Former Bays help keep Blast afloat Harbor, Sloan provide needed playoff boost

April 12, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Suddenly, Domenic Mobilio is getting some much-needed scoring help from the Blast's Maryland Bays connection -- vTC otherwise known as Jean Harbor and Kevin Sloan.

Harbor and Sloan, both rookies who first made their mark for the outdoor Bays, have virtually carried the Blast in the first two games of the Major Soccer League semifinal series against the San Diego Sockers.

Harbor has four goals and one assist, and Sloan has two goals against the Sockers, who could do no better than split the first two games on their home floor at the San Diego Sports Arena.

Harbor scored the winning goal with 3:02 left Friday night, giving Baltimore a 7-6 victory and completing Harbor's first hat trick in the Major Soccer League.

The Blast now comes home for games 3, 4 and 5 at the Baltimore Arena on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights.

The performance by Harbor on Friday night after a tough 5-4 loss in the first game Wednesday night could be just the medicine Baltimore needs to break the longtime Sockers jinx.

It seems that Harbor has no fear of the Sockers, who have won four MSL finals against the Blast.

He wasn't around for those four setbacks and plays the same way against San Diego as he does against other teams.

The same hasn't been true for other Blast players, who have said that the four championship series losses to San Diego have left them anxious and questioning their ability to win the big games against the Sockers.

Like Harbor, Sloan plays loose against San Diego. He scored two goals to help Baltimore to a 3-0 lead in the first game Wednesday night before the Sockers rallied in the fourth quarter.

Blast coach Kenny Cooper said yesterday that Harbor and Sloan are breaking through at just the right time.

"I couldn't be happier for Jean and Kevin," said Cooper. "Jean began to play well with six games left in the regular season, and now he's almost unstoppable."

On Harbor's winning goal Friday night, he scored from a difficult angle from the left side just before crashing into the boards with defender Alex Golovnia.

Harbor disproved any notion that he may fear the indoor boards with that play.

"I knew I had a shot and I knew I was going to hit the boards," said Harbor. "But I had to put the boards out of my mind and concentrate on the shot."

Cooper also praised a third Bays player, backup goalkeeper Steve Powers, who is around for insurance in case Cris Vaccaro gets hurt.

"Steve has shown a lot of enthusiasm on the bench for us," said Cooper. "He's a great kid who just wants to help in any way he can."

Cooper said the Blast played a conservative offensive game in the first two meetings and will continue that style.

"We're still not going to get in a run-and-gun with San Diego," said Cooper. "We know how dangerous they are. We're going to play ball-control and tough defense."

Mobilio, the team's runaway scoring leader in the regular season, said the Blast is no longer running scared of the Sockers.

"We respect them and know we haven't won anything yet," said Mobilio. "But we're relaxed more than we were in the first game and in past seasons. We're just going out and playing and not making any predictions. That is all in the past. We've learned from our mistakes."

Cooper likes that kind of talk.

"We don't want to play the series in the media or with our mouths," said Cooper. "We just want to play smart and hope for the best."

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