Domenic Mobilio may have passed a final barrier yesterday toward becoming one of the great players in the Major Soccer League.
Even though he has scored 154 goals in less than four seasons for the Blast, Mobilio hasn't been known for getting flashy ones with the game on the line -- the kind that Steve Zungul and Stan Stamenkovic became famous for.
Mobilio, a forward, stepped forth yesterday in the final minute with the score tied at 5, stealing the ball from goalkeeper Otto Orf and sticking it into the net, lifting the Blast to a 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Crunch before 7,691 at the Baltimore Arena.
After Mobilio made it 6-5 with 30 seconds left, Kevin Sloan completed a breakthrough day for himself, stealing an errant clearing pass by Dave Hoggan and scoring an open-net goal from 50 feet. He finished the game with two goals and an assist, not bad for someone who had entered it with four goals in 16 games.
If Mobilio had failed on his aggressive move, the Crunch could have started a five-on-four break that could have resulted in the winning goal.
"The only other player I've seen score a goal like that with the pressure like that was Steve Zungul," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper.
Blast owner Ed Hale walked up to Mobilio in the locker room and said, "That was the most memorable goal I've seen since I've been the owner."
Mobilio smiled broadly and long.
"I want to be the guy that the team goes to," Mobilio said. "It's an honor to have that reputation. I never want to think that I'm a special player over anybody else on the team. So, I've never pushed to be the big scorer. But I'm happy I was the man today."
Mobilio, whose unselfish attitude might be the only thing that prevents him from becoming a player like Zungul, said it was time for him to make a move on Orf.
"There were only 30 seconds left and I know that Otto has a tendency to give the ball up if he is pressured," said Mobilio, who blocked Orf's attempt to clear the ball, then chased it down in the corner and scored from the left side into an open net.
Orf had wandered out of the net to corral the ball after it came off the left boards from a pass from Rusty Troy.
Orf said: "There was total confusion on the play. Hector [Marinaro] was behind me and he told me to get it, and I took a little too much time in getting rid of it."
Marinaro took the blame for the play that cost his team the game.
"It was my fault," Marinaro said. "I should have taken charge and cleared the ball."
Mobilio, Sloan, goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro and Billy Ronson were superb on a day when the team completed a crucial four-game homestand with a 3-1 record.
Ronson, not expected to play because of tendinitis in his right hamstring, surprised everybody by playing for the first time since Feb. 1 and scored the goal that tied it at 5 at 13:33 of the fourth quarter. Ronson's goal ended a run of four straight by Cleveland.
Cooper said: "It was a heart-and-soul win. No, make that heart-and-Sloan win. Kevin worked his butt off all day, running up and down the floor. I think he's arrived."