Millwood's turn to pull hat trick

Win puts Baltimore in sole possession of first place

December 19, 2009|By Glenn Graham

The Blast has found a consistent method for success in the early Major Indoor Soccer League season: Get a hat trick, then hunker down on defense late.

Friday night against the Philadelphia KiXX, it was forward Machel Millwood's turn to pull off the feat. His third goal of the game midway through the third quarter turned out to be the game-winner as the home team blanked the KiXX in the fourth quarter to come away with a 9-8 win in front of 6,624 at 1st Mariner Arena.

The Blast (3-1) has won three straight and takes over sole possession of first place for the first time this season. In its first two wins, the Blast got three-goal performances from Lucio Gonzaga. The Rockford Rampage, idle Friday night, falls to second place with a 2-1 mark.

For Millwood, who took over the team lead with 15 points this season, it was all about improvisation.

"I just play off what the defense gives me. They were stepping up and taking away my left foot because they know that's my dominant leg. ... Once they cut off my left, I had no choice but to go to my right," he said.

Trailing 6-4 after Anthony Maher scored for the KiXX one minute into the third quarter, the Blast had quick answers. Captain Robbie Aristodemo fired a shot from beyond the 3-point line on the power play to give the Blast a 7-6 lead, and Millwood made it 9-6 shortly after.

The KiXX got a goal from Leo Gibson 24 seconds later to cut the lead to 9-8, but the Blast blanked the visitors for the last 21-plus minutes to earn the victory.

"When we set our mind to doing something, get on the same page with each other and are willing to sacrifice and put in the work, those are the things we can accomplish," Blast coach Danny Kelly said.

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