MISL semifinals

April 19, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham

MISL semifinals

Blast (18-26) at Milwaukee Wave (34-10)

When: Tonight, 8:30, WJFK (1300 AM)

Where: Bradley Center, Milwaukee

Format: One-game semifinal

Outlook: The Wave's home dominance (22-0 at the Bradley Center) and the whopping 16 games that separated the teams in the regular-season standings don't seem to faze the Blast. It's the playoffs now, the time the team has long been anticipating, and players are confident they can get the job done. That may be easier said than done. The Blast can't give anything away at the defensive end and must match the Wave's tireless, collective work rate, shift after shift. One advantage for the Blast is better speed, but midfielder Paul Wright and Co. must take advantage of the Bradley Center's spacious confines. With goalkeeper Victor Nogueira directing in back, the Wave will try to maintain possession of the ball and look for target players Joe Reiniger and Michael King, with runners peeling off them. Blast defenders have to stay disciplined and, more importantly, stay on their marks. An early Blast lead could get the Wave antsy to make things interesting.

Philadelphia KiXX (30-14) at Kansas City Comets (24-20)

When: Tonight, 8:30

Where: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo.

Format: One-game semifinal

Outlook: Shame on the league for this one. The KiXX earned second place with a franchise-record 30 wins but had to defer the home-field advantage, because a circus has the First Union Spectrum, and no other accommodations could be made to rightly play the game in Philadelphia or the surrounding area. It's a distinct advantage for the third-place Comets, who enjoyed an 18-4 home record while struggling on the road at 6-16 this season. The teams have totally different philosophies. The Comets come with a high-powered attack, led by Dino Delevski, whose 210 points led the league. The KiXX relies on goalkeeper Peter Pappas (10.58 points-against average, league-leading 23 wins) and a tight-marking, disciplined defense. Remember last year's playoffs, when the KiXX came away with a deciding 16-15 win at Baltimore to advance to the championship round?

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