On the night they drew their largest home crowd of the season, the Washington Stars may have played the franchise's final home game.
With a merger between the Washington area's three American Soccer League teams expected to be announced after the season ends, the Stars closed their 1990 home schedule last night by drawing 3,412 spectators in a 2-0 loss to the Maryland Bays at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax.
It was the biggest crowd of the season and the third best in the club's three-year history.
"Yes, it's probably the last home game," Stars owner John Koskinen said. "We're not sure what that means or where we're going to go with it, but at this stage we need to take a hard look at how we present the game."
Last month, Koskinen and Washington Diplomats owner Julio Pinon said that preliminary discussions about a possible merger among their teams and the Bays had begun. If the teams unite, the new club probably would play at RFK Stadium.
The owners have not recently discussed a merger, Koskinen said, but "our goal is a resolution by Labor Day."
With the victory, the Bays (13-5, 38 points) kept their ASL playoff chances alive heading into the final week of the regular season. The Albany Capitals (12-5, 36) and Penn-Jersey Spirit (13-5, 39) played last night and will play again Sunday night.
Bays midfielder Johnny Abe scored on a 16-yard shot in the 11th minute, forward Kurt Dasbach scored on a rebound at 54:30 and goalkeeper Steve Powers recorded Maryland's fourth shutout of the season.
Abe's goal came on a 16-yard shot that beat goalie Neil Cowley to the lower left corner. Dasbach converted into an open net after Jean Harbor hit the right post and then had another shot deflected by Cowley.
Bays forward Phillip Gyau, the ASL's leading scorer, and Stars forward Bruce Murray were in Milwaukee for the U.S. national team's exhibition match with East Germany. And Stars striker John Kerr Jr. is training with a French Second Division club.
This was the second time Gyau, a Gwynn Park High School and Howard University graduate, has been in the U.S. team's lineup. He played in three games last year, but was not invited back for the World Cup.