Todd sparks Blast rout of KiXX

Briton's MISL debut yields 2 goals

team pulls away in season opener

Blast 8 KiXX 2

Pro soccer

October 20, 2007|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Special to The Sun

Michael Todd's introduction to the Major Indoor Soccer League couldn't have gone any better last night.

The rookie forward from England via Hofstra University scored two goals in his indoor debut and the Blast turned on the jets in the second half to roar past the defending champion Philadelphia KiXX, 8-2, and win the league's 2007-08 opener at 1st Mariner Arena.

"I found it fast and furious," Todd said of his first pro exposure to soccer with boards. "I really enjoyed it."

The Blast, which failed to reach the playoffs last season, took command offensively midway through the third quarter and kept the defensive pressure on a KiXX team that did not score for the final 54 minutes, 55 seconds.

With the score tied at 2 after a rather dull opening half, the crowd of 10,115 began warming up with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter when player-coach David Bascome deflected a shot by Rey Martinez past a diving Peter Pappas, last season's MISL Goalkeeper of the Year.

That occurred moments after Blast midfielder Robbie Aristodemo had made a spectacular foot save of a KiXX shot during a scramble in front of the goal. Then, with only six seconds to go in the period, Martinez took a pass from Guiliano Celenza to build the Blast's lead to 6-2.

Todd's goals were bookends. The first - after Philadelphia took the early lead - came on a beautiful header after a centering pass from Mike Lookingland (Loyola High).

"I was a bit fortunate to be in the right place at the right time," Todd said. "The ball just kind of hit my head and I was lucky enough that it went in the goal."

The final score came via a pass from Aristodemo, boosting the Blast into a six-point advantage. "That was a great feed. Robbie just kind of took his time coming in and gave me a great ball," said Todd, who was taken in the first round of the MISL amateur draft.

Blast goalie Sagu was not tested often, thanks to the team's overall ball control and strong defense. He finished with just eight saves.

"They keep that up I'm going to be happy," he said of his defenders. "They were really good today."

Even coach Danny Kelly found very little fault with the squad's first effort.

"This was a huge win against the defending champ," he said. "We had a number of young guys seeing significant action and I thought they handled themselves well. On every shift everybody laid it on the line. I think we can play better, but I'm happy with the result."

Philadelphia 2 0 0 0 - 2

Blast 2 0 4 2 - 8

First quarter: 1. Philadelphia, Myers (Nusum), 5:05; 2. Blast, Todd (Lookingland), 10:29. Penalties: None.

Second quarter: None. Penalties: B, Pierce (5-minute delay of game), 11:43.

Third quarter: 3. Blast, Bascome (Martinez), 7:40; 4. Blast, Martinez (Celenza), 14:54. Penalties: P, Pappas, 14:59.

Fourth quarter: 5. Blast, Todd (Aristodemo), 4:05. Penalties: None.

A: 10,115.

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