Blast rips Wave in MISL Finals opener, 12-3

Seven-goal final period deals host its worst loss in playoffs in team history

Pro Soccer

April 24, 2004|By Nick Dettmann | Nick Dettmann,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MILWAUKEE - If early indications mean anything, then this rematch is shaping up as a mismatch.

In the opener of the Major Indoor Soccer League Finals, the second-seeded Blast moved one step closer to repeating as champion with a convincing, 12-3 win over the top-seeded Milwaukee Wave at U.S. Cellular Arena last night.

The loss was the worst in postseason play in Milwaukee franchise history.

The win was the Blast's third straight over the Wave, which is making its sixth appearance in the championship round in seven years. The Blast took the last two games of last year's best-of-three finals en route to the championship.

"They're the best team in the league at this point," said Blast coach Tim Wittman, who pointed to two third-period goals by his team after Milwaukee had rallied from a 3-1 deficit to a 3-3 tie as the key to victory.

"They really took us to the next level," Wittman said. "That was a difference right there. ... Momentum, as you know, swings either way at any given second, and it went in our favor - and we just kept it going."

This year's championship will be decided in a best-of-five format. Game 2 will be tonight, also in Milwaukee. Games 3 and, if necessary, 4 will be played in Baltimore next weekend.

Chile Farias led one of the Blast's top offensive performances of the season with a hat trick and a pair of assists. Giuliano Celenza added two goals with an assist. Goalie Scott Hileman made the box score with a rarity - two assists.

Milwaukee scored the game's first goal, barely 30 seconds into play. But the Blast didn't waver and led 3-1 at halftime on goals by Allen Eller, Chris Handsor and Tarik Walker.

Milwaukee came out strong in the third period as forward Greg Howes, MISL scoring champion in the regular season, scored 1:49 into the quarter, trimming the deficit to 3-2..

The Blast had a great opportunity to make it 4-2, but a diving save by Wave goalie Dan Green stonewalled Celenza, who had an empty net to shoot at.

As Celenza stood in shock, Milwaukee countered to tie the score at 3-3 on a goal by Giuliano Oliviero on a pass from Howes.

The Blast retook the lead for good with two goals in the final three minutes of the third period.

In the fourth quarter, the roof caved in on the Wave. Blast defender Billy Nelson gave his team a 6-3 lead just 58 seconds into the final period, and, about 90 seconds later, Denison Cabral pushed to 7-3.

In the fifth minute, Celenza made it 8-3, and the rest came almost at will as Milwaukee replaced its goalie with a sixth attacker, only to see Baltimore counterattack relentlessly.

Blast 2 1 2 7 - 12

Milwaukee 1 0 2 0 - 3

First quarter - 1, Milwaukee, Fontana (Troy Dusosky), 0:22; 2, Blast, Eller (unassisted), 5:27; 3, Blast, Handsor (Farias), 9:33). Penalties - Blast, Eller (tripping), 3:15; Blast, Gilbert (tripping), 8:57. Second quarter - 4, Blast, Walker (Eller), 0:37. Penalties - None. Third quarter - 5, Milwaukee, Howes (Troy Dusosky), 1:49; 6, Milwaukee, Oliviero (Howes), 3:13; 7, Blast, Farias (unassisted), 11:12; 8, Blast, Kelly (Celenza), 13:52. Penalties -Milwaukee, Reiniger (holding), 6:48. Fourth quarter -9, Blast, Nelson (Wakefield), 0:58; 10, Blast, Cabral (Farias), 3:35; 11, Blast, Celenza (Hileman), 4:33; 12, Blast, Farias (unassisted), 7:34 (eng); 13, Blast, Walker (unassisted), 7:41 (eng); 14, Blast, Celenza (unassisted), 10:01; 15, Blast, Farias (unassisted), 10:56. Penalties - Milwaukee, Ackah (red card-elbowing), 8:52. Shots -Blast 5-8-13-11 - 37, Milwaukee 7-9-8-11 - 35. Blocks - Blast 16, Milwaukee 12. Fouls - Blast 19, Milwaukee 12. Goalies - Blast, Hileman 16 saves, Milwaukee, Green 13 saves. A -6,204.

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