After 2-week rest, Blast gets back-to-back test

Pro soccer

December 01, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

This weekend, there is no rest for the rested.

The Blast's two-week hiatus from game action ends tonight in Milwaukee and is followed by a game tomorrow night at 1st Mariner Arena, when the Wave visits at 7:35 p.m.

"Fortunately, we had some time off to allow some knocks to get better," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "But this is a tough weekend, physically and mentally. It's what we do. It's just as tough for their team."

However, goalkeeper Sagu noted that the Blast is "flying two times and they're only flying once [before the two games are concluded]. So, we need to step forward."

The last time the Blast had back-to-back regular-season games was Jan. 21 and 22 against the Chicago Storm. It won both contests. Kelly approached the situation with a first-things-first method, placing the accent on the opener for now.

"If injuries happen, you might change what you do," he said. "You might entertain some thoughts of substituting more, especially in the midfield, which is doing a lot of the work, a good share of the running. But, basically guys will change at their discretion. The length of their shifts is up to them, unless they're doing something they shouldn't be."

The most intriguing change could occur in the goal, where Sagu gets tonight's start and Kelly wavered on the keeper for tomorrow.

Said Sagu: "It will be difficult because you know with Milwaukee you're going to work a lot. Every single one of their players has a lot of experience. They're very dangerous. All the time you need to keep your eyes open for them."

So, tomorrow could bring the first opportunity of the season for goalkeeper Brian Rowland, who returned to the Blast in a September trade with the Wave after playing most of 2005-06 with Milwaukee.

"I have only good things to say about Milwaukee," said Rowland, a former UMBC player who started 18 games for the Blast two seasons ago. "But I wanted to come back here. It wasn't that I wanted to get out of Milwaukee; it's just that this is like my home now."

It would seem like a natural introduction for Rowland, a native of Toronto who was 4-2 in starts with the Wave.

"I want to play going into any game, but especially against guys you played with," he said. "There is possibly a role for me in this game."

Sagu said he'll be "ready" whatever the call is.

Tonight's game

Matchup -- Blast (2-1) at Milwaukee Wave (1-3)

Site -- U.S. Cellular Arena, Milwaukee

Time -- 8

Radio -- WCBM (680 AM)

Last year's series -- Milwaukee won, 4-2

Outlook -- The Blast emerges from a two-week layoff for meetings against a rival on consecutive nights. The teams last met in the 2006 playoff semifinals, with the Blast advancing, two games to one. Sagu, the MISL Goalkeeper of the Week after an 11-5 victory over Detroit on Nov. 17, will start. The Wave is coming off a 12-10 overtime loss at Chicago last Sunday. The Dusosky brothers, Todd (14 points) and Troy (13), lead the offense.

Kent Baker

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