TACOMA, Wash. -- The worst news for the Blast last night was that forward Gary Heale was not going to play for the Tacoma Stars.
That meant second-year forward Shawn Medved was going to get full shifts for Tacoma in its Major Soccer League game at the Tacoma Dome.
Medved, who had two goals Friday to power the Stars to a 4-2 win over the San Diego Sockers, responded by scoring Tacoma's first three goals as the team battled to a 3-3 tie after three periods.
And the Stars added fourth-quarter goals by Neil Megson and Carl Valentine to post a 5-4 victory over the Blast, playing with little-used Steve Powers in goal for the second straight game.
"I've been given the green light," said Medved. "I think I'm playing with a lot of confidence. I feel like if I make a few mistakes, it's OK."
Said Stars coach Keith Weller of his surging forward: "He battles in there, and things seem to be bouncing his way. He's getting better and better. Let's hope he can continue that."
The victory vaulted Tacoma (15-16) past the Blast (14-17) and Wichita (14-16) into third place with its ninth straight victory at home. It was Baltimore's seventh straight loss on the road.
Blast coach Kenny Cooper was not happy at losing another tough one.
"We played our hearts out and came up empty-handed," Cooper said. "There's obviously a frustration when that happens. We just left a piece of ourselves on the carpet.
"It's a tough loss for us and a big win for them. This thing is going right down to the last game of the season. We just have to regroup."
Megson's goal, from 30 feet at 31 seconds, was a rebound of a shot by Dale Mitchell off the boards.
Valentine connected from right wing at 2:32, the assist to Eddie Radwanski.
Baltimore crept back to 5-4 when Mark Mettrick, from just outside the right post, headed one just over the fingertips of goalkeeper Mike Dowler at 4:26.
Afterward, with Baltimore using a sixth attacker, Dowler had to make a dandy save of a shot by Ali Kazemaini, and Domenic
Mobilio bounced one off the bottom of the crossbar.
"The chances missed is the story of the season for us," said Cooper.
The third goal of the game by Medved gave Tacoma a momentary lead, 3-2, at 13:53 of the third quarter. Medved's volley, from near the left post, was a twisting bouncer off a long pass by goalie Mike Dowler.
But Mobilio, from the penalty area, snapped one in at 14:07 to produce the 3-3 tie.
Neither team mounted much of a threat to break the 2-2 tie early in the third quarter, except Tacoma's Mitchell, who banged two balls off the inside of the post within seconds of each other.
Later Dowler made a terrific save of a high rocket by Doug Neely -- getting knocked down by the force of it.
The first half was one of ebbs and flows.
The Stars, up 1-0, got careless with the ball late in the first period and the Blast made them pay with a pair of goals.