After being eliminated from playoff contention last week, the Baltimore Bays had the motivation of playing spoiler to the Richmond Kickers and trying to end their inaugural season with a victory.
The Bays accomplished neither task, falling to Richmond, 3-2, in a U.S. Interregional Soccer League game before 1,754 -- the largest crowd of the season -- at UMBC Stadium.
Baltimore, which has been involved in 12 one-goal games, allowed three goals or more in six of its last 10 games.
The season finale for the Bays would be decided by a simple miscommunication on defense. After getting a feed from Pat Burke, Richmond forward John Dugan had a clear lane at the goal after Bays defenders John Stroud and Mark Mettrick got tangled up. With 34:10 left in the game, Dugan hit a 15-yard shot that was partially deflected by diving goalkeeper Steve Powers but fell in the goal for the game-winner.
The Kickers (7-8) outshot the Bays, 22-12, to even the season series. Baltimore (5-11) beat Richmond, 3-2, in their other meeting, on May 28.
The Kickers, who last won a road game on May 15, fell behind early.
On the Bays' first possession, midfielder Sam Mangione tapped a lead pass to forward Rob Elliott. Facing charging Richmond goalie Joe O'Carroll, Elliott headed a ball that bounced over O'Carroll and bounced four times on the ground before slowly rolling into the goal.
The goal, which came off Mangione's team-leading sixth assist, was converted 1:30 into the game -- the earliest score of the season for the Bays.
Richmond scored the next two goals to take the lead.
The Kickers scored on a head ball by Dugan, off a Matt Borgard corner kick, at 20:50 into the half. The goal came 20 seconds after Richmond failed to convert a two-on-one break.
The second goal was scored by Khary Stockton, who only needed to chip a 7-yard shot into the goal, with 11:12 left in the first half. Stockton had the easy one-on-one opportunity on goal because Mettrick stopped his pursuit, anticipating an offside call that was not made.
Bays defender Joe Barger powered a 24-yard drive into the left end of the goal to tie the score at 2 with 20 seconds left in the half. It was the second time this season that the Bays had scored in the last minute before halftime.
Tarik Walker, the Bays' leading scorer with 11 points, missed his second straight game because of complications with chickenpox.