Rasmussen works magic, leaves Wave spellbound

Key assists propel Blast to 26-12 victory, 3-0 start

Soccer

October 31, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The Blast got Erik "The Wizard" Rasmussen during the off-season precisely for matches such as last night's.

Rasmussen threaded two passes on restarts to Denison Cabral for two-point goals just over a minute apart in the first quarter. The goals put the Blast up 4-0 en route to a 26-12 win over the Milwaukee Wave in front of 4,516 at Baltimore Arena.

Blast coach Kevin Healey makes no secret that Rasmussen's presence is what the team needs if it is going to win a championship. Rasmussen looked like the impact player he was with Wichita last season, and the Blast (3-0) looked like the championship team it aspires to be this season during a 10-0 run in the first half that essentially decided the match.

"Erik is a great passer, and Denison is a great finisher," Healey said. "One guy puts the ball there and the other guy knows what to do with it. Those goals were huge. They get you off to a good start. It makes you feel good when you work on something and practice and you execute."

Granted, the performance came against Wave backup goalkeeper Dan Green. Wave coach Keith Tozer decided to rest All-Star goalkeeper Victor Nogueira, last season's leader in points-against average. Nogueira played in the Wave's Friday night win over Montreal.

"Whoever they wanted to put back there we had to deal with," Rasmussen said. "We have plenty of confidence. Every game is difficult in this league, especially against a team like Milwaukee."

With last night's Rasmussen-Cabral combination, Nogueira would have had his problems.

Rasmussen had a hat trick with assists, hooking up with Cabral for the third and last time at 12: 39 in the second quarter, putting the Blast up 15-2. Cabral finished with five goals on the night. He leads the team with nine goals on the season.

Rasmussen "is a great player," Cabral said. "He can find you anywhere. I was just trying to get myself in position for him to serve. That is my job."

"We are winning against good teams. We know down the road we are going to see these teams. It makes us feel good to get these wins." Defender Lance Johnson, midfielder Danny Santoro and forward Paul Wright added the next three goals, all two-pointers, before the Wave (1-1) finally got on the board at 4: 42 in the second quarter on Josh Timbers' two-point goal, bringing the score to 10-2.

The Blast played solid defense for the third straight match, limiting the Wave to four first-half points. Goalkeeper Scott Hileman, coming off a defensive Player of the Week award, continued to perform well for the Blast, stopping 10 first-half shots.

The Blast led 15-4 at halftime, and the Wave never could get the deficit below nine in the second half. All of the offensive threats got into the action for the Blast, with Tarik Walker and Mark Thomas getting hat tricks. Wright had to leave the match midway through the third quarter with a hamstring injury.

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