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New Bays look to get acquainted in opener tonight


division of the U.S. Interregional Soccer League, offers an apt analogy as the Baltimore Bays take on the Delaware Wizards in Newark tonight to open their 16-game schedule.

"It's like entering a black box," Healey said. "It's our first game. It's their first. We know very little about each other."

Healey does know that the Wizards' coach is Joe Brown, who has coached Maryland youth teams. He knows that three Wizards played college soccer in Maryland -- Derek Bujak (Essex Community College), Lance Johnson (Towson State) and Shawn Miller (UMBC).

"Because they have those guys [to brief the team], Delaware knows more about us than we do about them," Healey said. "We don't have a scouting report. We understand they have a few quick forwards.

"We'll be feeling each other out. If we have a good, hard game, and it draws some people, it'll be fun."

The Bays will play the Connecticut Wolves, also on the road, tomorrow night before returning for their home opener against the Raleigh Flyers on May 1 at UMBC Stadium. General manager Ben Neil says the club has sold 282 season tickets.

Everyone on the Bays' roster has a Maryland connection. Most played for Baltimore-area high schools and many went to local colleges. A few came from out of state to play for Maryland colleges.

Two players, assistant coach/midfielder Billy Ronson and defender Mark Mettrick, are natives of England. Their Maryland connection is that they played for the Blast of the defunct Major Soccer League.

At the outset, Healey is looking for production and leadership from a half-dozen players -- goalie Steve Powers, defenders Joe Barger and John Karpovich, midfielders Rob Ryerson, Scott Geraghty and Ronson and forward John Stroud.

"Karpovich is a big plus," Healey said of the former Blast and Maryland Bays player who went to Loyola College. "At Loyola, he was on the teams that went to the NCAA final eight two straight years in the late 1980s. We also have Barger and [Jeff] Nattans from those teams."

The Bays will be without two players tonight. Mettrick is in England for his brother's wedding and another defender, Chris Reif, is out with a pinched nerve in his leg.

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