Rasmussen helps Blast catch Heat

2 goals, 5 assists spark 23-16 win over Harrisburg


January 23, 2000|By Michael Bullock | Michael Bullock,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Any doubt concerning Erik Rasmussen's health can be erased. Just ask the Harrisburg Heat.

Rasmussen, who came off the injured list eight days ago after missing six games with a groin injury, had two goals and five assists in the Blast's 23-16 victory over the Heat before 5,139 at the State Farm Show Arena.

Rasmussen has 18 points in five games since his return, including nine last night.

Goalkeeper Scott Hileman also came up big, making 22 saves as the Blast (15-9) shrugged off Friday night's 12-10 overtime loss in Milwaukee by beating Harrisburg for the second time in five days.

"It was a tough day with a lot of travel," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "We got behind early. We set goals during the game to get back into it."

The Blast increased its National Professional Soccer League East Division lead to three games over Philadelphia and seven over Harrisburg.

Gino DiFlorio topped Harrisburg (7-15), which has lost seven straight games at home, with three goals and an assist.

Heat coach Richard Chinapoo said: "We're not where we need to be in knowing how to win and knowing how to win at home."

Harrisburg had leads of 5-0, 7-2 and 11-4, but Hileman kept the Blast close until Rasmussen could kick the offense into gear.

Hileman made 11 stops in the first half, eight in the opening quarter, keeping Harrisburg from running away by making several big stops, some at point-blank range.

With the Blast down 11-4 midway through the second quarter, Rasmussen assisted on each of the next three scores -- by Mark Thomas, Danny Santoro and Denison Cabral -- as the Blast cut its deficit to 11-10 early in the third quarter.

That run grew to 14-0. The Blast took the lead at 12-11 with 6: 10 gone in the third when Jason Dieter connected. Cabral, Tarik Walker and Paul Wright added goals, the latter two assisted by Rasmussen, to make it 18-11 with 2: 18 gone in the final quarter.

"We've set the standards where we're a very good second half-team that knows how to win," Healey said.

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