Since the Maryland Bays played eight of the first 10 matches at their cozy home in Columbia, most American Soccer League fans had only heard the whispers about the dazzling duo that has been leaving opponents in the dust.
Yesterday, the Washington Diplomats and 1,428 spectators at RFK Stadium learned firsthand about Phillip Gyau and Jean Harbor, who combined for all the Bays' goals in a 4-2 victory.
The win came two days after a 3-1 home loss to Fort Lauderdale and moved Maryland (9-2) into a first-place tie with the Albany Capitals (9-4) in the Northern Division.
The Diplomats (5-6) missed a chance to move from fourth to second place in the Southern Division. They have allowed nine goals in their last two home matches.
Ex-Diplomat Harbor scored on a penalty kick in the first half and a wicked, 15-yard shot in the second half. Gyau, a Howard University graduate from Clinton, Md., made two brilliant runs to account for his seventh and eighth goals.
Luis Zapata had a goal and an assist for the Diplomats.
The match was a sweet homecoming for four ex-Diplomats: Harbor, goalkeeper Charlie Arndt, defender Darryl Gee and midfielder Omid Namazi.
Bays Coach Pete Caringi "told the guys who played for the Diplomats last year that he would give us a shot today," Arndt said. "But we have such a strong team, it doesn't matter who's out there."
Arndt, from Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, was sold to the Bays last month after he complained to the league office that the Diplomats issued him a bad check. Diplomats owner Julio Pinon denies the charge. But last week, Arndt said, Pinon issued him another check.
Harbor's and Gyau's blazing speed gave the Diplomats fits from the start when Marcelo Claros took down Harbor from behind in the penalty box. Harbor converted the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.
It was Gyau's turn in the 40th minute when he beat a defender to Rob Ryerson's lead pass on the left flank and pushed a 12-yard shot past goalie Vosislav Stanisic.
After Leonel Suazo scored for the Diplomats at 52:32, Gyau and Harbor again worked their magic. Ryerson made another excellent pass. Gyau collected it, dribbled by his defender and scored into the left side of the net.
Eighty-three seconds later, Harbor weaved through three defenders and sent a rocket shot just under the crossbar from 15 yards.
"We're not supposed to like big fields," Caringi joked about the team's success at its small home field.
Zapata converted a penalty kick late in the match to complete the scoring.