CLEVELAND - He may not be ready to sign a long-term housing lease, but Marcos Chantel made a bid to stay with the Blast after his five-game, 15-day contract expires.
Making his debut with the Blast, Chantel scored two goals and had an assist as his team ended a five-game losing streak with an 11-7 victory over the Cleveland Force last night.
"He did great," said defender Scott Schweitzer. "People are going to be reading his name and worrying about him."
Chantel was far from the only Blast hero. Carlos Farias had a game-high five points with three goals and two assists and Giuliano Celenza also recorded a hat trick. The Blast now has three three-goal individual efforts in its past two games.
Brian Rowland got the start in goal and earned his first victory after two losses, stopping 21 of 28 shots. His numbers would have been better had Cleveland not posted two late sixth-attacker goals.
"He's been working hard," said defender David Bascome. "He's got to step up, and tonight he did."
The win was the Blast's seventh straight over its division rival, and coupled with Cleveland's 8-7 overtime loss to Kansas City on Friday night, it left the Blast just a half game behind the second-place Force in the MISL's Eastern Division.
The teams will play seven more times this season, and the Blast may have the psychological edge. "They know we're nipping right at them," Schweitzer said. "They're in a little trouble now. It was a great weekend for us all the way around."
The game didn't start well for the Blast as the Force's Aduato Neto scored just 36 seconds after the start. The Blast came back with a pair of goals; the first by Celenza tied it and Bascome gave the team its first lead at 11:31. The Blast was dominating the action, but Cleveland had a 3-2 lead at the end of the quarter despite being outshot 12-5.
The game was still in doubt when Chris Dore scored his second goal to bring Cleveland within 5-4 late in the third quarter. But after the Force's Gary DePalma was sent off for tripping, Bascome found Chantel in front of the Cleveland goal with a defender behind. Chantel turned and buried the power-play shot, giving the Blast a 6-4 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The power-play goal - combined with an overtime game the night before - seemed to deflate the Force, and the Blast put the hammer down with a three-goal flurry in a span of 44 seconds early in the fourth quarter.
Farias scored his second of the night, followed by Celenza 15 seconds later. Machel Millwood capped the rally 2:30 into the quarter, scoring on a pass from Billy Nelson to make it 9-4.
The Blast again was without fiery leader Lee Tschantret, who had just returned from Taiwan with the U.S. national Futsal team, but was suspended by the league for last night's game because of "unprofessional conduct" in the Blast's 6-1 loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 12.
The Blast was able to pick up the slack in his absence, recording season highs for shots (47) and goals (11). It also had 10 blocks in support of Rowland, one off the season high.
Farias' five points gave him 18 for the season and tied him with St. Louis' Daryl Doran for the league lead.
Blast 2 2 2 5 - 11
Cleveland 3 0 1 3 - 7
First quarter - Cle., Neto (Rivas) .36; Blast, Celenza (Wakefield) 4.58; Blast, Bascome (Farias) 11;31; Cle., Stoddard (Handsor) 12:55; Cle., Dore (Sibiya) 14:31. Penalties - None. Second quarter - Blast, Chantel 4:48; Blast, Celenza (Farias) 8:46. Penalties - Blast, Schweitzer (tripping); Cle., DePalma (tripping). Third quarter - Blast, Farias (Eller) 10:13; Cle., Dore (DePalma) 11:22; Blast, Chantel (Bascome) 14:07. Penalties - None. Fourth quarter - Blast, Farias (Nelson) 1:46; Blast, Celenza (Chantel) 2:01; Blast, Millwood (Nelson) 2:30; Cle., Bailey (Elfvin) 8:15; Blast, Eller (Bascome) 10:58; Cle., Sutton (Neto) 11:48; Blast, Farias 13:41; Cle., Stoddard (Neto) 14:45. Penalties - None. Shots on goal - Blast 12-15-11-9 - 47, Cleveland 5-11-8-14 - 38. Power play opportunities - Blast 1-1; Cleveland 0-1. A - 2,896.