Midway through the second half Wednesday night, the Washington Diplomats' North America Soccer League play-off hopes seemed to be resting at the bottom of murky Tampa Bay.

But the Dips, using a slowdown offense and taking advantage of two Tampa Bay defensive lapses in a 1 minutes 6-second span, used a pair of Alan Green goals to upset the Rowdies, 2-1, before 8,398 booing fans.

The Diplomats closed to 19 points back of the third-place Rowdies in their division, a long way to be sure but not as long as it looked when Tampa Bay's Derek Smethurst scored a penalty kick at 55:59. A loss most assuredly would have removed Washington from playoff contention.

"First off. I want to say we played a brilliant game." Washington coach Alan Spavin said. "We felt that if we had possession of the ball long enough, the crowd would get down on them (Tampa Bay) and pull some pressure on."

It was the Dips who were feeling the pressure until Green came to the rescue with goals at 67:57 and 68:53. Following that, Washington dropped just about everyone back on defense and killed what remained of the Rowdies' chances.