3rd-quarter collapse keeps Blast winless 10 unanswered goals help Ambush score 24-17 triumph

November 14, 1998|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

By the time the St. Louis Ambush was finished with the Blast last night, the home team's defense was in tatters, the game was lost, 24-17, and coach Kevin Healey was calling the performance of his team in the decisive third period "a disgrace."

The Blast had gone into last night's National Professional Soccer League game hoping to get its first victory of the season. Instead, it found itself outscored 10-0 in a defenseless third period and could find little to blame it on other than its own misdeeds.

"The third quarter was a disgrace," said Healey. "You've got to work hard, yes, but you have to be intelligent, too. Our practices before this game were all about getting proper position in the box. We didn't do it and that was it. We have a veteran defense. It's a matter of stepping up as a team. People have to take responsibility and play intelligently."

Just before halftime, the Blast had rallied to take a 9-7 lead on back-to-back goals by defenseman Derrick Marcano. But the hard work that had gone into that effort was wiped out by the veteran Ambush, which played in the NPSL finals a year ago.

Defenseman Ian Carter scored with 2: 19 gone in the third, and forward Ken Snow scored the second and third of his four goals.

"The Blast played hard," said Snow. "But after we got that first goal in the third quarter, we just started feeling more sure of ourselves. It was good, because we'd just lost our last two road games. It's real difficult to win on the road in this league, so we're fortunate that we took advantage of our best opportunities here."

The Ambush improve to 3-2and remain atop the Midwest Division.

The Blast (0-3), meanwhile, remains the only winless team in the league as it travels to Wichita, Kan., for tonight's game.

The Blast started strong last night. Just 56 seconds after the 4,534 fans at the Baltimore Arena had settled into their seats, Troy Snyder put the Blast on the scoreboard with a two-point goal. Midfielder Doug Neely would make it 4-0, and it seemed the Blast was on its way.

But then came a seven-point barrage from St. Louis' Joe Reiniger, Joel Shanker and Snow.

Snow's goal was set up by Daryl Doran, St. Louis' veteran player-coach, on a perfect corner kick.

At the time, it meant a 7-4 Ambush lead that would disappear before the half. But the defensive lapse on an obvious play set the stage for St. Louis' coming assault.

"In all our games, we've been giving up goals inside the box," said Snyder, the Blast's veteran defender. "Khalil [goalie Khalil Azmi] has been making good saves, but we're allowing second and third shots. We just haven't been there to support him. It's frustrating, because we're very experienced in the back."

The experience didn't show last night.

Ian Carter and Shanker each scored a goal after intermission to wipe out the Blast's 9-7 lead, and Snow and Darren Snyder each scored twice. Many of the goals came on plays made easy by the Blast's disappearing defense.

St. Louis 5 2 10 7 -- 24

Blast ....4 5 0 8 -- 17

Blast tonight

Opponent: Wichita Wings Site: Kansas Coliseum, Wichita, Kan. Time: 7: 35 p.m. Radio: WJFK (1300 AM) Outlook: The Wings (1-2) finally got their defense working and smothered Kansas City, 12-3, after dropping their first two games at home and being outscored, 32-13. The Blast is playing without one of their premier players, Eric Rasmussen, who is fulfilling a prior commitment in Denmark.

Pub Date: 11/14/98

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