Blast stays at top of its game vs. Sockers

9-5 victory keeps team in running for best mark as season winds down

Pro Soccer

March 21, 2004|By Glae Thien | Glae Thien,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SAN DIEGO - Even though Blast coach Tim Wittman sympathized with San Diego over a recent Major Indoor Soccer League ruling, he still needed his team to beat the Sockers last night.

And the Blast players obliged with a 9-5 victory that kept the club in a tight race for best overall record in the MISL with two weeks left in the regular season.

David Bascome had two first-quarter goals, starting with the 400th of his career, to help lead the Blast (23-9) before 5,792 at the San Diego Sports Arena.

The Blast, which let a 5-3 halftime lead slip away, regained control on goals by Denison Cabral and Giuliano Celenza for a 7-5 edge to end the third quarter.

Chile Farias had two goals and an assist against his old club, and Celenza added two goals. Sean Bowers had two goals and an assist for the Sockers (13-20).

"I'm very impressed with Baltimore," said Bowers, who was traded from the Blast after last season. "They have eight or nine players who can score. If you stop one, they have another one who can score."

Wittman reacted to how San Diego was affected when Monterrey forfeited four games for using ineligible players. The Sockers were knocked from the playoffs after two other teams benefited from forfeit wins.

"It's a joke," said Wittman, referring to the MISL decision. "If there are going to be penalties, there should be a fine. But you don't penalize another team because of their mistakes [at Monterrey]."

The Blast, which saw Philadelphia pick up a forfeit win in its race for first place in the Eastern Division, still owns a four-game lead over the Kixx. In the overall standings, the Blast remained a half-game back of Milwaukee.

"I'm not worried about Milwaukee," said Wittman, whose club has four games remaining. "We've just have got to win. We're looking at first place in out division and a bye in the first round of the playoffs."

San Diego pulled even at 5 with 7:06 left in the third quarter on a power-play goal by Paul Dougherty against Lee Tschantret in goal with starting goalie Scott Hileman in the penalty box for a hand ball. But Cabral answered with a go-ahead goal 39 seconds later.

"We had just to keep plugging away," Wittman said. "After they came back strong to tie the game, we really didn't have much choice."

Blast 3 2 2 2 - 9

San Diego 3 0 2 0 - 5

First quarter - Blast, Farias (Cabral), 4:03; San Diego, Bollella (unassisted), 4:48; Blast, Bascome (Walker), 6:52; San Diego, Bowers (Wright), 9:01; San Diego, Bowers (Aristodemo), 12:44; Blast, Bascome (Celenza), 14:36 . Penalties - Blast, Bader, yellow card (dissent), 11:31. Second quarter - Blast, Tschantret (Kante), 8:10; Blast, Celenza (unassisted), 14:55. Penalties - San Diego, Dougherty, holding, 13:41. Third quarter - San Diego, Bollella (Wright), 2:49; San Diego, Dougherty (Bowers), power play, 7:54; Blast, Cabral (Farias), 8:33; Blast, Celenza (Bader), 12:38. Penalties - Blast, Hileman, hand ball, 7:27. Fourth quarter - Blast, Farias (unassisted), 2:31; Blast, Handsor (Wakefield), 11:13, empty-net. Penalties - None. Shots on goal - Blast 8-6-6-3 23; San Diego 10-6-9-5 30. Power play - Blast 0-1, San Diego 1-2. Goalkeepers - Blast, Hileman, 20 shots, 15 saves; Tschantret, 2 shots, 1 save. San Diego, Nogueira, 16 shots, 7 saves.

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