Blast falls in OT, but not all is lost

Rally lifts Kelly's spirits

team tied for 2nd

Storm 4 Blast 3

Pro Soccer

April 03, 2006|By DARRYL MELLEMA | DARRYL MELLEMA,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Chicago -- Despite falling to the Chicago Storm, 4-3, in overtime yesterday, Blast player/interim coach Danny Kelly was not entirely despondent.

His attitude came, in part, from the Blast's comeback from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.

"For the most part, we played pretty well today," Kelly said. "Chicago battled hard and the game could have gone either way. It's disappointing to lose, but I'm encouraged by the way we've been playing over the last couple of games."

The Blast (17-12), which closes the regular season Saturday in Philadelphia, is tied with Milwaukee for the second spot in the four-team MISL playoffs.

"We're just trying to focus on our next game against Philadelphia," Kelly said. "It's not necessarily the team with the best record going into the playoffs. It's the team playing the best at the end of the season and that's what we're trying to do now.

"We had chances to win. It just didn't happen for us."

Lazo Alavanja won the game for Chicago (12-16) with a goal 59 seconds into overtime. The Storm clinched the fourth spot in the playoffs with the victory.

The Storm used first-quarter goals by Matthew Stewart and Mark Ughy to take a 2-0 lead, but the Blast's Dante Washington scored with less than a second to play in the quarter to cut the margin to one.

Late in the second quarter, Chicago capitalized on a five-on-three power play when Ughy scored his second goal of the match. Garcia had gone into the penalty box first for boarding, followed by Adauto Neto, who was whistled for his fourth foul of the half.

Ughy's goal came with 1:41 left, and the half ended with Chicago leading 3-1.

The Blast tried to push the tempo in the second half, but defense continued to dominate. The Blast survived a power play in the third quarter for having too many players on the field.

"I thought early on we were trying to force things a little bit," Kelly said. "We did better when we held the ball, moved it around and tried to get [the Storm] to come out. They did a good job trying to get five guys behind the ball."

The Blast closed the deficit to 3-2 after a Chicago defensive breakdown with five minutes left in the third quarter. The ball eventually came to David Bascome, who fed Neto for a close-range goal.

Chicago began to suffer lapses in the fourth quarter. Thirteen seconds into the period, Ughy received a yellow card and a five-minute misconduct penalty.

Less than two minutes later, the Blast leveled the score. Washington sent a pass into the penalty area that caromed off a Chicago defender and then to Bascome, who scored from close range.

The teams moved end to end, then Carlos Garcia was called for tripping with 3:38 left, giving Chicago a shootout try and a power play. But Sanaldo made a foot save on Novi Marojevic, and the Blast killed the rest of the power play.

Blast 1 0 1 1 0 - 3

Chicago 2 1 0 0 1 - 4

First quarter: 1, Chicago, Stewart (Kartes), 3:52; 2. Chicago, Ughy (Kartes), 13:33; Blast, Washington (Garcia), 14:59. Penalties: Chicago, Fabinho (holding) 10:32.

Second quarter: 4. Chicago, Ughy (Mesanovic), PP, 13:19. Penalties: Blast, Garcia (boarding), 11:52; Blast, Neto (multiple fouls), 12:53.

Third quarter: 5. Blast, Neto (Bascome), 10:02. Penalties: Blast bench (too many men), 5:26.

Fourth quarter: 6. Blast, Bascome (unassisted), 1:49. Penalties: Chicago, Ughy (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:13. Blast, Garcia (tripping), 11:22.

Overtime: 7. Chicago, Alavanja (unassisted), 0:59.

Shots on goal: Blast 16, Chicago 29. Power-play opportunities: Blast 1, Chicago 4. Saves: Blast, Sanaldo, 18; Chicago, Richey 8. Att.: N/A.

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