Gilbert becomes scorer, helping Blast to 7-5 win

Defender, Cabral record 2 each against Force for second win in two nights

Pro Soccer

January 04, 2004|By Chuck Murr | Chuck Murr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CLEVELAND - Neil Gilbert spent Christmas in Argentina and came back bearing gifts for his Blast teammates.

The veteran, known primarily for his scrappy defensive play, scored two goals, including the go-ahead goal in the fourth quarter, to lead the Blast to a 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Force last night.

"Scoring goals feels great, but being with a winning team is better," said Gilbert, who is in his second season with the Blast - his seventh team in an indoor career that began in 1994. "Ten years in this league, and these guys are the best I've been with."

Gilbert broke a 5-5 tie with his fourth goal of the season with 7:02 to play. Denison Cabral sent a shot toward the Cleveland goal that deflected off a Force defender. Gilbert got to the rebound and nudged the ball past goalkeeper Jim Larkin.

At 10:51 of the second quarter, Gilbert scored from long range on a two-on-one break to tie it at 3.

"I caught the goalie cheating over, playing the pass, so I just shot," he said. "Sometimes, you get a break."

Gilbert had left the team for 10 days to go to Argentina and handle paperwork for green cards for his wife and two children. "First time I was in Argentina for Christmas in 10 years - but I'm glad to be back with my team."

Coach Tim Wittman is glad, too.

"Neil is a hard defender and he gets a bad rap that that's the only thing he does," Wittman said. "He's got a ton of skill, too."

Wittman said he was pleased with the Blast's ability to win its second road game in two nights. "I was just hoping we could keep it close until we found our game legs," Wittman said. "We kept our composure, and good things happened."

Cabral got his second goal of the game with 1:10 to play. He gave the Blast (11-5) a 5-4 lead at 6:11 of the fourth quarter with a power-play goal off a restart pass from Carlos Farias. With Cleveland's Myles Stoddard in the penalty box for pushing, Cabral broke into the box and redirected the feed from Farias for his 14th goal.

Stoddard equalized when he scored off a restart shot by Braeden Cloutier that ricocheted off a post to the Force defender, who knocked it home for his fifth goal, but Cleveland (4-10) suffered its fifth loss in a row and fell to 0-3 this season against the Blast.

"We played hard, I'm pleased with the effort, but frustrated with the result," Force coach Andy Schmetzer said.

Dewan Bader's goal from a sharp angle to the right of Force goalkeeper Jim Larkin tied it at 4 with 52 seconds left in the third quarter after Cleveland had gone ahead on a power-play goal by Lee Edgerton 1 1/2 minutes earlier.

Blast 2 1 1 3 - 7

Cleveland 1 2 1 1 - 5

First quarter: 1, Cle, Marinaro (unassisted) 4:31; 2, Bal, Daughtridge (Nelson) 6:32; 3, Bal, Eller (unassisted) 8:28. Penalties: None.

Second quarter: 4, Cle, Evans (Dore) 6:38; 5, Cle, Campelleone (unassisted) 7:42; 6, Bal, Gilbert (unassisted) 10:51. Penalty: Bal, Wakefield (holding) 12:27.

Third quarter: 7, Cle, Edgerton (Cloutier) PPG, 12:31; 8, Bal, Bader (Farias) 14:08. Penalties: Cle, Dore (pushing) 1:49; Bal, Gilbert (elbowing) 11:39.

Fourth quarter: 9, Bal, Cabral (Farias) PPG, 6:11; 10, Cle, Stoddard (Cloutier) 7:32; 11, Bal, Gilbert (unassisted), 7:58; 12, Bal, Cabrall (shootout) 13:52. Penalty: Cle, Stoddard (pushing) 4:53; Cle, Karic (misconduct) 6:49; Cle, Evans (holding) 13:50.

Shots on goal: Blast 10-7-13-5--35; Cleveland 10-12-10-6--38. Power play opportunities: Blast 2-3, Cleveland 1-2. Goalkeepers: Blast, Hileman 23 shots, 18 saves; Cleveland, Larkin 23 shots, 16 saves; Evans 0 shots, 0 saves; Namazi 0 shots, 0 saves. A: 4,219.

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