DALLAS -- The Baltimore Blast made enough mistakes and failed on enough opportunities in the first half to lose a game anywhere else. But the Blast was in Reunion Arena.
Billy Ronson recorded his third hat trick of the season and Scott Manning made several spectacular saves, as the Blast stopped the Dallas Sidekicks for a 6-5 victory before 8,123. Baltimore is 15-6 lifetime at the Sidekicks' home field, its best record in any foreign Major Soccer League arena.
But for the first 30 minutes of the game, the Blast looked less than spectacular in giving up the lead three times. The first goal was a fluke, but the Blast defense allowed one goal on a power play and another on a free kick.
"I sensed before the game we were not focused," head coach Kenny Cooper said. "We gave up a deflection for the first goal, a free kick [goal] and a power-play goal. I hammered them pretty hard at halftime because we have given up goals in these situations. In the second half we got more focused and, thankfully, went up."
After being denied on a power-play attempt in the opening minutes of the third quarter, the Blast regained a one-goal lead for the fourth time.
Richard Chinapoo, a former Sidekick, took one of his trademark, rocket-like shots from just inside the red line. Sidekicks goalie Joe Papaleo, diving to his right, got a hand on the shot but merely slowed it down.
"It kind of handcuffed me, but I did get the bottom of my hand on it," Papaleo said. "I don't know if I was trying to hold it or what. With Chinapoo I should know better. You should just get a paw on it and get it out wide."
The Blast increased the lead to 5-3 at 3 minutes, 8 seconds of the fourth quarter. Ronson's free kick from the right side found Dale Mitchell in the penalty box, and the Blast forward volleyed in his 16th goal of the season.
The Sidekicks reduced the lead to a goal at 5:41 when Troy Snyder scored off a rebound, then almost tied the score two minutes later.
Doc Lawson was 5 feet out, and with Manning seemingly out of position, had a sure goal. But Manning recovered to make a one-handed save.
"I knew I was going to get there," Manning said. "I was fortunate enough to get up quick enough. After that, I told Doc he should retire so I can be the longest-serving guy in the league. But for two old guys, I guess we did OK."
At 8:40, Ronson scored his third goal to make it 6-4, and the Blast held off the Sidekicks until Tatu closed the scoring with just 13 seconds left.
Baltimore 1 2 1 2 -- 6
Dallas 1 2 0 2 -- 5
First quarter--1, Baltimore, Ronson 14 (Stankovic), 10:11. 2, Dallas, DeBrito 13 (unassisted), 13:44. Penalties--none.
Second quarter--3, Baltimore, Ronson 15 (Troy), 7:26. 4, Dallas, Beto 5 (Tatu), 9:45. 5, Baltimore, Mitchell 15 (Manning), 12:18. 6, Dallas, Tatu 31 (Smith), 14:08. Penalty--Mettrick, Balt (holding), 12:59.
Third quarter--7, Baltimore, Chinapoo 8 (Stankovic), 6:05. Penalties--Lawson, Dal (holding), :54; Snyder, Dal (boarding), 13:01.
Fourth quarter--8, Baltimore, Mitchell 15 (Ronson), 3:08. 9, Dallas, Snyder 6 (Tatu), 5:41. 10, Baltimore, Ronson 16 (Mobilio), 8:40. 11, Dallas, Tatu 32 (Smith), 14:47. Penalties--McLeod, Dal (holding), 7:47.
Shots on goal--Baltimore 7-3-8-5--23. Dallas 12-9-2-12--35. Goalies--Baltimore, Manning (W 5-4) 35 shots, 14 saves, 5 goals allowed. Dallas, Joe Papaleo (L 6-9), 23-10-6; Beto, 0-0-0. A--8,123.