Blast slips past Sidekicks, 3-2

Backup keeper Moumban and tight defense stymie short-handed opponent

Pro Soccer

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

It wasn't the kind of win new Blast coach Timmy Wittman may have envisioned when he first scrolled down his talented roster back in the preseason.

But it was a win nonetheless last night against a short-handed Dallas Sidekicks team that backed up with a defense-first approach and offense a distant second.

The Blast got a goal from P.J. Wakefield with 12:13 left in the game, and backup goalkeeper Karim Moumban and an organized defensive effort handled the rest in a scrappy 3-2 win before 3,927 at 1st Mariner Arena.

With starting goalkeeper Scott Hileman out with an injured shoulder, Mounbam needed to make only six saves in his first start of the season, the biggest coming with 4:05 left when he dived to his right to turn away a shot from Ricardinho. Near-flawless play in front of him, particularly when the Sidekicks went to an extra attacker with 2:40 left, took care of the rest to put the Blast at 2-2 on the season.

The Blast had a 38-15 advantage in shots, went 0-for-2 on the power play and missed a penalty kick against a Dallas side that had seven players listed out and only 15 dressed. It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.

"We're getting a lot of opportunities, but the balls are just not going in right now. The problem is we're beating ourselves and have got to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. If we do that, it could have been a 10-2 game," Wittman said.

Though the offense wasn't on target, Moumban and the defense were airtight.

The Cameroon native was making his first start in two seasons, and one of his toughest tasks was getting to the arena. When he walked out of his Silver Spring home, he found his car had been towed, so he took a bus to find his way into the starting lineup.

He arrived ready, saving his best for last with the reaction save on Ricardinho.

"That was all reflex - that comes from the work we do in training every day," said Moumban. "I'm here and know I have to be ready at any time because anything can happen."

After Denison Cabral tied the game at 2 late in the third quarter, the Blast found space and numbers early in the fourth quarter when Carlos Farias fed Wakefield on the right side. Wakefield's shot skimmed off Dallas keeper Sagu (19 saves) and in to give the Blast its first lead.

With time, Blast forward Lee Tschantret - who opened the team's scoring late in the second quarter - hopes to find more of the same finishes.

"We're getting a lot of shots, but I don't know if we're getting quality shots," he said. "You've got to grind it out right now and get things figured out in practice. Continuity comes with playing a lot."

Dallas 0 2 0 0 - 2

Blast 0 1 1 1 - 3

First quarter - None. Penalties - None. Second quarter - 1. Dallas, Nash, (Brown), 2:26; 2. Blast, Tschantret, 14:02; 3. Dallas, Dugas, (Doyle), 14:59. Penalties - Dallas, Curtis, (tripping), 10:53; Blast, Gilbert, (holding), 14:34; Blast, bench, (dissent), 15:00. Third quarter -4. Blast, Cabral, (Bascome), 11:34. Penalties - Dallas, Pernia, (tripping), 6:33. Fourth quarter - 5. Blast, Wakefield, (Farias), 2:47. Penalties - None. Shots on goal - Dallas 2-8-2-3 - 15; Blast 7-18-6-7 - 38. Power-play opportunities - Dallas 1-for-1; Blast 0-for-2. Goalkeepers - Dallas, Sagu, 22 shots, 19 saves; Blast, Moumban, 8 shots, 6 saves. A - 3,927.

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