Next summer, when the Blast replays another season of almost-certain frustration, no one will be able to forget Mark Frederickson scoring the winning goal for the St. Louis Storm in sudden-death overtime last night.
Frederickson, a journeyman defender in the Major Soccer League, scored from 12 feet out with 10:23 gone in overtime, virtually ending any hopes Baltimore had of qualifying for postseason play.
Frederickson beat Domenic Mobilio on a give-and-go, giving the last-place Storm a 10-9 victory in a late-season MSL shootout at the Baltimore Arena.
St. Louis (15-22) would have been eliminated from the playoffs with a loss.
Mobilio, obviously tired early in the overtime, couldn't keep up with Frederickson, who took a perfect pass from Preki and deposited it into the net.
The loss dropped the Blast (16-21) 1 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Wichita Wings (17-19) in the fight for the final berth.
Baltimore must win its last three games and Wichita lose at least three of four for the Blast to make the four-team field. Wichita won the season series with the Blast, 4-3, and would get fourth place if the two teams finish in a tie.
The loss continued a late-season fade for the Blast, reminiscent of last season, when it lost 13 of its final 15.
Baltimore has lost four straight, and is 1-5 in overtime games. Last season, the team was 5-8 in OT and 8-20 in one-goal games.
Many of the names and faces were changed from last season, but the results have remained the same.
"It's the same old story," said Blast defender Iain Fraser. "The other team gets one more goal than we do in overtime, no matter what else happens in the game. It's sickening."
Blast coach Kenny Cooper said he didn't expect miracles when he rebuilt last season's 21-31 team but added: "I expected us to be better than this. I think it has all come down to decision-making at the crucial times in games. We always seem to hit the post or crossbar."
Preki had two goals and three assists for St. Louis, and Daryl Doran had three goals for the Storm.
But it was the little-known Frederickson who did a number on the Blast, with a lot of help from Preki.
"They double-teamed Preki and I made a run. I gave the ball to Preki and got it back from him and toe-poked it in the goal," said Frederickson. "Preki only had 2 feet to get the ball through the defenders to me."
St. Louis coach Fernando Clavijo said: "You wouldn't expect Frederickson [seven goals all season] to score the winning goal, but we'll take it."
The happiest player in the Storm locker room was forward Waad Hirmez, who was released by Baltimore after five games this season.
Hirmez, who scored one goal and had a run-in with Jean Harbor, said: "I loved it. I wanted to get Cooper out of the playoffs. It couldn't be any better for me."
Cooper said he didn't think the team was beaten by Hirmez. "We were beaten by St. Louis. Would he have been the difference for us? No. Has he been the difference for St. Louis? No."