DALLAS -- The Blast's playoff hopes got a little stronger last night, thanks to Doug Miller's two third-period goals that sparked a come-from-behind, 8-7 victory against the Dallas Sidekicks.
Combined with Wichita's 9-5 loss last night to the St. Louis Storm, the victory pulled the Blast (17-21) within a half-game of the Wings (17-20), who hold down the fourth and last playoff spot in the Major Soccer League.
The Blast has two games left, the Wings three.
"Our backs were against the wall. There's no doubt about that," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper. "But now they aren't."
Those were Miller's first two goals in the MSL.
"That first one was special," he said. "But that second one, it brought the team back and gave us a shot at the playoffs."
The Blast victory also kept Dallas from securing the home-field advantage in the early rounds of the playoffs.
Miller, playing in only his 13th game this season, was filling in for the injured Rod Castro, the Blast's second-leading scorer.
Miller's first goal came from a 45-degree angle, as he faked right and fired a shot off the far post.
His second was a rebound off a shot by Rusty Troy that Sidekicks goalie Joe Papaleo had deflected.
The Blast played tough defense in the third period, holding the Sidekicks to five shots. It didn't hurt that Tatu took most of the period off, playing only in the final couple of minutes.
"I thought that was smart of [Sidekicks coach] Gordon [Jago]," Cooper said. "They had a lead, they had the momentum. They're probably going to finish in second place. Why risk it?"
The Blast's Jean Harbor stopped the Sidekicks' momentum with a goal that tied the score at 6-6 and Rusty Troy tied it at 7-7.
Domenic Mobilio's goal with 1:42 remaining secured the victory.
"You expect that out of him," Cooper said. "He's a great player, and you expect him to come through when you need the big
It took Tatu, fourth in the league in scoring, just 73 seconds to put the Sidekicks ahead, 1-0. He took a pass on the run from Troy Snyder on the left side and did a hook slide to get the goal.
That set the stage for a 4-1 first-quarter run that had the Sidekicks in a seemingly invincible position.
"All season long we've battled back," Cooper said. "We've been fighting that 1-4 start that 1-5 in overtimes and tonight we had to fight that 4-1 deficit, but we did it."