Maybe coach Gary Hindley needs to push his halftime pep talks up a few minutes. Or petition the American Professional Soccer League for shorter halves.
Whatever, the Maryland Bays need to come up with an antidote for the final moments of the first half. This week's closing lapse proved decisive, as a goal in the final 10 seconds of the opening half sparked the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks to a 3-1 victory, the defending champion Bays' first loss in 18 games.
The week before, a late first-half goal by Colorado had awakened the Bays (11-1). But Saturday in Newark, Calif., it was San Francisco Bay (12-2) that gained the momentum, getting a pair of goals from reserve forward Chance Fry to take a 3-0 lead before Maryland could meekly answer with a lone score from Kevin Sloan at 67:33.
But for Hindley, the damage had been done before the second half even began. "It was a real letdown," he told The Sun of Jeff Baicher's late first-half score. "And it meant that we had to take some chances in the second half in order to catch up."
Those chances resulted in Blackhawks' counterattacks and an insurmountable 3-0 deficit. It also resulted in the Bays falling out of first place for the first time this year. The Bays, who trail the Blackhawks by five points (94-89) in the APSL Western Conference, get a chance for revenge at RFK Stadium in D.C. on Aug. 10.