The Baltimore Stars (2-3-1), the top defensive team in the U.S. Football League's Eastern Conference, today will try to reach .500 for the first time this season, against the last-place team in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Express.

In today's 4 p.m. game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles (1-5), which has beaten only San Antonio, will be playing its second game without quarterback Steve Young. He hyperextended his left knee in the Express' loss to Arizona and is listed as doubtful. Backup Frank Seurer had a rough first start last week, getting intercepted four times as the Express was held to a team-low 177 total yards.

Further adding to Los Angeles' offensive problems is an inexperienced line. Tackles Jeff Hart and all-USFL Gary Zimmerman are out with injuries and guard Mike Durrette is doubtful. Baltimore's defensive line, which sacked Houston quarterback Jim Kelly four times last week, will try to capitalize.

In their victory over Houston, the Gamblers' first loss since last season, the Stars' defense allowed Kelly to throw for 393 yards, but intercepted three passes to hold the Gamblers to their lowest point total ever. Safety Mike Lush had two, returning one 56 yards for a score.

Stars quarterback Chuck Fusina had perhaps his best game of the season against Houston, throwing for 318 yards and one touchdown. Los Angeles Coach John Hadl said this week that Fusina might be the key. "He's not a flashy type guy, he just gets it done," Hadl said. "I think he's smart and a winner."

A victory would move the Stars from fifth to third place in the Eastern Conference if New Jersey loses in today's home game against Houston. With 12 games remaining, Baltimore Coach Jim Mora said he feels the toughest part of the Stars' schedule might be over. Only three of the teams the Stars will play, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Birmingham, presently have winning records.

Today's game will be the second for the Stars without running back Kelvin Bryant (318 yards, 4.5 average, two touchdowns), who aggravated a right hamstring muscle against Birmingham March 25. However, Allen Harvin has filled in nicely, gaining 113 yards and scoring one touchdown against Houston.