Blast's 3-game streak ended by Wave, 16-14

Milwaukee gets 20th win, but not without struggle


February 02, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

When Milwaukee Wave defender Troy Dusosky sent one final clear to the other end - preserving a 16-14 win over the Blast last night - he mockingly grabbed his chest and let out a sigh of relief.

The Blast - which for two nights at 1st Mariner Arena was in the finest company the Major Indoor Soccer League has to offer - couldn't pull off another big home win, but it certainly showed well.

Surrendering two three-point goals earlier in the fourth quarter to fall behind 16-10, the home team rallied but fell two points short in a bid to follow up Friday night's impressive, 7-2 win over the defending league-champion Philadelphia KiXX.

Last night's loss, in front of the second-largest home crowd of the season at 8,539, ended a three-game Blast winning streak. But, at 10-15 for the season, the team remained a half-game in front of the Harrisburg Heat - a 17-16 loser to the KiXX last night - for third place in the Eastern Conference.

The Blast matched the Wave - which came into the game with the league's best record and left the same way at 20-5 - goal for goal through three quarters. But the fourth period, which was a friend in three previous wins, let the home team down this time.

"We showed that fourth-quarter character we've come up with lately, but just didn't have enough this time," said Blast coach Bobby McAvan. "When a team scores three-pointers on you, heads can go down, but we kept at it."

Goals by Greg Howes and Sean Reti gave the Wave a 16-10 lead with 5:16 left, but rookie P.J. Wakefield answered with consecutive two-pointers less than a minute apart to cut the lead to 16-14 with 4:09 remaining.

A shot by Denison Cabral actually went off the boards and behind Wave goalkeeper Dan Green, but it stayed out of the net in time for Green to recover.

Some good fortune, hard work in the corner and nifty touches in front led to three unanswered goals by the Blast for a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.

Giuliano Celenza got the scoring started, finding just enough space at the penalty dot to get a shot off that was deflected in by a Milwaukee defender for a 2-0 lead with 9:59 left.

Two goals 14 seconds apart midway through the quarter gave the Blast its 6-0 lead.

First, midfielder Rich Daughtridge dug a ball out of the right corner and let go an unexpected shot that found the net.

Tarik Walker finished off a left-footed try from the left side after working a textbook give-and-go with Jason Dieter.

McAvan said that, along with some missed chances on the power play, the Blast's major undoing was its inability to build on the fast start.

"We came out flying, but were unable to extend that lead," he said. "Then, when they got their first goal, they started to pressure and no team pressures better than Milwaukee. We had trouble picking up their runners and they got going."

The Wave controlled the second quarter to get back in the game, with two-point goals by Matt Schmidt, Joe Reiniger and Todd Dusosky tying the score at 6 at the half.

NOTE: Veteran midfielder Danny Kelly will be sidelined for two weeks after dislocating an elbow in Friday's win over Philadelphia.

Milwaukee 0 6 4 6 - 16

Blast 6 0 4 4 - 14

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