Looking ahead to tomorrow's game with the Sheffield club team from England was a potential problem for the Maryland Bays last night at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia.
With American pride, the U.S. World Cup scouts and a huge crowd waiting in the wings, the game at hand against lowly Penn-Jersey could have been an afterthought.
But coach Gary Hindley said he drilled his club on the importance of putting league play first, exhibition play a distant second.
"We don't get points in the standings for beating Sheffield, we get them for beating Penn-Jersey," Hindley said.
His message was not lost as the Bays took it to the Spirit, breaking their scoring record in a 5-0 rout.
"We know we're going to get our goals," said defender Joe Barger. "Our goal in this game was to keep them off the board. We wanted to let our defensive work create the offense. We wanted a shutout and we got it."
The Bays (13-2) were impermeable at midfield and each of the first four goals originated there, the same way Hindley had drawn the plays in practice.
"We knew their defense was weak and we had to capitalize on it," said Hindley, whose team has taken six straight and four this season from the Spirit, including a 4-2 victory last Saturday in Camden, N.J. "That's the best part about our forwards -- when they get the ball they go directly to the net. We don't make 12 passes getting it there."
The charge caused the Spirit defense great embarrassment, as forwards Jean Harbor and Brian Haynes, and midfielders Jeff Agoos, Kevin Sloan and Bruce Murray moved down the wings virtually unmolested, grabbing four goals in the first 40 minutes.
"We didn't expect it to be this easy," Haynes said of the Spirit, who forced first-place San Francisco (15-2) to struggle to a 2-1 victory on penalty kicks Saturday night.
Haynes, who scored the first and third goals, said the early offensive push was the difference.
"We made it easy for ourselves by getting some quick goals," he said. "They played a tough game [Saturday night] and they had some travel so we knew that they would be tiring a bit in the second half."
The Bays also got goals from Harbor, Murray and Sloan, who has scored in 10 of his last 11 games.
Bays goalie Steve Powers made just three saves in recording his fourth shutout of the season behind tough team defense.
"We played a solid 90 minutes, concentrating the whole time and not allowing breakdowns," said Powers, who played at the University of Maryland. "It's real easy when you have a 5-0 lead to just let a guy get by you at the end of the game because you don't have the legs. Our guys played with a lot of pride."
Hindley is looking for the same kind of effort tomorrow night against a much tougher team of hungry Englishmen who want to show their soccer superiority in America.
TH "I guarantee you it will be a lot tougher [tomorrow]," Hindley said.
Outspoken San Francisco coach Laurie Calloway was present at yesterday's game, scouting for the big game against the Bays Aug. 10 at RFK Stadium in D.C. Calloway, who was on the sidelines telling Penn-Jersey players how awful their team was playing, was ejected for abusive language in his team's 3-1 victory over the Bays three weeks ago on the West Coast . . . Tomorrow night's game against Sheffield begins at 7:35. Less than 1,000 tickets ($8.50 for adults and $5.50 for children) remain.