Mobilio's next goal is playoffs

March 26, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

The game is on the line, the ball is at his feet and he has the perfect shot, the shot that could make the difference between winning and losing. He aims, fires -- and misses.

This is not Blast forward Domenic Mobilio's worst nightmare. It is reality. He looks at the blackboard in the team training room, at the team records written there, and sighs. With four games left, the Blast is 16-20 and 1 1/2 games out of fourth place, the last qualifying spot for postseason play in the Major Soccer League.

Mobilio had two chances for game-winners in Wichita on Friday and missed both. There have been other game-winning chances this season that also have missed the mark.

"If I had put one of them away, we wouldn't be where we are right now," Mobilio said, referring to the seemingly must-win situation in tonight's game here against the St. Louis Storm. "For us to do well, I have to go out and score two or three goals, because the goals aren't coming from the team like they have in the past.

"I know if I had put my chances away, we probably could have two or three more victories. Others have had chances, too, but in Wichita I take the blame. I had two great chances to win it and that's still killing me. Now . . . hopefully, I can come through."

Mobilio is the Blast's all-time leader in game-winning goals, but Blast coach Kenny Cooper says Mobilio is facing a new challenge.

Will he step up to the level of a Tatu, a Preki, a Paul Wright, players who consistently come through when the game is on the line? Or will he remain a very good player, a very good finisher, but not quite the player everyone fears at crunch time.

The book is open.

Everyone on the Blast, at one time or another, has missed an opportunity that would have put the Blast firmly into the playoffs. But no one is more aware of those missed opportunities than Mobilio.

"I remember every chance I've ever missed that could have been a game-winning goal," he said yesterday. "My first year, in the second game against San Diego in the championship series, with 30 seconds to go, Billy [Ronson] had hit the ball off a defender and it came to me and all I had to do was hit the target. If I had, we would have won, been up 2-0 in games and probably won the series. I missed."

Mobilio looks at the MSL standings again. The grimace that crosses his face is not from the ice pack on the hamstring.

"If we had won just two more games, we'd be in an unbelievable position," he said. "I'm so frustrated with the losing. My first year in Vancouver we won the championship. I came here and for two years we won the division. Now, last year and this year, we've lost. I want to win so bad it's sickening."

Ronson, who is recovering from knee surgery, limped up to Mobilio and pretended to hold a microphone in front of him.

"You think you're going to score [tonight], Dom?" Ronson asked.

"You better believe it, man."

"Two, three?"

"I'm not going to say how many, but it'll be more than one. Nothing's going to hold me back."

Mobilio smiled as Ronson nodded and hobbled away.

"I've got to prove I can do it when the game is on the line," Mobilio said. "I like to be in that position. I've proved it over the years. No one has done it better in Baltimore. But in these four games, I've got to do it now."

NOTES: Ronson, expected to be out three to six weeks, is making an amazing recovery from knee surgery. He saw Dr. Joseph Ciotola yesterday and learned there is no swelling in the knee, that the stitches can come out Monday and that he could possibly be back in two to three weeks -- if the team is still playing.

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