DALLAS -- In his 1 1/2 seasons with the Dallas Sidekicks, Hank Henry never played a game at Reunion Arena. In fact, he didn't play much at all. His Sidekicks career as a backup goalkeeper consisted of four appearances and only one victory, a 3-0 blanking of Wichita.
That Kansas city was good to Henry again this weekend, although it meant bad news for the Blast. Starting goalkeeper Scott Manning injured a knee in Baltimore's 7-6 loss to the Wings there Friday, and he will be out several weeks.
Therefore, Henry will play "the" Kansas City -- as in Comets -- tonight at 7:05 at the Arena.
"It's easier to get thrown in like this," said Henry, who joined the Blast in November after the team released Scoop Stanisic. "I'm going to get plenty of chances."
He had a chance yesterday at Reunion Arena, where he played well but allowed five goals as Baltimore fell, 7-4. The Blast (13-13) now trails the Comets (16-10) by three games in the Major Soccer League's Eastern Division entering tonight's showdown.
"It's easier to play on the road because at home, you're expected to win," Henry said. "[Dallas] is kind of like home to me too. There were a lot of people who came to see me."
The Sidekicks were seeing only one thing -- red. They were embarrassed in a 7-0 loss at San Diego Saturday, and their 10-15 record was good for last place in the West.
In the first quarter yesterday they took 10 shots on goal. Kevin Smith and Marcelo Carrera scored 52 seconds apart, and Dallas led 2-0.
"The first few minutes, they had a lot of shots and I was a little shaken," Henry said. "As the game progresses, and you start to make a few saves, you settle down."
He settled down enough to make 16 saves. Tatu alone had 14 shots, but scored only once.
"I thought he had a good performance," Tatu said. "Every time I got close to him, I looked in his eyes and they weren't showing any panic. That shows maturity on his part."
The second quarter went much better. Henry kept Dallas off the board and put Baltimore on it. His long pass to Tim Wittman -- with Dallas on the power play -- turned into an assist as Wittman juggled the ball before dropping it over Krys Sobieski.
In the second half, however, Henry was simply hung out to dry. A give-and-go set up Tatu's goal. Then a perfect pass to the far post resulted in a Mike Uremovich goal. A well-executed three-on-two gave Doc Lawson the game-winner. Henry never had a chance at any of them.
Wittman had two other goals, and Domenic Mobilio scored on the power play as the Blast got within one, 5-4, at 8:38 of the final period. Two Dallas goals with Henry on the bench sealed the contest after the Blast went to a sixth attacker.
"You just have to have great belief in your young guys, and Hank is one of them," Blast coach Kenny Cooper said. "Playing them right now will help us in the playoffs."
Henry feels he has some improving to do before then.
"There's a lot of things I need to work on," he said. "I don't think my distributions were very good. I have a long way to go."
He won't have much time to get there. In the next 12 days, the Blast will play each of the other three Eastern Division teams, plus the San Diego Sockers, who have won six straight and 10 of 11.
"People say it's a great risk," Cooper said. "From great risk comes great reward."