Speed has always been on the top of the Blast's most wanted list.
* OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: The Blast did not exercise its right
of first refusal on Chris Simon and Chris Haywood, two rookie draft choices a year ago; midfielder Richard Chinapoo, 34, who returned to the Blast last season from Dallas; and defender Tim Wittman, 27, whose "durability" has become a question mark in the eyes of Blast management.
* ENGLISH CHAMP COMING: It's official. The Maryland Bays, the defending American Professional Soccer League champion, will take on English League Cup champion Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday, July 30, 7:30 p.m., at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia.
Only 3,500 tickets are available and Bays management recommends fans purchase their tickets in advance. Tickets, at $10 each, can be purchased at all Ticketron outlets beginning this Tuesday at noon, or by calling the Bays' office, 301-880-0047.
Flexible tickets for Cedar Lane Park games held by season ticket holders will be honored at the gate.
* THE GOOD LIFE, INDEED: La Dolce Vita, Baltimore's entry in the U.S. Soccer Federation over 30 National Championships, will play for the title tomorrow in Los Angeles.
Led by scorers Nick Mangione and Scott Wittman, who are known to their teammates as the Killer Bees, La Dolce Vita will face the Dirty Dozen of L.A., the defending national champions, in the title match. To get to this point, LDV has had to earn victories on the road in Long Island and St. Louis.
Fourteen players, including former Blast players Jim Pollihan, Keith Van Eron and Nick Mangione, current Blast television color man John Mangione, and their coach Danny Geerling will make the trip.