Blast's adjustments spark 10-6 win

K.C. can't make it 2 in row against defending champs

Pro Soccer

January 03, 2004|By Sam Mellinger | Sam Mellinger,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Blast coach Tim Wittman said his team learned a lesson when it lost to the Kansas City Comets last month. His team proved him right in a 10-6 victory last night before 3,010 at Kemper Arena.

Kansas City's high-pressure attack, which helped it to a 7-6 overtime victory in Baltimore on Dec. 13, backfired against the Blast this time.

The Blast was able to turn the Comets' aggressiveness into goals.

The Blast (10-5) never trailed against the Comets (5-9). The defending league champions led 4-0 in the second quarter, 7-3 in the third, and 10-5 in the fourth. It was a large margin considering the Comets outshot the Blast 42-31.

"They did a good job playing that pressure game against us last time," Wittman said. "And I thought we did a good job of adjusting to that. I thought we played very good. We changed some things since the last time we played them."

The Comets took more than twice as many shots (11-5) as the Blast in the first quarter, but couldn't manage a goal. After the Blast scored three times in a span of less than six minutes in the second quarter, it led 4-0 and controlled the rest of play.

Kansas City cut the deficit to 4-2 in the second quarter and then 5-3 early in the third quarter, but each time the Blast answered with a timely score. Giuliano Celenza scored his third goal on a nifty one-on-one move in the third quarter to make it 7-3.

"Momentum in the indoor game is so important," Wittman said. "They'd get a goal, then we'd get one right back. To do that as the road team was very important for us."

The Blast, which lost in Dallas last week, avoided its first losing streak of the season and pulled with percentage points of first-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Division. Kansas City, which lost to Dallas on Wednesday, has lost three of its past four and is six games behind Milwaukee in the Central.

The Blast, which lost to Kansas City in overtime last month, always seemed a step ahead of the Comets. Wittman said his team made some adjustments against the Comets' high-pressure attack.

Comets coach Zoran Savic noticed the differences, too.

"They did a great job of exposing the extra space that we gave them," Savic said. "Baltimore played great. They deserved to win the game."

This is the fifth time in 14 games the Comets have surrendered 10 or more goals. They've given up 123 goals this season, 33 more than any other team in the league.

The Blast earned most of its goals, though it did get a lucky deflection by P.J. Wakefield in the second quarter and a soft goal by Chile Farias against Comets goalkeeper D.J. Horvath in the fourth quarter.

Blast 1 4 2 3 - 10

Kansas City 0 2 2 2 - 6

First quarter: 1. Blast, Eller 1 pt. (Cabral), 7:24. Penalties: Kansas City, bench, misconduct, 2 minutes.

Second quarter: 2. Blast, Celenza 1pt. (Wakefield), 2:02; 3. Blast, Wakefield 1 pt. (Handsor), 6:53; 4. Blast, Farias 1pt. (Regis), 7:43; 5. Kansas City, Delevski 1 pt. (Djerisilo), 8:22; 6. Kansas City, Maher 1pt. (Wade), 10:12; 7. Blast, Walker 1 pt. (Cabral), 13:25. Penalties: Kansas City, Wade, tripping, 6:53; Kansas City, Soell, misconduct, 12:03; Blast, Nelson, tripping, 8:22; Kansas City, Delevski, tripping, 12:43.

Third quarter: 8. Kansas City, Davis 1pt. (Wade), 2:01; 9. Blast, Celenza 1 pt. (Handsor), 3:50; 10. Blast, Celenza 1pt. (Wakefield), 4:57; 11. Kansas City, Djerisilo 1pt. (Houser), 10:04. Penalties: Kansas City, Tanzini, boarding, 8:14.

Fourth quarter: 12. Blast, Farias 1pt. (Hileman), 0:49; 13. Kansas City, Houser 1pt. (Tanzini), 4:53; 14. Blast, Walker 1pt. (Eller), 6:17; 15. Blast, Cabral 1pt. (Farias), 12:44; 16. Kansas City, Delevski 1pt., 14:41.

Shots on goal: Blast 5-11-8-7- 31; Kansas City 1-19-13-9 - 42. Power plays: Blast 1-3, Kansas City 2-2. Goalkeepers: Blast, Scott Hileman, 18 shots, 12 saves, 6 goals allowed. Kansas City, Chris Damico, 10 shots, 5 saves, 5 goals allowed; D.J. Horvath, 8 shots, 3 saves, 5 goals allowed.

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