COLUMBIA, MD., JUNE 2 -- The Maryland Bays won their sixth straight home game tonight with a 2-0 American Soccer League victory over the Washington Stars, delighting a club-record crowd of 2,823 at Cedar Lane Park.
Former U.S. national team player Rob Ryerson scored late in the first half, and defender Paul Rutenis sealed the victory with a header in the 84th minute.
The Stars (3-8) lost for the fourth time in five matches, virtually ending their hopes for a second straight Northern Division title.
"So far, it's been great," Bays first-year coach Pete Caringi said.
While most teams -- amateur or professional -- prefer to create the attack from the back, the Bays utilize the speed and skill of striker Jean Harbor and speedy wing Phillip Gyau to surprise the opponent with quick attacks.
Ryerson put the Bays ahead with five minutes left in the first half on a 16-yard volley shot into the left side of the net.
The play developed when a corner kick was deflected to the top of the penalty box. Stars defender Ronald Simmons was unable to clear and Ryerson, a former all-American at Nevada-Las Vegas, smacked the bouncing ball past Stars goalkeeper Neil Cowley for his fourth goal.
The Stars, who had the ASL's best regular season record (14-6) last year, made occasional runs at goalie Steve Powers, but were shut out for the sixth time in 11 matches.
Bays defender Darryl Gee created the second goal at 83:20 with a well-placed free kick into the center of the penalty box. At 6 feet 5, Rutenis easily rose above the Stars defense and scored on an eight-yard header.
Washington's best chances came in the 33rd and 36th minutes. Powers made a superb diving save on John Kerr's booming free kick that was redirected by a Bays defender as it entered the box.
Later, Scott Snyder received Sam Sumo's lead pass as he entered the left side of the box and sent a 16-yarder over the crossbar. After the Bays made it 2-0, Powers robbed Steve Boardman from close range.
Cowley, who missed the previous three games with an injury, made a sparkling save in the 25th minute as Gyau broke in alone on the left wing and drilled a nine-yard shot on goal. Diplomats Fall
The Washington Diplomats fell to 4-4 after losing to the Boston Bolts, 2-1, at Boston's Nickerson Field last night.
The Bolts (5-4) broke a 1-1 halftime tie at the 87:35 mark. Leonel Suazo scored Washington's goal off assists from Salvador Coreas and Luis Ramierez-Zapata at 43:58.