Blast unable to ride Wave to victory, 12-5

Baltimore offense stifled

rematch set for Friday

Soccer

April 08, 2002|By Charles F. Gardner | Charles F. Gardner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Wave goalkeeper Dan Green said the surroundings felt strange as he stepped onto the turf yesterday at the Bradley Center.

Green was making his first start at home since November 1999, giving All-Star goalkeeper Victor Nogueira a rare day off, and he used the home appearance as inspiration for a sparkling 11-save performance as the Wave defeated the Blast, 12-5, before 8,503.

"I expected Baltimore to come out flying, and they came out pretty hard," he said.

The Blast (18-24), fresh off a victory over Harrisburg that clinched the final Major Indoor Soccer League playoff berth, was limited to a three-point goal by defender Sean Bowers and a two-pointer by midfielder Denison Cabral. The Blast pulled within 8-5 on Cabral's right-footed goal in the final minute of the third quarter, but the Wave answered with two goals in the fourth quarter.

The Wave will have a chance to complete a perfect home record and give coach Keith Tozer his 500th victory on Friday night when the Blast returns to Milwaukee. The teams also will meet in the playoffs, a one-game semifinal match on April 19 at the Bradley Center.

Both coaches said little from the game yesterday could be applied to the playoff battle. The Wave rested Nogueira and forwards Joe Reiniger and Brian Loftin. Blast coach Kevin Healey held out forward Lee Tschantret and midfielders Paul Wright and Danny Kelly.

Blast goalkeeper Scott Hileman finished with 17 saves, and Bowers came up with two strong stops against Michael King in the final three minutes, after Healey pulled Hileman and went to a sixth-attacking unit.

"Today, we had to do the road trip after playing the night before and we needed strong goalkeeping," Healey said. "We certainly got it from Scott and that gave us some incentive that we were going to win the ballgame."

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