An indoor season full of promise lies ahead for the Baltimore Bays.
First, they must conclude a frustrating outdoor season filled with injuries and one-goal losses when they play host to the Hampton Roads Hurricanes tonight at UMBC Stadium.
The Bays (6-11) never got out of the starting block in their second outdoor season in the U.S. Interregional Soccer League this spring.
Forward Tarik Walker, the team's leading scorer last year, was hampered with a hamstring injury from the start, missing some games and playing hurt in others.
Team leader Joe Barger missed most of the first half of the season with a sore knee. When he returned, Mark Mettrick went down with a knee injury. The two have not played in a game together this season.
Joe Layfield scored an overtime goal in a 3-2 victory against Hampton Roads earlier this season. It was the only game he has played in.
Bays coach Kevin Healey admitted the team experienced an abundance of injuries, but he put all excuses aside and noted the seven one-goal losses the Bays suffered.
"In seven overtime games, we lost five and won two. Turn that around and we're in the playoffs," he said.
"It's frustrating and disappointing when you look back. There were so many games with couldas and shouldas."
The Bays' 3-0 win against Philadelphia last Sunday was their fourth in their past seven games. Going 5-3 in their last eight sounds pretty good to Healey.
"There's a great deal of team togetherness and we've stayed focused and know we're building a winner for the future," Healey said.
And then there's the unfinished business of the indoor season. The Bays breezed through the regular season unbeaten last winter before being upset in the opening game of the playoffs in Baltimore.
Opponent: Hampton Roads Hurricanes
Site: UMBC Stadium
Outlook: The Bays (6-11) finish their second outdoor season in the U.S. Interregional Soccer League against the Hurricanes. Earlier in the season, the Bays traveled to Hampton Roads, Va., and came away with a 3-2 overtime win as Joe Layfield provided the game-winner. Overtime and one-goal games have not been on the Bays' side this season. They've lossed seven games by one goal -- five in overtime. On Sunday, the Bays beat Philadelphia, 3-0, with second-half goals from Danny Santoro, Rob Elliott and Joe Barger.