Mark Mettrick scored three goals for the first time in his four-year Major Soccer League career, leading a rejuvenated Baltimore Blast to a 9-4 victory over the Dallas Sidekicks before 10,090 last night at the Baltimore Arena.
It was the second straight home win for Baltimore, lifting the Blast (10-10) one game behind the third-place Sidekicks.
The Blast had lost three straight at the Arena before defeating the St. Louis Storm last Saturday night and turning on the Sidekicks last night.
Mettrick was mobbed by his teammates when he completed the hat trick with a goal 7 minutes, 43 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Mettrick, one of the more silent members of the team for four years, did nothing but grin and walk to the bench.
Mettrick's goal gave the Blast an 8-3 lead.
Mettrick received a lot of help last night from Domenic Mobilio (2 goals, 1 assist) and Joe Koziol (2 goals). Jean Harbor and Iain Fraser also scored for the Blast, and Castro contributed his 15th assist of the season.
Blast goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro had seven saves.
Fraser held Tatu to one goal and one assist, leaving Beto as the leading Dallas scorer with two goals. Roderick Scott scored the other Dallas goal.
The Blast continue to dominate the Sidekicks in the third quarter, getting goals from Mobilio and Mettrick to pull ahead, 6-2, at the end of the period.
The Blast outshot Dallas, 12-3, in the third quarter after getting off nine shots to two for the Sidekicks in the second quarter. The assault resulted in five straight goals.
Baltimore came with a rush in the second quarter, scoring three goals to surge ahead, 4-2, at halftime.
Harbor got the run started with a blast from 20 feet into the net at 6:23 to tie the score at 2. Harbor simply overpowered a crowd of defenders in the penalty box and stuck the ball in the goal.
Less than a minute later, the Blast squandered a power play after an intentional handball call against Dallas goalkeeper Hank Henry.
But unlike in past games, the foiled opportunity didn't hurt the team's momentum.
Fraser pounded in a shot at 11:09 on a rebound of a missed Ali Kazemaini shot for a 3-2 lead, and Mettrick stuck with a rebound of his missed shot to score at 11:31 for the 4-2 advantage.
Dallas took a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter on goals by Beto and Scott.
The Sidekicks struck first when Beto flashed open quickly in front of the goal and drilled a shot past a helpless Vaccaro for a 1-0 lead at 2:54 of the first quarter.
Baltimore tied the score a little more than a minute later on a Koziol goal off a two-on-one break, with Castro getting the ball to Koziol.
But Dallas made it 2-1 on a nifty give-and-go play, with Scott scoring off a pass from Troy Snyder.