ALBANY, N.Y. -- It seems the only time the Maryland Bays have trouble scoring is when they visit upstate New York.
Earlier this season, in their first trip to Albany, the Bays were beaten by the Capitals, 3-0. It was the only time all year the high-scoring Bays were shut out. Last night, it nearly happened again, and as a result the Bays find themselves in a hole midway through the first round of the American Professional Soccer League playoffs.
Lee Tschantret's goal at 3 minutes, 27 seconds of the second overtime period gave the Capitals a surprising 2-1 victory over the defending champion Bays in the first game of their semifinal series before a crowd of 1,809 at Bleecker Stadium.
The two-game series concludes a week from today at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia. If the Bays win, the two teams would play a 30-minute mini-game to determine which team advances to the APSL championship.
"I never feel good with an 0-1 record in a two-game series," Maryland coach Gary Hindley said.
The winning goal came off a free kick, after which Tschantret simply scooped up a loose ball 10 yards out and hammered it past Maryland goalkeeper Steve Powers.
"I got lucky," Tschantret said. "The ball just came to me and I put it in."
The Bays came into the postseason as the APSL's Western Conference champions, with a record of 19-2 and a reputation for keeping the scoreboard busy. In four games they had outscored Albany, 13-7; in their previous two meetings, both in Maryland, the Bays had won by a combined margin of 9-1.
"I don't think anybody expected us to win this game," Tschantret said, and he was probably right. The Capitals, though, marked the Bays aggressively early on and took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Dave Smyth.
Smyth scored after teammate Ramiro Borja's header hit the crossbar and bounced back into play, leaving Powers out of position and Smyth with an open shot 5 yards in front of the net.
"That set the tone," Tschantret said. "It told Maryland that we were not going to roll over."
"I think that was very important," Hindley said of Albany's first goal. "We were a bit -- I don't want to say tentative -- but we played the way you play on the road. Basically, we gave them a rebound shot, and that was a big psychological advantage."
Albany coach John Bramley agreed.
"It was a dream start for us," he said. "It gave us that little bit of extra lift.
"I think the big thing about tonight was team spirit. We knew we'd have to suck it up."
The Bays attacked furiously in the second half and seemed to be controlling the flow of play, but until Kevin Sloan knocked in a rebound of a Jean Harbor header in the 31st minute, tying the score at 1-1, they had little to show for their effort.
"Unfortunately," Hindley said, "you only get a win or a loss based on goals scored in soccer -- not on time of possession."
& Maryland 0 1 0 0 -- 1
Albany 1 0 0 1 -- 2
Goals: M--Sloan; A--Smyth, Tschantret. Assists: M--Gelnovatch, Savic, Borja, Zwicklbauer, Jackson. Saves M--Powers 7; A--Stanisic 9.