Overtime loss means Blast, 2-time titlist, to miss playoffs

7-6 win by Comets leaves Wittman puzzled, ejected

Pro Soccer

April 16, 2005|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

For the Blast, the two-time defending Major Indoor Soccer League champion, there will be no postseason for the first time in seven years.

In a game that mirrored much of this season, the Blast fell in overtime at 1st Mariner Arena to the Kansas City Comets, 7-6, on what initially seemed a harmless shot with 7:53 left in overtime.

"We had a lack of heart, a lack of play," said Blast midfielder P.J. Wakefield, who scored twice. "It cost us this game and this season."

The loss before 3,386 eliminated the Blast (15-21) from the chase for a MISL playoff spot and kept Kansas City (16-20), still on the brink of elimination, alive for at least one more game. The Blast still has three games left in this season and plays in Chicago at 4 p.m. today.

The end of the Blast's playoff hopes came when Kansas City's Dino Delevski shot through a screen and Blast goalie Brian Rowland, who had made a series of big saves in regulation and overtime, reached down to scoop up the ball but missed.

"It's almost like how our season has gone," Rowland said. "It's tough and frustrating to have it end like that. You can play well for a time, but you have to play well for the entire game. This is a game we should have won."

Though Rowland's missed catch was the final play, it was not the reason the Blast, hampered by major injuries to key players, will suit up today with nothing but pride on the line.

The Blast dominated the first half last night with Wakefield, Steve Fell, Lee Tschantret and Mike Apple (two goals) doing their part offensively and the team playing strong defense.

But, in the second half, Kansas City regrouped, and as the Comets got better, the Blast got worse.

"We lose the third quarter all the time," said Wittman, whose team has been outscored by 64-37 in that quarter this season. "We had no energy. We had it back in overtime, but what happened in the third and fourth quarters? No one wanted the ball. I've always told them, and I told them tonight, to take a chance and make things happen, that there is no pressure if mistakes are made. But no one did.

"I don't understand it. I don't know how you can do so well in the first half and then have no energy. I have no answer for that."

NOTE: Wittman, who has often said MISL officials need better training and need to be held accountable, became so incensed by the officiating last night he earned a yellow card during the game for dissent and a red card on the way to the locker room after the game ended. He will serve a one-game suspension today, leaving the coaching to assistant Max Thompson.

Kansas City 1 2 2 1 1 - 7

Blast 1 4 1 0 0 - 6

First quarter: 1, Blast, Wakefield 1:21. 2, KCY, Djerisilo (Valdivia) 10:50. Penalties: Bench, KC (Too Many Men), 1:59. Second quarter: 3, Blast, Fell (Tschantret) 0:10. 4, KC, Marcantonio (Barton) 2:50. 5, Blast, Tschantret (Kelly) 3:26. 6, Blast, Apple (Nelson) 4:10. 7, KC, Delevski (Koehler) 5:42. 8, BAL, Wakefield (Nelson) 7:37. Penalties: Wittman, Blast (Dissent), 13:51. Third quarter: 9, KC, Perkins (Medina) 9:41. 10, KC, Beasley (Djerisilo) (PPG) 10:33. 11, Blast, Apple (Fell) 14:14. Penalties: Schweitzer, Blast(Tripping), 9:49. Fourth quarter: 12, KC Beasley (Koehler) (PPG) 4:11. Penalties: Regis, Blast (Pushing), 3:15. Wittman, Blast (Foul Language), 15:00. Overtime: 13, KC, Delevski (Barton) 7:07. Shots on goal Kansas City 5- 4 - 6- 5- 5 - 25; Blast 10 - 8 - 4 - 2- 1- 25. Power-play conversions: KC 2-2; Blast 0-1. Goalies: KC Sanaldo (16, 10, 6, 67:07); Blast Rowland (22, 15, 7, 67:07)A: 3,386.

Blast today

Matchup: Blast (15-21) vs. Chicago Storm (17-20)

Site: UIC Pavilion, Chicago

Time: 4 p.m.

Radio: WCBM (680 AM)

Outlook: The Blast was eliminated from postseason play when it lost last night to Kansas City, 7-6, in overtime. Chicago also lost last night, falling to the Cleveland Force, 7-2. That left the Storm two games behind fourth-place St. Louis in the chase for the final Major Indoor Soccer League playoff berth. Chicago is led by Mark Ughy's 69 points and Stewart Matthew's 30 points and Byron Alvarez's 27. Alvarez also leads in goal-scoring with 21. Out for the Blast: Denison Cabral, Adilson De Lima and Carlos Garcia (knee surgeries) and Marcos Chantel (groin surgery). - Sandra McKee

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