Blast-Bays I is history, and there was talk of a rematch yesterday after a superbly conditioned outdoor Maryland Bays team defeated the indoor Baltimore Blast, 2-0, before an overflow crowd of 3,480 at UMBC Stadium.
"We proved indoor soccer isn't the only game in town," saiBays defender Chris Reif, who made two sensational stops of Blast shots that were inches away from going in the goal in the second half.
"We showed we could play on an equal par with anybody anthe people saw us play an attacking style," said Reif. "We're not semipros. We play in a pro league."
However, Bays coach Gary Hindley said, "Now that Blast-Bays I is over on the outdoor turf, we'll be glad to go and play them indoors before next season."
Bays forward Jean Harbor scored one goal and had one assist.
Reif, of Baltimore, joined with Bays goalkeeper Charles Arndt tfrustrate the Blast several times late in the second half, when the indoor team was trying to overcome a 2-0 lead.
The Blast played without coach Kenny Cooper, who wahospitalized Friday afternoon after having lower abdominal pains Thursday night.
Cooper has been undergoing tests and is expected to remain ithe hospital five to seven days.
"This is a recurrence of something I had six years ago," saiCooper last night. "I've had a series of tests done, and I've been told there is more to come. Obviously I'm disappointed at not being there, but I'm thrilled that a big crowd came out. Regardless of the outcome, the real winner is soccer."
After not missing a Blast game in nine years, Cooper has missethree in the past two years with various illnesses (dizzy spells in 1989 and a throat problem last season).
Blast defender Rusty Troy said, "I don't know how the otheplayers feel, but you don't feel whole if your coach is in the hospital."
Hindley expressed disbelief at the way his team held off thBlast down the stretch.
"It was almost as if we had an invisible wall in front of the goal,he said. "I don't know how we kept that ball out of the goal. Chris [Reif] stopped two that were on the line, and Arndt made some super saves."
Arndt had six saves in the second half after replacing starteSteve Powers, who shut out the Blast in the first half.
The Blast outshot the Bays, 28-15, but in the end the team that lost 20 one-goal indoor games didn't have any better luck outdoors.
"This game mirrored our whole season," said Blast assistancoach Jim Pollihan, who took over for Cooper. "The difference was they finished off their chances and we didn't."
The most frustrating sequence for the Blast came with 2minutes left in the game, when Billy Ronson, Dale Mitchell and Domenic Mobilio failed to hit the target on three straight shots.
Ronson's shot from close range was saved by Arndt, Mitchell'shot hit the post and Mobilio's was stopped by Reif.
Mobilio, who scored two goals for the Vancouver 86ers last fall thelp defeat the Bays, 3-2, for the North American soccer championship, was around the net all afternoon with eight shots.
"I had fun playing this game," Mobilio said. "I really wanted to wibadly, but it was the same old story for us."
Ronson said: "Reif and Harbor are the backbone of that teamReif blocked a lot shots, and Harbor is a handful."
However, Ronson said the Bays' victory "didn't prove anythingThey beat us at their game. Our game is indoor soccer, and if they think they can play in our league [Major Soccer League], let them come on and try."
Ronson explained why he called the Bays semipro: "In Englanthey're considered semipros if they do something else for a living other than play soccer."
Bays owner John Liparini disagreed with Ronson. "We have 15 o20 players who make their living playing soccer. It's not a real good living, but they play soccer for a living. The other five players could play soccer for a living, but it's their choice not to."