KiXX's Fehrle leaves Blast short of winning margin, 4-3

Defender makes key play, stops potential tying goal


February 13, 2005|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA - If not for KiXX defender Chris Fehrle's back coming between the ball and the KiXX's goal-mouth with 6:49 to play last night, the Blast and the Philadelphia KiXX might still be playing.

"You can't look at just one play," said Blast coach Tim Wittman, after his team lost, 4-3. "It's hard to win a game with just three goals."

Oh, sure, it was more complicated than one play. There were moments throughout the game that could have made the difference - moments that did make a difference. But Fehrle's play wound up being the last one that mattered.

The Blast took a 2-1 lead in the third quarter on Allen Eller's second goal 3:12 in the period, and the Blast's confidence began to grow against the Major Indoor Soccer League's top team.

But 16 seconds later, on another big play, the KiXX's Damien Pottinger scored on a rebound after Sagu (13 saves) made a great save. "It took the air right out of us," said Blast defender Billy Nelson. "We need to find a way to win."

The loss dropped the Blast (11-12) into a fourth-place tie in the MISL standings, while the KiXX (16-8) stretched their lead to 1 1/2 games.

There was player-coach Don D'Ambra's power-play goal that made it 3-2 and there was Pat Morris' goal that came off the boards, like Joel Shanker's had at the start of the game, that made it 4-2.

"They were ball watching instead of staying with us," said Fehrle, who is playing his first indoor season. "That's what happens in the indoor game. You either stay with your man or watch the ball. But our midfielders and forwards are really active and that makes it hard on any team."

Those were all moments that mattered. But after Blast rookie Jeff Hare scored his first career goal to bring the Blast within 4-3, then came the block by Fehrle.

Blast defender Neil Gilbert restarted play a good three-quarters of the field away from the KiXX goal, with a long, arching ball that came down into the hands of goalie Peter Pappas (12 saves).

At the instant the ball touched Pappas' hands, however, Blast forward Chile Farias knocked Fehrle into him, dislodging the ball. The ball headed toward the goal and would have gone in to even the game had Fehrle not stumbled away from his goalie into the ball's path.

"I'm not going to lie," said Fehrle. "I wasn't trying to block it. It just hit me."

Sometimes that's all it takes.

Wittman, grimacing as he considered last night's result and the difficulty of traveling to Milwaukee today for a 2:05 p.m. game, acknowledged as much.

"It's always something or someone not giving a full 60 minutes," he said. "It's a breakdown at any given time. It's them scoring on the power play and us not scoring on the power play. It's ball watching and not staying with your man. We did play better than last week, but what's that get you? The standings are real close again and we've got to find a way to finish our chances."

NOTE: Assistant coach Max Thompson is at St. Joseph's Hospital recovering from pancreas problems.

Blast 1 0 1 1 - 3

Philadelphia 1 0 2 1 - 4

First quarter - 1. Phil., Shanker (Bartolomeu), 12:00; 2. Blast, Eller (Farias), 14:22. Penalties - None. Second quarter -None. Penalties - None. Third quarter - 3. Blast, Eller (Farias), 3.12; 4. Phil., Pottinger (Morris), 3:28; 5. Phil. D'Ambra (Shanker), 13:00. Penalties - Blast, Chantel, 2 minutes (endangering the goalkeeper). Fourth quarter - 6. Phil. Morris, (Vasic), 4:14; 7. Blast, Hare (Tschantret) 8:17. Penalties - Phil. Vasic, 2 minutes (holding). Shots on goal - Blast 7-4-4-13 - 28; Phil. 2-8-8-3 - 21. Power play opportunities - Blast 0-1; Phil. 1-1. Goalies - Blast, Sagu 17-13-4; Phil. Pappas 15-12-3. A - 5,432.

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