SAN DIEGO -- Jean Harbor has picked a perfect time to start showing what he can do. Harbor's hat trick last night lifted the Blast to a 7-6 win over the San Diego Sockers, sending their Major Soccer League semifinal series back to Baltimore tied at one win apiece.
Harbor, who scored a goal in Wednesday night's opener, scored on three of his four shots last night, including the winner.
"They were marking me, but I wasn't worried about them," said Harbor, who scored 14 goals in the regular season. "Our theory was they give me the ball up there [near the goal] and then just take somebody on."
Harbor took Sockers defender Alex Golovnia into the end zone boards as he kicked the winning goal at 11:58 of the fourth bTC quarter.
"I knew I had a shot and I knew I was going to crash," said Harbor, whom Blast coach Kenny Cooper compared to San Diego's young superstar, Paul Wright.
While Cooper praised Harbor and the rest of his young team, he was not overestimating the pending home-field advantage.
"What we have now is a fighting chance," said Cooper. "I'm a realist. I've been in situations before and we have our work cut out for ourselves."
Although it was out-shot 32-19, the Blast trailed only once.
Harbor scored the winner when goalie Cris Vaccaro dumped the ball into the San Diego zone. Harbor charged toward the net with Golovnia all over him and fired over Victor Nogueira's shoulder from a 45-degree angle before crashing into end zone boards.
It was Baltimore's first victory at the San Diego Sports Arena this season.
The Sockers took their first lead of the game at 6:16 on their version of the alley-oop, a long, high pass from the Sockers zone that Thompson Usiyan headed into the net.
The Blast answered at 6:34 with a goal by Iain Fraser that again tied the score 6-6.
Harbor had given the Blast a 5-4 lead late in the third quarter with his second goal, but the goal was sandwiched between two San Diego goals and the period ended tied at 5.
The Blast scored four relatively easy goals in the first quarter, the most goals allowed in the first period of a Sockers playoff game, said public relations director Jim Moorhouse.
All four of the successful shots were virtually uncontested by the San Diego defense.