VISTA United seemed in dire straits yesterday before its under-19 quarterfinal match at the Washington Area Girls Soccer (WAGS) Tournament: The Fairfax-based team started an hour late because of overtime in the preceding game; the temperature was in the eighties and VISTA was playing its fourth game in 40 hours.

The TOSA Kicks' defense also mystified VISTA for much of the game, before goals by Molly Harrington and Robyn Smith gave VISTA a 2-0 victory and a berth in today's semifinals at Fort Belvoir.

Harrington's 10-yard shot into the top left corner of the net came midway through the second half, seconds after a diving save by VISTA goalkeeper Cheryl Carr on a penalty kick shifted the game's momentum. Smith added the insurance goal with about five minutes remaining.

Last year VISTA United won the 1973 "A" flight championship, the year signifying when the players were born.

This year's route to the championship game, scheduled for later today, will be a bigger chore for VISTA, which had to win yesterday's final first-round game against Magic '73 of Dallas to advance to the quarterfinals.

Three goals by forward Julie Seamon made quick work of that, as VISTA won, 4-0.

"In the second half we opened up the field and used the space more effectively," said Coach Bob Childs.

Each of Seamon's goals was assisted by Sherry Worsham. Smith added VISTA's fourth score on a penalty kick.

"The girls settled down and relaxed in the second half," Childs said. "When we play well, we can beat anybody in the country. When we don't, we can still win, but it's a struggle."

TOSA, which earned a a scoreless tie against the No. 1 seed Fairfax Express Saturday, had advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over the Lincroft (N.J.) Skeeters.

Among other local teams, the Fairfax Express defeated MS Surf (Calif.), 5-1, then upended D'Feeters (Tex.), 2-0, to advance to today's semifinals. The Columbia Crusaders beat the Downingtown (Pa.) Spirit, 4-2.

In the college flight, third-ranked North Carolina was tied by Central Florida, 2-2. George Washington defeated Roanoke, 2-0, and Mary Washington and Maryland tied, 1-1.