The Albany Capitals are 90 minutes from writing their own Cinderella story in the American Professional Soccer League. If they do, it will be by using the tactics that worked so well in the semifinals.
The Capitals upset the Maryland Bays in the semis, by winning in Albany and then forcing Maryland to win a regulation game and a 30-minute mini-game to move into the finals. The Bays won the regulation game here in Columbia, but delay tactics by the Capitals forced a shootout in the mini-game, where Albany goalkeeper Scoop Stanisic came up perfect for the victory.
PTC That game put an end to the Bays' 11-0 record at home and cut short the team's dream of defending its APSL title. Afterward, Capitals coach John Bramley said matter-of-factly his team would win the championship "because we just beat the best team in the league."
Tomorrow, the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks will have 90 minutes to prove Bramley wrong, as they put their own 11-1 home record on the line.
"We don't have to change a lot, scheme-wise," said Blackhawks coach Laurie Calloway, whose team lost Game 1 in Albany, 3-1. "We just have to take advantage of our opportunities."
Calloway sounds eerily like Bays coach Gary Hindley, who said much the same thing after his team outplayed Albany but lost.
Not that Albany's Bramley thinks it's going to be easy.
"Game 2 is going to be difficult for us," he said. "They will have their backs to the wall and we'll be without [Paul] Mariner and [forward Lee] Tschantret, because of accumulated yellow cards . . . but we'll be ready."
If the Blackhawks are wise, they'll remember Albany played without four starters against the Bays in their mini-game and it made no difference. Albany still won.