Blast defense cools Comets in 15-7 win

7 players score for hosts, who pull away for 4th win in past 5 games at home


January 25, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The high-octane Kansas City Comets came to Baltimore last night averaging a Major Indoor Soccer League-best 15 points a game and led by 100-point scorer Dino Delevski. The Blast, bending on occasion but never breaking, wasn't fazed.

The home team mustered the offense and buckled down with smothering defense in the pivotal fourth quarter, appropriately rewarded with a 15-7 win before 5,132 at 1st Mariner Arena.

Blast goals came from seven players, and goalkeeper Brett Phillips stopped 20 Kansas City shots with help from a united defensive front led by Sean Bowers, back from injury.

Taking an 8-7 lead into the fourth quarter, the Blast got an early goal from Dewan Bader, a header from in front by Tarik Walker midway through, and an exclamation mark from Billy Nelson, who put a three-pointer into an open net in the final minutes.

The Blast improved to 8-14 on the season, a half game behind the Harrisburg Heat (9-14) for the third and final playoff spot in the league's Eastern Conference. The San Diego Sockers come to 1st Mariner tonight.

Walker, who led the way with a goal and two early assists for a four-point night, said Bader's fourth-period score "made them come at us, and what we did well was break their pressure and turn it into opportunities for us.

"Now we have to go out against San Diego and play the same way, getting five guys back [on defense] to try to get on a winning streak - not just one game here, one game there."

New coach Bobby McAvan, a Blast defender in the 1980s, has brought back the victory lap following a home win, and the Blast has been circling the field plenty, improving to 5-5 at home on the season and 4-1 since he took over in mid-December.

The Comets (11-11) were without second-leading scorer Nino DaSilva (red-card suspension) and midfielder Nate Houser (groin) but still brought plenty of fireworks. Delevski alone, coming in with a league-best 101 points, has accounted for more points than the Blast's top two scorers combined.

Bottled up most of the game, Delevski took over for a brief stretch of the third quarter with two straight goals to cut the lead to 8-7. But the Blast, which led from start to finish, looked like the offensive juggernaut in the fourth quarter.

The splurge began with the opportunistic goal from by Bader, who beat Kansas City keeper Paolo Ceccarelli high from inside the box to make it 10-7.

"We pressured well, got the ball turned over and just stuck with it," said Bader, who has provided solid midfield play after starting the season as a defender. "The keeper made a nice save on Denison [Cabral], and it came to me and I just hit it."

Kansas City 0 3 4 0 - 7

Blast 2 6 0 7 - 15

First quarter: 1. Blast, Bowers, 2 pt., (Walker), 6:33. Penalties: none.

Second quarter: 2. Blast, Celenza, 2 pt. (Walker), 1:29; 3. Kansas City, Djerisilo, 3 pt., 2:51; 4. Blast, Tschantret, 2 pt., (Cabral), 13:46. Penalties: none.

Third quarter: 5. Blast, Daughteridge, 2 pt., (Di Florio), 2:01; 6. Kansas City, Delevski, 2 pt., (James), 2:21; 7. Kansas City, Delevski, 2 pt., (Sedgewick), 14:50. Penalties: none.

Fourth quarter: 8. Blast, Bader, 2 pt., (Wakefield), 1:25; 9. Blast, Walker, 2 pt., 8:47; 10. Blast, Nelson. 3 pt., 13:36. Penalties: none.

Shots on goal: Kansas City 3-11-13-7 - 34; Blast 6-6-4-14 - 30. Power-play opportunities: Kansas City 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Shootout opportunities: Kansas City 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers: Kansas City, Ceccarelli, 20 shots, 14 saves, Zotinca, 2 shots, 1 save; Blast, Phillips, 23 shots, 20 saves. A: 5,132.

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