The Washington Stars erupted for five second-half goals, three by reserve Herodotus "Popee" James, to snap a three-game losing streak last night with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Diplomats in an American Soccer League match before 759 at RFK Stadium.

James, from Woodbridge via Liberia, was a first-half replacement for midfielder Steve Hayes, who suffered a possible fractured left leg in a collision with a Diplomats defender. Scoreless at halftime, James became the first player in Stars' history to record a hat trick.

John Kerr added two goals as the Stars (4-9) set a club record for goals in a game. It was only their second win in their last seven matches.

The Diplomats (4-5) lost their third straight.

James opened the scoring in the 48th minute when he collected a loose ball in the center of the penalty box and converted from 10 yards. Kerr set up the goal with a long crossing pass that drew goal keeper Vojislav Stanisic off the goal line.

Kerr, who also plays professionally in Northern Ireland, scored his first goal of the season at 51:07. Fernando Lopez made a long pass through the middle of the Diplomats defense to Kerr, who beat Stanisic to the ball and pushed it into the right corner.

James finished a pretty sequence in the 68th minute, one-timing Chris Maier's pass into the left corner from seven yards. After Luis Ramirez Zapata volleyed Leonel Suazo's pass from close range at 76:12 to provide the Diplomats goal, James scored his third on a 10-yard rebound shot in the 87th minute.

Kerr completed the onslaught on a partial breakaway with six seconds left.

"Popee frustrates the {heck} out of me," Stars Coach John Kerr Sr. said. "He's late for practices, late for games -- a real space cadet. But he's also a wonderful talent."

The Stars had the better of the play in the first half, but came up empty on three good scoring chances. In the 13th minute, Kerr snuck into the penalty box and passed to Doug Davies, who deked Stanisic and had an open net from seven yards. However, Diplomats defender Steve Kokulis dropped back and blocked Davies' seven-yard shot on the goal line.

Kerr had two excellent chances thwarted by Stanisic, who made excellent saves in the 20th and 25th minutes.

For the Diplomats, Suazo's 16-yard shot from the left side missed the right corner by a few feet in the fourth minute and Salvador Coreas's 22-yarder toward the upper right corner was tipped away by Neil Cowley in the 38th minute.

The match was delayed 15 minutes in the first half when Hayes collided with a Diplomats defender and was removed from the field on a stretcher. He missed the first half of the season with a fractured right leg.