KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a familiar story for the Baltimore Blast last night, a one-goal loss. The Kansas City Comets held on for a 5-4 victory and handed the Blast its fourth straight one-goal defeat.
The setback was the 10th in the past 11 games for Baltimore, which dropped to 20-28. The Blast is one game ahead of the Wichita Wings in the race for the final Major Soccer League East playoff spot. Each team has four games remaining.
Kansas City (25-23) won its fourth straight game and clinched second place.
"It's almost like we were snake-bitten," Baltimore coach Kenny Cooper said after the Blast's record dropped to 8-17 in one-goal games. "The effort was tremendous, but the result was a carbon copy of a lot of our games lately. Rusty Troy [who went scoreless] could have had five goals. It was just a matter of inches. You walk in our locker room now, it's like an elastic band stretched out. Sooner or later, it has to snap back."
Trailing by 4-2, Baltimore pulled its goalkeeper and went to a sixth-attack offense with 4 minutes, 49 seconds to go. The move appeared to pay off when Dale Mitchell scored with 1:56 to play. Then it backfired when Kansas City's Doug Neely punched in an empty-net goal from midfield. Mike Stankovic added a score for the Blast but the team could not add to that total in the final minute.
Kansas City moved to a 4-2 lead by halftime, as Jan Goossens scored his 52nd goal of the season and assisted on two goals. The Comets scored twice in the first six minutes of play. Tony Glavin saw his first shot rejected by Baltimore keeperScott Manning but converted the rebound and made his second goal of the season.
Goossens slipped a pass to Ted Eck for the second goal with 5:28 gone.
The Blast countered at 10:03 when Domenic Mobilio got the Comets' Gino Schiraldi turned around at
the board and scored on a tough shot from the corner.
Goossens scored early in the second quarter on an assist from Carl Valentine, who took advantage of a Baltimore defensive lapse to get off the pass. Goossens shot the ball into the net after Manning had come out to help on defense.