bays established an American Professional Soccer League record with 19 wins (19-2) and breezed to a first-place finish in the Western Conference with 158 points.
The San Francisco Bay Blackhawks, who were the overwhelming preseason choices to win the West, finished a distant second with 124 points and a 17-4 record.
The postseason awards came in droves for the Bays.
Hindley was named APSL Coach of the Year, forward Jean Harbor was the league MVP, midfielder Kevin Sloan was chosen to the APSL first team, forward Brian Haynes and defender Chris Reif were selected to the second team and defenders Jeff Agoos and George Gelnovatch were given honorable mention.
However, Hindley said the job is far from complete until the Bays repeat as APSL champions.
In order to give an encore performance, Maryland must defeat the Albany Capitals in a best-of-two semifinal series (a mini-game of 30 minutes will be played if series is tied at 1) and then turn back the winner of the other semifinal series between San Francisco and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The championship series will also be a best-of-two with a possible mini-game of 30 minutes immediately after Game 2.
The Bays will meet Albany and former Baltimore Blast goalkeeper Scoop Stanisic tonight at 7:35 in the first game of the series in Albany.
Stanisic, who was named to the APSL second team, shut out the Bays, 3-0, on July 22 with 12 saves.
"If we don't win the playoffs, what we've accomplished won't mean too much," said Hindley.
Opponent: Albany Capitals
Site: Bleecker Stadium, 7:35 p.m.
Outlook: This is the first game of the APSL semifinal series between Maryland and Albany. On paper, the Capitals (10-11 for 92 points) can't match up with the Bays (19-2 for 158 points). But Albany and G Scoop Stanisic own the only shutout, 3-0, over Maryland this season. However, the Bays came back to win three straight games over the Capitals. Maryland coach Gary Hindley said: "If we don't stay focused we will be in for a very long night. People like Stanisic, Paul Mariner, Ramiro Borja and Mike Masters can cause a lot of trouble." Spicing the series is past run-ins between Bays defender Joe Barger and Albany's Paul Mariner and Masters. U.S. National team players Bruce Murray and Desmond Armstrong are expected to be available for the Bays.