The Blast's track record this season when a player registers a hat trick is perfect.
When veteran midfielder Denison Cabral scored three quick goals in the first quarter against the faltering Philadelphia KiXX Friday night, the question was whether the Blast would make it eight wins with eight hat tricks.
The KiXX made a fourth-quarter surge, but it proved too little, too late, as the Blast came away with a 12-8 win in front of an announced 5,324 at 1st Mariner Arena.
With the Blast leading, 10-4, at the start of the fourth quarter, the KiXX got two quick two-point goals to cut the lead to 10-8, but Blast forward Max Ferdinand answered with a goal and the home team's defense did the rest for its fourth straight victory. Sagu finished with 19 saves in the win.
With four games left in the regular season, the Blast improved to 9-7 and moved into a tie with Monterrey for second place in the Major Indoor Soccer League. The two teams will meet tonight at 1st Mariner Arena for sole possession of second place. The KiXX fell to 5-9.
"There's no way we were going to overlook Philadelphia. They're a veteran team with a lot of very good players and that would have been a huge mistake if we looked past them," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "We didn't do it. We were just focused on tonight. We'll enjoy this victory for a little while but then focus on tomorrow night."
In a span of 2 minutes, 29 seconds during the first quarter, Cabral was crafty, powerful and explosive, scoring three nifty goals that set a positive tone for the Blast.
"I didn't do anything by myself, but I was glad I was on early in the game to help out the team," Cabral said. "That was our goal - to start fast early, get a good lead and not give it up. It worked out well."
Cabral went to work with the game tied at 2 late in the first quarter. He scored his first goal with a right-footed half-volley off a restart pass from Robbie Aristodemo, showed dazzling foot skills by dribbling through defenders before finishing in front for his second and then used his left foot to volley home another pass from Aristodemo for his third goal.
Cabral's heroics gave the Blast an 8-2 lead that would turn into a 10-2 advantage by the half. P 2 0 2 4 - 8 B 8 2 0 2 - 12FIRST QUARTER
Scoring: 1. Blast, Gonzaga, 2 pt. (Celenza), 1:33; 2. Philadelphia, Morris, 2 pt. (Brooks), 2:55; 3. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt. (Aristodemo), 9:22; 4. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Celenza), 11:30; 5. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt. (Aristodemo), 11:51.
Penalties: Philadelphia, Boney (dangerous play), 7:11.
Scoring: 6. Blast, Celenza, 2 pt., (Bumbut), :32.
Scoring: 7. Phildelphia, D'Ambra, 2 pt., (Kletzier), 11:57.
Scoring: 8. Philadelphia, Neto, 2 pt., 1:43; 9. Philadelphia, Naumoski, 2 pt., (Coleman), 3:13; 10. Blast, Ferdinand, 2 pt., (Celenza), 3:15.
Power-play opportunities: KiXX 0-for-1; Blast 0-for-1.
Shots on goal: KiXX 4-6-12-1 - 23; Blast 6-6-4-5 - 21.
Goalie saves: KiXX, Sanaldo 2-3-3-0 -- 8; Blast, Sagu 2-6-8-3 -- 19.