Blast returns from layoff with victory over Rockford

December 07, 2008|By Darryl Mellema | Darryl Mellema,Special to The Baltimore Sun

ROCKFORD, Ill - It has been awhile since the Blast had a competitive game.

But the team showed minimal effects of not having played since Nov. 15 when it took the field last night, claiming an 11-2 victory over the Rockford Rampage to move to 2-0 in the National Indoor Soccer League.

"I think we were definitely a little rusty," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "We can't do anything about the league scheduling or how much time we had off."

Though never fluid offensively, the Blast broke open a 4-2 contest with a big fourth quarter. Kelly said the combination of the lack of game shape and the game taking place on the road made things difficult for his team.

"It affects you a little bit, no matter what you want to say," Kelly said. "Not playing games on a regular basis, you're not as sharp as you want to be. It definitely showed tonight."

The match remained close into the fourth quarter, and a huge power-play kill sparked the offense. That penalty was called 11 seconds into the fourth quarter after the Blast's Scott Buete (Maryland) was judged to have tripped Jamar Beasley.

"I think last year, we had the best man-down unit in the league," Kelly said. "We have those guys back again this year. Anytime you get a power-play goal like we did in the first half or a big man-down kill like we did in the second half, it really lifts the team."

Matt Watson (UMBC) had a large part in the goals that sealed the game. First, he fed Mike Lookingland with 12:14 to play for the goal that put the Blast ahead 6-2. Then Watson all but wrapped up the match with 2:17 left when he came in on a breakaway, shot off the glass and then put in the rebound.

Watson scored a long-range three-point goal into an empty net in the final minute of play to cap the big fourth quarter.

Even when that surge took place, the Blast led 4-2, and it never trailed in this game. The Blast took the lead when P.J. Wakefield (UMBC) back-heeled to Machel Millwood (Towson) four minutes into the match for a power-play goal.

That goal was the only one by either team in the first half. Rockford tied the score 39 seconds into the second half when Semir Mesanovic scored.

The Blast took the lead for good three minutes into the half when Denison Cabral scored on a shootout after a breakaway holding call. That put the Blast ahead 4-2 after three quarters and set the stage for the team's fine fourth quarter.

"I think we were a bit fortunate tonight," Kelly said. "We didn't possess the ball well enough. Because of that, we ended up playing a lot of defense, and at times, our defense wasn't good enough."

Scoring summary, PG 12

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