Maryland's speedy strikers, Jean Harbor and Phillip Gyau, had been separated in the first game of the American Soccer League semifinals series against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. But they were reunited last night before a franchise-record 2,953 spectators at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia, and the Bays rolled into the ASL championship series with a 4-1 victory over the Rowdies.
The Bays, who defeated the Rowdies in overtime, 2-1, Friday in Tampa, will play the defending champion Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the series that starts here Saturday.
The Strikers completed a two-game sweep of the Albany Capitals with a 2-0 victory yesterday in Boca Raton, Fla.
Freed from a commitment to play today for the U.S. national team at the Marlboro Cup of New York, Gyau retured to the lineup and scored the go-ahead goal in the 19th minute to give the Bays a 2-1 lead.
Gyau, who was serving a one-game suspension Friday for accumulating yellow cards during the regular season, instead played for the United States against Brazilian club Flamengo. The U.S. team defeated Sporting Lisbon, 2-1, in a Marlboro Cup consolation match yesterday and it took the threat of legal action by Bays owner John Liparini to free Gyau from his national team commitment.
"Both of them are obviously a threat," Rowdies Coach Ken Fogarty said. "We just didn't mark them tight enough. You have to negate them as a unit and we weren't able to do that."
No one was happier to see Gyau than Harbor, who scored two goals and had many threats in the penalty area.
"Jean had fire in his eyes," said Bays Coach Pete Caringi. "I could tell in the locker room before the game he wanted to play."
Gyau, the ASL's most valuable player, scored his 13th goal of the season on an assist from Harbor. With a burst of speed, Harbor charged down the right sideline and crossed to Gyau, who settled the ball and banged it into the left corner.
Harbor needed only 38 seconds at the start of the second half to give the Bays a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the game. John Abe ended the scoring in the 73rd minutes, deflecting Jeff Nattans's long throw-in.
Harbor had given the Bays a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute on a stinging 15-yard shot from the right side of the penalty area, assisted by Abe. The Rowdies scored their goal in the eighth minute on Jeff Jones's goal from five yards. Martin Hill eluded a defender on the right side of the penalty area and made a short pass from the end line that Jones one-touched inside the right post.
GOALS: Tampa Bay: Jones, 7:35; Maryland: Harbor, 4:30; 45:38; Gyau, 18:45; Abe, 72:36.
ASSISTS: Tampa Bay: Hill; Maryland: Abe 2, Harbor, Nattans.
SHOTS: Tampa Bay 10, Maryland 17.
SAVES: Tampa Bay: Dubose 4; Maryland: Powers 4.