Blast surges past Sidekicks, 16-11

9-point, 2nd-period burst leaves Dallas in lurch

two in row is aim tonight

Soccer

January 11, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It was as if the Blast took out an entire season's worth of frustration in the blink of an eye late in the second quarter last night at 1st Mariner Arena.

Three goals came on three straight shots - four goals and nine points in all covering a span of 2 minutes and 34 seconds that easily put away the overmatched Dallas Sidekicks, 16-11.

Earlier this week, new Blast coach Bobby McAvan called this six-game home stretch a wonderful opportunity and make-or-break time. It began well enough last night.

A balanced attack led by Lee Tschantret's two goals was accompanied by strong team defense when needed for the victory before 4,471.

The Blast improved to 7-13, remaining in last place in the Major Indoor Soccer League's Eastern Conference, and will try to win two in a row for the first time this season when the Philadelphia KiXX comes to town tonight for a 7:35 start.

With help from the Cleveland Force, which came back to defeat third-place Harrisburg, 14-12, last night, the Blast is now just 1 1/2 games behind the 9-12 Heat for the final playoff spot in the conference.

"It's nice when the team goes on a [scoring] tear and a lot of those goals came from hard work and sheer perseverance," said McAvan. "It's always good to win the first of back-to-back games. That was encouraging. This is our home turf, so we have to play well so teams come in here showing a little respect."

The Sidekicks, with the legendary Tatu making his first appearance here since 1992, lost for the fifth straight time to fall to 6-16, the worst record in the league.

Tatu, 40, the player/coach who has scored 851 goals and has 719 assists in 20-plus seasons, was kept off the scoring sheet last night.

The Blast, which remained perfect at home at 3-0 since McAvan took over last month, did exactly what was needed to be done on its turf against a team that is struggling: keep it that way.

The late second-quarter binge started with the Blast leading 5-2, following Rich Daughtridge's three-point shot 14 seconds into the period.

Daughtridge, signed to a 15-day/five-game contract on Thursday, looked right at home in his first game of the season. He took a pass from Tarik Walker along the right boards and wasted no time finding the lower-right corner.

"Tarik gave me a great ball and I was able to line it up," said Daughtridge. "I didn't know what to do after I scored. It felt great. We were just buzzing around, working hard [in the second quarter], and I think that's half the battle right there."

Giuliano Celenza hit a three-pointer on the power play with 3:42 left, Billy Nelson followed with a goal that came from hard work, and then Tschantret scored consecutive goals 1:32 apart.

Just like that it was Blast 14, Sidekicks 2. Dallas didn't quit in an ugly, penalty-riddled second half, but was never able to get back in the game.

Dallas 2 0 5 4 - 11

Blast 2 12 2 0 - 16

First quarter - 1. Blast, Wakefield, 2 pt., (Cabral), 8:05; 2. Dallas, Sutton, 2 pt., (Doyle), 10:21 . Penalties - none. Second quarter - 3. Blast, Daughtridge, 3 pt., (Walker), :14; 4. Blast, Celenza, 3 pt., (Kelly), 11:18; 5. Blast, Nelson, 2 pt., 11:51; 6. Blast, Tschantret, 2 pt., (Dieter), (12:20); 7. Blast, Tschantret, 2 pt., (Scheer), 13:52. Penalties -Dallas, Valdivia, (tripping), 10:49. Third quarter - 8. Dallas, Valdavia, 2 pt. (Doyle), 11:16; 9. Blast, Wells, 2 pt., (Walker), 11:38; 10. Dallas, Pedrosa, 3 pt., (Curtis), 13:39. Penalties - Dallas, Sutton, (tripping), 4:38; Blast, Wakefield, (pushing), 6:53; Blast, Nelson, (holding), 10:31. Fourth quarter - 11. Dallas, Pedrsosa, 2 pt., (Starvou), 10:42; 12. Dallas, Pedrosa, 2 pt., (Doyle), 14:15. Penalties -Blast, Walker, (charging), 2:45; Blast, Tschantret, (tripping), 9:50; Dallas, Shamu, (five-minute misconduct), 13:55. Shots on goal - Dallas 2-3-6-11-22; Blast 6-8-3-1-18. Power-play opportunities - Dallas 2-for-4; Blast 1-for-2. Shootout opportunities - Dallas 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers - Dallas, Sagu, 15 shots, 8 saves; Blast, Hileman, 15 shots, 10 saves. A -4,471.

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