Blast nears playoffs with 20-18 road win

20-18 win over Comets reduces 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 fourth-place Baltimore 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.

The Blast took the lead for good on midfielder Denison Cabral's three-point goal at 9 minutes, 15 seconds of the fourth quarter. That gave Cabral a hat trick. Kansas City had taken its first lead when captain Wes Wade knocked in a three-pointer at 3:53 of the final period.

Baltimore (17-23) could not have imagined the final score would be so close.

The Blast seemed to be in control from the start, racing 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 Baltimore's 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 at 9:46 of the third quarter.

Again, Kansas City showed a pulse. The Comets scored the last seven points of the third, receiving two goals from Nino DaSilva. Sandwiched in between his two-pointers was a three-point start goal by defender Alex Zotinca. DaSilva, who had four goals on the night, made the score 17-15 with his last one.

The Comets (23-17) lost for only the second time at home this season. Kansas City is 17-2 at home. Kansas City forward Dino Delevski, the league's leading scorer, was held scoreless, only the second time that's happened this season. Delevski has 184 points this season, 13 more than defending scoring champion Hector Marinaro of Cleveland.

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