Blast ends 2-game skid, stays unbeaten at home

Johnson goal with 2:33 left edges Kansas City, 10-9

Soccer

November 10, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

With one quick connection, Blast midfielder Paul Wright finding captain Lance Johnson going hard to goal, the middle-of-the-night scurry to the airport became more tolerable. Much more tolerable.

After last night's 10-9 win from behind over the visiting Kansas City Comets, the Blast may not even need an airplane to get to Milwaukee this morning.

On the night he became the Baltimore franchise's leader in games played, Johnson was also the hero, scoring the game-winner with 2:33 left to give the home team another win in front of 6,148 at Baltimore Arena.

In ending a two-game slide, the Blast (3-2) stayed perfect at home (3-0) and go into a 2:05 p.m. start today against the Wave on a positive note.

"It's awesome. To score anytime is great, to hit a game-winner is always special - it was only my second game-winner. But to do it on this night is even more special," said Johnson, who played in his 297th game with the Blast. "Now, we've got some momentum. The one good thing about playing tomorrow afternoon is that we can take that high we're feeling right now onto the field immediately and play with that intensity and togetherness."

The Blast had to be at Baltimore Washington International Airport at 4:30 a.m. today for a 6:05 a.m. flight to Chicago before moving on to Milwaukee.

If Johnson was hero No. 1, Wright was No. 1A.

After Dino Delevski gave the Comets (2-4) a 9-6 lead on a three-point goal with 3:35 left, Wright answered with a two-pointer nine seconds later to cut the lead to 9-8 and then found Johnson through a crowd with what Blast coach Kevin Healey described as a "first-class assist" - Wright's second of the night and league-leading 11th of the season.

On the far right side near the corner kick area, Wright threaded the pass through the crease, with Johnson beating a defender to the ball for the easy tap-in.

"I saw Lance and someone else going to goal, and I was just hoping someone would get their foot on it," said Wright. "You always want to win in front of your home crowd. We needed a win like this, a comeback win, to prove to ourselves that we're never out of a game."

The Blast peppered Kansas City goalkeeper Chris Damico with 42 shots but didn't find any regular offense until the last four minutes. Blast keeper Scott Hileman made the last of his 13 saves when he turned back Nino DaSilva's shot from the left side with 20 seconds left and an extra attacker on.

Forward Lee Tschantret was a game-time scratch due to a groin injury from Wednesday's practice. He also isn't available for today's game against the Wave.

Kansas City 2 4 0 3 - 9

Blast 2 2 2 4 - 10

First quarter: 1. Kansas City, Wade, 2 pt., (Harding), 3:57; 2. Blast, Barber, 2 pt., (Kelly), 5:29;

Second quarter: 3. Kansas City, Cyrus, 2 pt., (Delevski), 1:11; 4. Blast, Celenza, 2 pt. (Wright), 6:23; 5. Kansas City, Cyrus, 2 pt., (Houser), 7:26. Penalty: Kansas City, Damico, (hand ball), 4:23.

Third quarter: 6. Blast, Walker, 2 pt. (Neely), 3:35.

Fourth quarter: 7. Kansas City, Delevski, 3 pt., 11:25; 8. Blast, Wright, 2 pt., (Santoro), 11:34; 9. Blast, Johnson, 2 pt., (Wright), 13:27

Shots on goal: Kansas City 5-8-7-10-27; Blast 11-10-7-14-42. Power-play opportunities: Kansas City 0-for-0; Blast 1-for-1. Shootout opportunities: Kansas City 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers: Kansas City, Damico, 27 shots, 23 saves, Bowes 2 shots, 1 save; Blast, Hileman, 17 shots, 13 saves. A -- 6,148.

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