Blast nears postseason with 20-18 win

Victory in Kansas City shrinks magic number to 1


April 05, 2002|By Howard Richman | Howard Richman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Just one more.

The Blast beat the Kansas City Comets, 20-18, at Kemper Arena last night, reducing its magic number to make the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs to one. A Blast win or a Cleveland loss will ensure the fourth-place Blast a spot in the postseason.

Putting this one in the win column at first looked like it might be easy. But it was anything but simple, with the Comets - who lost for only the second time at home this season - rallying from large deficits to take a late lead.

"This was a big game for us," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "We'd love to clinch as soon as we can and rest some people. First, you've got to get there. We beat a pretty good team at home. ... They fought back."

The Blast took the lead for good on midfielder Denison Cabral's three-point goal at 9:15 of the fourth quarter. That gave Cabral a hat trick.

"The idea was just to score," Cabral said. "Fortunately, it was a three. Today, we gave them too many goals, but they step up at home. They're so confident here."

Kansas City had taken its first lead, 18-17, when captain Wes Wade knocked in a three-pointer at 3:53 of the final period.

Even after three quarters, the Blast (17-23) could not have imagined the final score would be so close.

The Blast raced to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, jumping on Kansas City just 46 seconds into the game with midfielder Danny Kelly scoring a two-pointer. Cabral added a two-pointer, and defender Billy Nelson, dribbling goalward virtually uncontested, rocketed a three-pointer past Chris Damico for a seven-point bulge.

The Comets chipped away, though, and by 5:26 of the second period trailed only 9-6 after defender Vlatko Andonovski scored.

The Blast responded with the game's next four points and increased its lead to 17-8 at 9:46 of the third quarter, when Kelly scored off a pass from Iain Fraser .

But the Comets scored the last seven points of the third, receiving two goals from Nino DaSilva (who had four for the game) and a three-pointer from defender Alex Zotinca, making the score 17-15.

"In the second half, we woke up and played harder than them," said DaSilva. "But they were just able to finish more often than we did. Give them credit for that."

The Comets (23-17) lost for only the second time at home this season. Kansas City is 17-2 at home.

Comets forward Dino Delevski, the league's leading scorer (184 points), was held scoreless, only the second time that has happened this season.

Blast 9 2 6 3 - 20

Kansas City 4 2 9 3 - 18

First quarter-1. Blast, Kelly (2pt.) (Cabral), :48; 2. Blast, Cabral (2pt.) (Santoro), 3:53; 3. Blast, Nelson (3pt.), 6:10; 4. Kansas City, DaSilva (2pt.) (Andonovski), 9:15; 5. Blast, Tschantret (2pt.) (Fraser), 10:14; 6. Kansas City, Leone (2pt.), 12:27.

Second quarter-7. Kansas City, Andonovski (2pt.), 5:26; 8. Blast, Cabral (2pt.), 8:43.

Third quarter-9. Blast, Celenza (2pt.) (Kelly), 2:53; 10. Kansas City, DaSilva (2pt.), 6:19; 11. Blast, Celenza (2pt.), (Walker), 6:45; 12. Blast, Kelly, (2pt.), 9:46; 13. Kansas City, DaSilva (2pt.), 10:29; 14. Kansas City, Zotinca (3pt.), 11:01; 15. Kansas City, DaSilva (2pt.) (Koetters), 14:29;

Fourth quarter: 16. Kansas City, Wade (3pt.) (DaSilva), 3:53; 17. Blast, Cabral (3pt.) (Wright), 9:15. Shots on goal: Blast 14-2-13-7-36; Kansas City 8-6-8-11-33. Power-play opportunies: Blast 0-1; Kansas City 1-2. Goalies: Blast, Hileman 3-3-4-4-14; Kansas City, Damico 5-1-7-5-18. A: 2,888.

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