Defense leads Blast to 7-2 win

Steamers held scoreless until 3rd

Hileman stops 15

Pro Soccer

October 18, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Blast's new robust offense certainly had its moments last night at 1st Mariner Arena with the expansion St. Louis Steamers in town. But it was the home team's familiar commitment to defense that left the more lasting impression.

Goalkeeper Scott Hileman and some tight marking kept the Steamers scoreless deep into the third quarter, which proved more than enough time for the offense to build a comfortable margin that sent the defending Major Indoor Soccer League champs to a 7-2 win before 5,072 fans.

The Blast got 15 saves from Hileman and two key second-half goals from newcomer Chile Farias to give Timmy Wittman his first career coaching win and the team its first win of the season and a 1-1 record.

"When you say defense, it was the whole team working, and we were also able to put the ball in the net," said Wittman, whose Blast travels to Milwaukee to take on the Wave tonight.

"We held the ball well, kept control and we're going to get better and better at those things. The thing right now is getting the win and expect things to get better and better and better."

The Blast, with the help of two first-half goals from Denison Cabral, built a 3-0 lead that remained until Steamers forward Steve Butcher scored on a power play with 4:18 left in the third quarter. Farias, making his Blast debut, answered less than 30 seconds later off a feed from Lee Tschantret, and he added another early in the fourth quarter to send the Blast on its way.

"To get the quick goal and go up three goals again gave us confidence back and helped pin them down," said Farias, who was the second-leading scorer in the MISL last season with the San Diego Sockers.

Last night marked the return of former Blast keeper Brett Phillips, who rotated with Hileman last season and was last seen stopping shot after shot to help lead the Blast to the MISL championship. Wearing a St. Louis uniform last night, Phillips didn't enjoy things quite as much.

Two goals came in the game's first two minutes for the home team - the first an own goal that deflected off Butcher in front and was credited to Cabral, and the second a tough-angled shot from David Bascome that went through the hands of Phillips and into the top right corner.

A second goal from Cabral, off a nifty feed in the left corner from Tschantret with 9:59 left in the second quarter, came in between some sharp play from Hileman and built a 3-0 lead.

NOTES: The Blast Fan Club has two bus trips planned to support the team on the road. The first will take place Nov. 1 when the Blast travels to Philadelphia to take on the KiXX. The second is to Cleveland for the Blast's Nov. 28 game against the Force and includes an overnight stay. For more information, call 410-661-2293. ... Former Blast midfielder Craig Scheer, a steady contributor as a rookie down the stretch of last year's championship season, returned for the first time in a Steamers uniform. He was selected by St. Louis in the expansion draft.

St. Louis 0 0 1 1 - 2

Blast 2 1 1 3 - 7

First quarter -1. Blast, Cabral, :43; 2. Blast, Bascome, (Hileman), 1:44. Penalties - None. Second quarter - 3. Blast, Cabral, (Tschantret), 5:01. Penalties-None. Third quarter - 4. St. Louis, Butcher, (Susi), 10:42; 5. Blast, Farias, (Tschantret), 11:05. Penalties - Blast, Celenza, (tripping), 10:23. Fourth quarter- 6. Blast, Farias, (Eller), 2:55; 7. St. Louis, Scheer, (Butcher), 9:15; 8. Blast, Tschantret, (Kelly), 10:28; 9. Blast, Gilbert, 12:17. Penalties - Blast, Tschantret, (tripping), 5:41. Shots on goal - St. Louis 5-9-4-14 - 32; Blast 9-5-3-8 - 25. Power-play opportunities - St. Louis 1-for-2; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers : St. Louis, Phillips, 14 shots, 9 saves, DiMaria, 2 shots, 0 saves; Blast, Hileman, 17 shots, 15 saves. A - 5,072.

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