Domenic Mobilio ruined Tim Wittman's return to the Baltimore Arena last night, scoring four goals to lead the Baltimore Blast to an 8-7 victory over the San Diego Sockers.
Mobilio scored two goals in the fourth quarter to stave off thSockers, who had won three straight.
Mobilio scored what proved to be the deciding goal at 1minutes, 38 seconds of the final quarter, finding the net from 30 feet out on the right side.
Rookie John Kerr reduced the Blast lead to 8-7 with 32 secondleft, when he converted Jacques Ladouceur's rebound from in front of the net.
When the game ended, San Diego coach Ron Newman crossed the field to yell at the officials over a call in the final minute.
Joe Koziol joined in the Blast offense with two goals, and MikStankovic and Rod Castro also scored for Baltimore.
Cris Vaccaro had 14 saves for the Blast.
Sockers midfielder Paul Wright was almost the entire show in thfirst quarter, as he sprinted past the Blast for one goal and two assists to give the visitors a 4-2 lead.
Wittman, who was not re-signed by the Blast after 10 seasonafter a run-in with owner Ed Hale, took only two shots and had two fouls in the game. Still, several of his hometown fans showed up with signs.
A sign that said "Keep Wittman. Trade Hale" was ordereremoved by Blast vice president of soccer operations Drew Forrester, touching off some controversy in the stands.
Forrester said: "We have the right to remove derogatory signs iwe want."
Forrester said he ordered that another sign stay up that said"Baltimore. Thank you for 10 great years. Tim Wittman."
Brian Bannister of Timonium, who put up the sign chastisinHale, said: "It was removed within five minutes. I had just sat down. I think somebody screwed up. The Blast fans around me didn't like it that my feelings couldn't be expressed with a sign."
Bannister added, "Wittman shouldn't have went. People arounBaltimore love him. But at least the banner made its statement."
Another Wittman fan, Joe Davis, who grew up in Herring Ruwith Wittman, said: "When Ed Hale got rid of Tim Wittman, he ripped the heart out of the Blast."
The Blast showed heart in the third quarter, dominating the Sockers in the opening minutes.
Koziol scored two goals and Castro had one for the attackinBlast, which scored three straight goals for a 6-5 lead at 6:44 of the third quarter.
After the early Blast assault in the third quarter, San Diegslowed the action and was able to get out of the quarter trailing by only 6-5.
San Diego took a 5-3 lead at halftime on Terry Woodberry's goaat 4:41 of the second quarter.
The Blast had reduced the Sockers lead to 4-3 at 3:48 of thsecond quarter on Mobilio's second goal of the game.
The Sockers had a chance to add to their 5-3 lead at 9:53 of thsecond quarter when Ben Collins had a one-on-one shootout with goalkeeper Vaccaro.
But Collins hit the crossbar with his shot after he got arounVaccaro. An intentional handball call against Mark Mettrick had set up the shootout.
In the first quarter the Sockers outscored the Blast, 4-2, witWright leading the way.
Wright had one goal and two assists in the first quarter, using hispeed to outrun the Blast defense to set up Brian Quinn and Golovnia for goals and to score once himself.
Wright's goal featured all the talents of the 22-year-olmidfielder. He outran two Baltimore defenders to get to the ball at midfield and then sprinted toward the net for a wide-open one-on-one shot against a helpless Vaccaro.
The goal gave San Diego a 4-2 lead at 13:43 of the first quarter.
Mobilio and Mike Stankovic had scored for the Blast in the firsquarter to keep the Sockers from running away with the game.
Thompson Usiyan had the other goal for the Sockers in the firsquarter in which the teams were even in shots, 7-7.