Unknown steps up, practically kicks Blast from playoffs

March 27, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

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 to virtually end any hopes Baltimore had of making the playoffs.

Frederickson beat a tired Domenic Mobilio on a give-and-go, giving the last-place Storm a 10-9 victory 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, just couldn't keep up with Frederick son, 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 must 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 that is reminiscent of last season, when it lost 13 of its final 15 games.

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 former Blast 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."

Mobilio led the Blast with three goals but couldn't hit the big shot late in regulation or in overtime. But he wasn't alone. Almost all the Blast players took turns coming up short on crucial shots.

Baltimore outshot St. Louis, 50-32.

Kevin Sloan probably had the best chance to win the game in regulation for the Blast when he broke free for a one-on-one shot against goalkeeper Jim Gorsek.

But Sloan hit the crossbar with 1:47 left. The Blast also failed to convert a two-minute power play that extended into overtime.

"I don't know how to explain it," said Blast defender Doug Neely, who had one goal and two assists.

Chances are the team will have plenty of time to think about it after the regular season ends April 4.

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