Bays bringing it home for crucial stretch drive

June 19, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Baltimore Bays coach Kevin Healey called it "a must-win situation."

The Bays were coming off a 2-0 loss the day before against the Charleston Battery -- the team they face tomorrow afternoon at UMBC Stadium -- and concluding a four-game road trip against the Columbia (S.C.) Spirit earlier this month.

A win would put them at 3-6 overall, a respectable 2-2 on the road trip and in solid position to qualify for the playoffs -- all after an 0-4 start.

A loss would have been their third straight and put them at 2-7 and further down in the United States Interregional Soccer League Atlantic Division standings.

With three minutes remaining in the second half of a scoreless game, Bays captain Joey Barger pressed up from his outside fullback position and got behind the out-of-position goalkeeper to head in a chip from John Stroud for the game-winner.

Barger said it was just a matter of being "in the right place at the right time," but it was much more than that. It was a big goal at a big time, and Healey wasn't surprised it came from the 26-year-old Fallston High and Loyola College graduate.

"It was just a huge goal," said Healey.

"We're down in Columbia playing our second game in two nights. We both have about the same record and are both scrambling to make a run at the playoffs. Joe's always dangerous coming up from the back and he rose to the occasion with the head ball."

Tomorrow's match against fourth-place Charleston (5-2, 43 points) appears to be another "must-win situation" for the Bays, who are fifth in the Atlantic at 3-6 with 33 points. The top four teams in the division qualify for postseason play.

"We've said all along it's not where you start, but where you finish," Healey said.

"We dug ourselves a hole at the start and knew we could have either laid down the rest of the season or dug a little harder, fortunately, we've done the latter."

"With five home games left, we feel if we can put it together at home, we can make the playoffs. We're looking forward to getting home, getting some wins, scoring some goals for our fans and getting them excited for the stretch drive."

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