Celenza's quick start sets early pace for Blast

His hat trick in first 4:40 gives team early 8-0 lead en route to win Blast 18 Storm 12

Pro Soccer

November 12, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN REPORTER

The Blast knew it had people who could score entering the season, but no one probably envisioned the kind of eruption that occurred in the first 4:40 last night at 1st Mariner Arena.

In the home opener, the home side started with a vengeance, rolling to an 8-0 lead behind Guiliano Celenza's early hat trick, and staved off repeated Chicago attempts to rally for an 18-12 Major Indoor Soccer League victory before a sellout crowd of 11,286.

Celenza, who played at Archbishop Curley and UMBC, started the outburst 19 seconds into the game, taking a long pass from P.J. Wakefield and beating Jim Larkin, the league's Goalie of the Week after the first weekend.

Less than 1 1/2 minutes later, Matt Watson converted on a breakaway with Jonathan Steele to make it 4-0, then Celenza knocked in a ricochet of a shot by Robbie Aristodemo and scored on a second chance after a Storm break was thwarted.

The scoring flurry raised Celenza's goal total to five after just two games.

"I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that [get a hat trick so quickly]," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "Gules can strike the ball. That's one thing he can really do, and he's a big part of our offense."

Chicago (1-1), which edged the Milwaukee Wave in its opener, fought uphill the remainder of the game, closing within four points four times, the last on a penalty shot by Mark Ughy after the Blast (1-1) was assessed two third-quarter penalties.

But it didn't take long for the Blast to retaliate after the Storm pulled within 14-10 late in the third quarter.

Denison Cabral, the franchise's all-time leading scorer, put the Blast ahead 16-10 by beating a three-man Chicago wall on a restart and only 26 seconds later, Lee Tschantret converted a corner kick by Cabral to restore an eight-point cushion.

Cabral said "it was special to be back here with that much support," after being named Player of the Game. "It makes me feel like I never want to retire. It's great when your teammates welcome you back."

Chicago brought nine new players and a new coach in Steve Morris, a one-time fixture with the Wave. But the Blast - 12-3 at home during the 2005-06 championship season - seized the momentum quickly and forced the Storm into a catch-up mode.

Larkin was pulled with slightly less than five minutes remaining for a sixth attacker, but the Storm couldn't break through until 1:50 remained.

The MISL's Most Valuable Player last season, Adauto Neto, continued to sit out on the five-game injured list and Machel Millwood did not play because of an injured knee.

The start was delayed 30 minutes as owner Ed Hale presented last season's team with its championship rings and the 2005-06 title banner was unveiled on the stage at one end of the arena.

Kelly said the delay at the start of the game for the championship banner unveiling and presentation of title rings could have been detrimental, but it obviously wasn't.

"There's 11,000 people out there and you want to get going on such a special occasion," he said. "It was a little tough celebrating the championship because that was last season. You want everybody to stay focused."kent.baker@baltsun.com

Chicago 2 6 2 2 - 12

Blast 8 4 6 0 - 18

First quarter: Blast: Celenza (Wakefield), :19; Blast: Watson (Steele), 1:46; Blast: Celenza (Aristodemo), 2:05; Blast: Celenza (unassisted), 4:40; Chi: Stewart (Fabinho), 6:02. Second quarter: Chi: Stewart (Savic), 8:13; Blast: Steele (Cabral), 8:32; Chi: Ughy (Savic), 10:37; Blast: Steele (Cabral), 11:23; Chi: Valle (Handsor), 11:53. Penalty: Blast: Bascome, 1:20. Third quarter: Blast: Garcia (unassisted), 4:27; Chi: Ughy (penalty kick); 9:41; Blast: Cabral (unassisted), 13:08; Blast: Tschantret (Cabral), 13:36; Penalties: Blast: Garcia (5-minute misconduct), 8:58; Nelson , 9:39. Chicago (team), 14.44. Fourth quarter: Chi: Handsor (Bol1ella), 13:10. Penalty: Blast, Aristodemo (five-minute misconduct), 10:35.

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