Blast looks back, then moves on, 4-3

Win over Sidekicks comes after ceremony honoring three stalwarts from past

Soccer

January 11, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Blast turned back the clock last night in more ways than one.

It went retro on the franchise's first Hall of Fame night, pulling out the wildly colorful orange and yellow uniforms from the team's glory years of the mid-1980s. It also honored some of its greatest stars with a touching halftime ceremony before 8,235 at the 1st Mariner Arena.

David Bascome and Chris Handsor then helped the Blast (13-5) win a game between division leaders. Bascome scored twice while Handsor had three assists as the Blast pulled out a 4-3 win over the Dallas Sidekicks.

The Eastern Division-leading Blast's fourth straight win improved it to 9-2 in home games. Dallas (11-8) saw a four-game winning streak ended, but remained the Western Division leader..

At halftime, longtime coach Kenny Cooper, former player/coach Mike Stankovic and the late Stan Stamenkovic became the Hall of Fame's first inductees in an on-field ceremony that featured a video.

The popular Cooper drew a loud ovation during the 25-minute ceremony that remembered some of the special moments from the franchise's early days before the team unveiled a yellow banner bearing the names of the three honorees.

"It reminded me a little bit of the old days," said Blast coach Tim Wittman, who played on Cooper's teams. "Kenny was here, Mike was here and there was a good crowd. It brought back some memories."

Wittman said his team was tired in its second game in two nights and had to survive the physical and aggressive play that is a Dallas trademark.

"They just buzz and buzz and buzz," Wittman said. "They just keep on running and running."

But Blast goalie Scott Hileman (10 saves) and his teammates used ball control to hold Dallas at bay after the first quarter. The Sidekicks had several scoring chances in the opening minutes, getting goals on two of them, but the Blast slowed them after that.

The Sidekicks entered the game as the league's top-scoring team, but they were held without a goal for 30:22 after the two early goals.

The Blast now has two one-goal victories over Dallas this season.

"Control of the ball is control of the game," Bascome said. "After the first quarter, we just had to weather the storm."

Handsor assisted on the Blast's first, third and fourth goals - the final two coming from Bascome, which helped the Blast rally from its shaky first quarter.

Dallas' quickness caused the Blast problems in the early minutes, and the Sidekicks took a 2-1 lead after a first period when they had a 9-3 advantage in shots.

But the Blast matched Dallas' aggressiveness in the second quarter and used goals from Neil Gilbert and Bascome to take a 3-2 halftime lead. Handsor set up the go-ahead goal with 8:03 left in the half with a slick through ball that let Bascome break in alone on Dallas goalie Sagu (eight saves).

Bascome then made it 4-2 with 10:16 left in the third quarter, floating a 10-yard shot past Sagu from the left wing. Ricardinho broke a long Dallas drought and cut the lead to 4-3 by scoring with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter, but the Blast hung on.

Dallas 2 0 0 1 - 3

Blast 1 2 1 0 - 4

First quarter: 1, Dal. Alebic (unassisted), 1:54; 2, Blast, Tschantret (Handsor), 3:19. 3, Dal., Shamu (Dugas), 10:20. Penalties: None.

Second quarter: 4, Blast, Gilbert (Wakefield), 5:07; 5, Blast, Bascome (Handsor), 6:57. Penalties: None.

Third quarter: 6, Blast, Bascome (Handsor), 4:44. Penalties: Dallas, Nash (tripping), 9:50.

Fourth quarter: 7, Dal., Ricardinho (Doyle), 10:42. Penalties: None.

Shots on goal: Dallas 9-5-5-4--23 Blast 3-7-10-7--27. Power play opportunities: Dallas 0-0, Blast 0-1. Goalkeepers: Dallas, Sagu (12 shots, 8 saves), Doyle (0 shots, 0 saves); Blast, Hileman (13 shots, 10 saves). A: 8,235.

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