Road woes continue for Blast

Loss at California ends 3-game trip without any wins

Cougars 8 Blast 6

Soccer

March 19, 2006|By JAGDIP DHILLON | JAGDIP DHILLON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

STOCKTON, Calif. -- The road remained unkind to the Blast last night.

The Blast ended its three-match road trip winless, this time falling to the California Cougars for the first time all season.

The Blast could not stop Vicente Figueroa all night, as he scored four goals and lead California to an 8-6 victory before 3,587 at Stockton Arena.

It was California's fourth consecutive victory. The Blast had lost its previous two matches in Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

Figueroa found gaps in the Blast's defense all match and put the ball in the net virtually every time he had a chance.

California (8-18) opened the scoring 6:21 into the match when Figueroa took a pass from Ryan Hall and put it past goalkeeper Sagu. The Blast controlled the ball most of the period and answered back near the end of it with two quick goals to take the lead.

Defender Rich Daughtridge scored a rare goal with 2:28 remaining in the quarter, when he got California goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek to bite on a fake and smashed a shot into an empty net. It was just Daughtridge's fourth goal this season.

Adauto Neto gave the Blast (15-10) the lead with 24 seconds remaining in the quarter on a breakaway. The MISL's second-leading scorer celebrated the goal by dancing for a few seconds.

The match became a defensive struggle in the second quarter and the Blast maintained its lead until 1:08 remained before halftime. The Cougars tied the game because of two great passes. John Ball started the play by finding Aaron Susi streaking down the middle of the field and Susi then set up defender Bill Sedgewick with a nifty left-footed pass. Sedgewick kicked it past Sagu to tie it up.

The play in the third quarter turned offensive when the teams combined for five goals.

Guilano Celenza scored a shootout goal for the Blast before the Cougars took the lead with three goals. Neto ended California's run with his second goal of the match.

The fourth began well for the Blast when Celenza scored his second goal of the match to tie it at 5-5. Then California scored the next three goals, with Seyi Abolaji getting his first of the season, Figueroa getting his fourth of the match and Gary Brooks putting it away with 3:16 remaining. Neto did get his third goal of the match with 2:28 remaining for the final margin.

The two clubs face each other for the final time this season on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at 1st Mariner Arena.

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