7-6 loss to Force in overtime relegates Blast to last place in MISL

Power-play goal spoils 2-time titlist's home finale

Pro Soccer

April 23, 2005|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

With the score tied going into the second half, Blast general manager Kevin Healey walked into the press box and announced his prediction for today's newspaper's headline, "Blast wins last home game," he said.

It was a brave prophecy given the Blast has built a reputation this season for letting up in the second half. Last night, it played hard throughout and dominated the fourth period of its final home game, but still couldn't live up to Healey's statement losing, 7-6, 1:08 into overtime on a power-play goal by Cleveland's Adauto Neto.

"It's a tough situation, playing these games off a lot of losses," said the Blast's David Bascome, who had two goals and an assist that helped Lee Tschantret score three goals. "It's tough to get up, but we showed a lot of heart."

The victory disappointed the Blast's 6,205 fans at 1st Mariner Arena, but keeps the Force's hopes alive for the No. 1 seed in the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs. For the Force (22-16) to finish as the regular season's best team, it must beat the Milwaukee Wave (23-14) today and then hope the Blast (15-23) beats the Wave in Milwaukee tomorrow afternoon.

Cleveland's John Ball (two goals) said his team believes it could all go their way.

"Baltimore is our two-time champion and you know they are going to fight," Ball said. "They scored on our mistakes and then we got lucky with our last goal on the power play.

"Now, we have to keep winning and we know Baltimore has a lot of veterans. For them, going from first to worst is not a very good way to end a season. They'll go into Milwaukee wanting to get that win."

Last night, the Blast sealed its fate for a last-place finish in the seven-team league.

The second half was just 1:37 old when Cleveland defender Genoni Martinez scored an unassisted goal for a 4-3 lead, but Blast coach Tim Wittman said that goal didn't bother him.

"We were playing well," he said. "We figured out some things. It was just a couple mistakes near the end - giving them that penalty in the middle of the field for a power play - there was no reason for that."

The Blast dominated play in the second half, but after Tschantret's early fourth-quarter goal it could not beat Force goalie Jim Larkin (16 saves) again. And then, with the score tied 6-6 and just 34 seconds left in regulation veteran defender Scott Schweitzer was called for tripping near midfield to give Cleveland the final advantage it needed.

NOTES: Blast forward Giuliano Celenza (ankle) and Bascome (knee ligament) are finished for the season. ... Allen Eller, the former Blast player who was traded to Cleveland in March, was presented the Blast Fan Club's Unsung Hero award before kickoff. He was the co-winner with Blast goalie Brian Rowland, who received his award at the fan club's award dinner Tuesday.

Cleveland 1 2 3 0 1 - 7

Blast 1 2 2 1 0 - 6

First quarter: 1, Blast, Bascome (Tschantret) 3:11. 2, Cle, Eller 4:44. Penalties: None.

Second quarter: 3, Cle, Ball (Timbers) 6:30. 4, Blast, Bascome (Kelly) (RSG) 8:54. 5, Blast, Tschantret (PPG SOG) 9:49. 6, Cle, Sutton (Susi) 14:07. Penalties: Martinez, Cle. (holding), 9:47.

Third quarter: 7, Cle, Martinez 1:37. 8, Blast, Tschantret (Wakefield) 5:51. 9, Blast, Fell (Regis) 7:22. 10, Cle., Rivas 7:33. 11, Cle. Ball 11:52. Penalties: None.

Fourth quarter: 12, Blast, Tschantret (Bascome) (PPG) 3:46. Penalties: Rivas, Cle. (tripping), 3:32. Bench, Cle. (team misconduct), 3:46. Schweitzer, Blast (tripping), 14:25.5.

Overtime: 13, Cle. Neto (Susi) (PPG) 1:08. Penalties: None.

Shots on goal: Cle. 4-4-10-7-2 - 27; Blast 5-8-8-7-0 -28. Shootout conversions: Cle. 0-0; Blast 1-1. Power-play conversions: Cle. 1-1; Blast 2-2; Goalies: Cle., Larkin (22, 16, 6, 61:08); Blast, Sagu (19, 12, 7, 61:08). A: 6,205.

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