Walker's 3 help Blast to 5th win in row, 10-7

Cabral adds 2 goals, assist

defense also key vs. Force

Pro Soccer

November 29, 2003|By Chuck Murr | Chuck Murr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CLEVELAND - Tarik Walker scored three goals to lead the Blast to its fifth victory in a row, a 10-7 triumph over the Cleveland Force last night.

Denison Cabral added two goals and contributed an assist for the Blast (7-3), which remained a half game behind first-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Division.

Cleveland (3-5) stayed in the game on the individual effort of rookie Aduato Neto, who had three goals and two assists, but the Force ended up dropping its fourth in a row.

"We got some lucky bounces," Walker said. "But we also made a conscious effort on defense. We learned at the end of last season that the only thing that keeps this team from winning is giving up goals."

"We're playing well right now," Blast coach Tim Wittman said. "What I liked was the boys going all-out both ways on the field. It was our second game in three nights and nobody slowed down.

"I don't care who scores the goals. We play defense, we've got the talent to score at the other end."

Both teams made defensive adjustments in the second half after a wild opening two quarters that featured 12 goals. The Blast bolted to leads of 3-0 and 7-3 by taking advantage of Force defensive breakdowns.

Danny Kelly opened the scoring by converting a restart pass from Carlos Farias and sending home a goal 4:34 into the game on a ball that was deflected into the net by Force defender Josh Timbers. Another Cleveland mistake made it 2-0: Cabral picked off an errant outlet pass from Force goalkeeper Otto Orf and sent it right back into the net at 11:15 of the first quarter.

Kelly set up Walker for another goal 1:15 into the second period and it looked as if the Blast was ready to romp - until it began making mistakes.

The Blast failed to get back on defense just 16 seconds after Walker's goal, and Ato Leone made it pay by taking a pass from Neto and scoring. One minute and four seconds later, Blast defender Wendell Regis was called for tripping John Ball in the penalty area and veteran Hector Marinaro converted the penalty kick to make it 3-2.

Blast 2 5 1 2 - 10

Cleveland 0 5 1 1 - 7

First quarter -1, Blast, Kelly (Farias) 4:34; 2, Blast, Cabral (unassisted) 11:15. Penalties-None. Second quarter - 3, Blast, Walker (Kelly) 1:15; 4, Cle, Leone (Neto) 1:31; 5, Cle, Marinaro (penalty kick) 2:35, PPG; 6, Blast, Celenza (Tschantret) 3:47; 7, Cle, Neto (Orf) 5:04; 8, Blast, Farias (Tschantret) 8:16; 9, Blast, Walker (Kelly) 10:47, PPG; 10, Wakefield (Farias) 12:31; 11, Cle, Leone (Edgerton) 13:43; 12, Cle, Neto (Pizzolitto) 14:45 . Penalties -Blast, Regis (tripping) 2:34; Cle, Marinaro (tripping) 9:02. Third quarter -13, Blast, Cabral (Kelly) 1:43; 14, Cle, Pizzolitto (Edgerton) 14:59, PPG.. Penalties -Blast, Nelson (tripping) 14:28; Blast, Celenza (misconduct) 14:28. Fourth quarter -15, Blast, Walker (Cabral) 2:06, PPG; 16, Blast, Hileman (unassisted) 13:21; 17, Cle, Edgerton (unasssisted) 13:37. Penalty-Cle, Corneli, :21. Shots on goal - Blast 8-14-4-9--35 ; Cleveland 7-16-8-8--39. Power play opportunities - Blast 2-2, Cleveland 2-2. Goalkeepers - Blast, Hileman 23 shots, 16 saves; Cleveland, Orf, 24 shots, 15 saves; Marinaro, 1 shot, 0 saves. A-4,779.

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