Blast falls to Wave in OT, 12-10

Team squanders chance to win in overtime as Santoro's shot just misses

January 22, 2000|By Charles F. Gardner | Charles F. Gardner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Wave coach Keith Tozer said his team never considered the possibility of losing its second consecutive home game at the Bradley Center.

No wonder. Tozer's crew was too busy scrambling to keep up with the talented Baltimore Blast, which extended the Wave into overtime last night before forward Michael King scored to give Milwaukee a tense 12-10 victory in a National Professional Soccer League game.

Wave All-Stars Michael Richardson and King combined on the final play, which resulted in a goal when Blast forward Mark Thomas inadvertently tapped the ball into his own net three minutes into the sudden-death period.

Richardson played a long diagonal ball out of the back to King on the left boards, and King smartly turned to his left and played the ball into the center of the penalty area. Richardson was making a run but never touched the ball, as it bounced off Thomas' foot and past surprised Blast goalkeeper Scott Hileman.

"Those two guys have been there many, many, many times," Tozer said. "We talked about these [overtime] games that normally finish in the first two or three minutes, and to be composed and wait for your chance.

"We did that. We've got two All-Star players that hook up and put the ball away."

Early in the overtime, the Blast had a chance to win. Midfielder Danny Santoro, on a strong counterattacking run, hit a shot that Wave goalkeeper Victor Nogueira barely tipped wide of the goal.

"You always have one save you have to make in the overtime," Nogueira said.

The Wave (14-7) nearly lost back-to-back home games for the first time since the 1992-93 season, but instead improved to 8-1 at the Bradley Center this season.

"We didn't even talk about it," Tozer said. "We talked about playing one of the best teams we've seen in a long time, how to execute defensively and stop their restart situations."

Milwaukee leaped into first place in the North Division.

Baltimore, boasting the best record in the American Conference, dropped to 14-9.

"They definitely were the best team we've played all year," Blast midfielder Paul Wright said. "It was a battle of the two best teams in the league this year, and they came out on top."

Baltimore coach Kevin Healey said he hoped the teams would meet again this season, which could only happen in the NPSL finals.

"I'm happy our guys played hard, but you don't get points for losses," Healey said. "I would love to be in this building again."

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