Blast midfielder Waad Hirmez passed the ball into the box and a moment later it was in the back of the net.
Domenic Mobilio was back and looking good.
"Dom looks very sharp," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper. "I played him on a line with Rod [Castro] and Waad today. They're two very experienced players and very good at getting the ball in the box, where Dom is exceptional at finishing. I'm pleased with what I saw them do, and I'm very pleased with Domenic's conditioning."
Mobilio, the Blast's leading scorer, was three weeks late when he arrived in camp yesterday, but no one was complaining. Mobilio has been playing for the Vancouver 86ers of the Canadian Soccer League. It's in his Blast contract that he can remain with his outdoor team until its season ends. The 86ers went to the championship game and beat Toronto, 5-3, for the title Sunday.
Mobilio set a CSL single-season record with 25 goals and was named the league's Most Valuable Player. Cooper instantly liked what he saw yesterday.
"It is like he emerged," said Cooper. "He had an MVP year in a very good league, but while he was performing there, he remembered he had an obligation to the Blast. The fact he has come in in such good condition attests to that. Some guys come in in bad condition and it rubs me the wrong way, but this is one of the fittest groups we've had and Domenic fits right in."
Mobilio is the first to admit he's in better shape.
"Last year, I was a little heavy, about 190 pounds, when I arrived, because of Mama's home cooking," said Mobilio, a native of Vancouver. "This summer we had a lot of road games and I was able to watch it a little more. I'm 185 and I feel stronger. I know I have to do some running to get my indoor legs, but I really feel great. I kept hearing about all the changes and I really wanted to be ready."
Mobilio said it is "weird" seeing all these former rivals from San Diego, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland and Tacoma here, but he also said it is comforting.
"They're good additions to our team," said Mobilio. "Rod Castro is very skillful and Waad has a great shot. Those are weapons we needed. Doug Neely and Iain Fraser strengthen our defense.
"Everyone keeps talking about our youth and the fact that we're going to be fit, but look at these guys. We've got very skillful players."
Mobilio is starting his fourth season and coming off a career-best 49-goal campaign. He is expected to be a leader on offense, and the expectations don't scare him.
"I don't feel pressure this season," he said. "I know the players and what's expected. I know I'm going to get chances to score and that I'm expected to score -- that comes with the territory. I don't think it's going to be a problem at all."
When the Major Soccer League season was 52 games, Mobilio set his sights on 50 goals. He missed by one last year. This season, he said he'd like 40 goals in 40 games.
"I just had the season of my life outdoors," Mobilio said. "I scored 25 goals, 15 of them in nine games. I exploded in July and August. I earned the MVP award and my team won the CSL championship. I now have four outdoor rings and the only thing that could top all that and the only thing I really want is an indoor championship ring with the Blast."
* The Blast opens the season Saturday, Oct. 19 against Dallas, and so far has sold 9,500 tickets. Of that number, 6,200 are group sales, making it the largest group-sale night in the team's 12-year history.