Michael Brady is a very talented soccer player. He earned first-team all-America honors a year ago. When he is near the opponent's goal and the ball is near his foot, Michael Brady becomes an artist.

At the University of Maryland yesterday, Brady scored three goals in the first half and American University (2-2) came away with a 3-0 victory over Maryland (1-1-1).

At six minutes, Brady took a pass from left fullback Greg McConnell and softly lifted the ball directly over the head of Terrapin goalkeeper Steve Powers, who had strayed from the goal to meet Brady.

"I saw the keeper coming," said Brady, a native of Coventry, England. "He narrowed the angle. I just put it over his head. I'm always doing that in practice (shooting a parabolic trajectory). Coach doesn't like it much, but it's my favorite."

Brady claimed his second and most picturesque goal at 25:35. Midfielder Vasken Demirjian crossed the ball to Brady, who redirected it on a header into the right corner of the net, just beyond Powers' outstretched hand.

"I'm not reputed for being good with my head. My teammates are always sticking me about it," Brady said, smiling. "I enjoyed it because I don't score many that way."

Approximately five minutes later, Brady and the Eagles scored their third goal.

Demirjian sent a long, crossfield pass to McConnell, who then crossed it in front. An AU player shot and the goalie parried, but the rebound bounced out to Brady. He kicked a point-blank shot that Powers blocked, but could not hold. With Powers on his knees, Brady kicked the ball by him.

But if Brady is an artist, the AU show isn't a one-man exhibition.

"We don't build our offense around him," said Coach Peter Mehlert. "Like any good center forward, he's going to make space. If you mark him tight, he'll get the ball to his teammates."

Midfielders Demirjian and David Nakhid also played creatively. Mehlert believes that Nakhid, from Trinidad, may even be more skillful than Brady.

Defensively, senior Paul Tarricone, the field leader, played aggressively. In goal, Stephen Giordano made six saves.