Blast withstands Impact, 14-8

Team stops two-game skid by displaying solid defense

Soccer

November 21, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Facing a third straight home loss, the Blast displayed its best defensive performance of the season in a 14-8 win over the Montreal Impact last night in front of 5,489 at the Baltimore Arena.

The win improved the Blast to 5-2, ending a two-game losing streak.

It was perhaps goalkeeper Scott Hileman's best performance of the season. He made a number of diving saves and fought off eight first-half shots on goal by the Impact.

Hileman already has earned a defensive Player of the Week award by the National Professional Soccer League. He finished the game with 14 saves.

"Scott has had an outstanding year," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "Not only with the big saves but catching the ball. He's directing the defense and having an all-star year."

It was just the type of performance the Blast needed with its offense struggling.

"We did a little better offensively tonight," Healey said. "It will click for us again. The ball will start falling in the hole for us again. To get a win while we are fighting through that is important."

The Blast offense did get some help from the Impact in the fourth period after Montreal managed to cut a 9-2 Blast lead to one. After back-to-back three-point goals, the Impact was hit with three penalties in the period -- the last a five-minute major by Nick DeSantis at 10: 36.

That penalty set up Tarik Walker's goal at 12: 36, the end of the power play, to seal the game for the Blast.

"We were able to take advantage of that situation," Hileman said. "They only had about 2 1/2 minutes to play their sixth attacker. It is a little bit easier to kill that way."

Blast forward Erik Rasmussen scored a power-play goal earlier in the fourth after midfielder Denison Cabral made his shootout attempt, putting the Blast up 12-8.

The Blast held the Impact to two first-half points and had a 7-2 lead at halftime.

Midfielder Danny Kelly, who had two goals in Friday night's 11-10 loss to the Philadelphia KiXX, scored the first two points last night off a Rasmussen free kick 51 seconds into the game.

"The first quarter and the fourth quarter are important to me as a keeper," Hileman said. "You want to give your team confidence in the first, and in the fourth is when the game really counts. That's crunch time."

Rasmussen then scored a two-point goal in the ninth minute, giving the Blast a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Impact forward Mauro Biello cut the lead to 4-2 on a re-start goal from the top of the arc at 5: 55 in the second period.

But Cabral, who leads the team in points this season, scored back-to-back goals. The first, a shootout goal, came at 9: 41 in the third, beating Impact goalkeeper Paolo Ceccarelli. Cabral then scored off a Doug Neely feed at 13: 28 to put the Blast up 7-2.

"Two losses in the same week at home, we couldn't take that if we want to be a championship team," Cabral said. "We had to put it together and play as if it was the last game of the finals. I think that is what got us together tonight."

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