Monterrey La RaZa has been highly competitive in the indoor soccer leagues since joining three years ago, but the one thing it hasn't been able to figure out is how to win at 1st Mariner Arena.
That trend continued Saturday night as the Blast hung on to defeat Monterrey, 12-11, despite losing goaltender Sagu to a third-period ejection in a penalty-filled, emotion-racked marathon.
With a fifth consecutive victory, the Blast (10-7), wearing retro uniforms to celebrate its 30th anniversary, assumed sole possession of second place in the Major Indoor Soccer League while La RaZa (9-8) dropped to third with a seventh straight loss in the arena.
Defender Mike Lookingland was the hero for the Blast, taking over in goal after Sagu left to record six saves, including two big ones in the final minute when La RaZa was trying to pull out a victory.
"I think I played goal in an under-14 game once," said Lookingland, who was also filled in for Sagu when the goalie was ejected in Mexico. "I felt pretty comfortable back there. Luckily, I didn't have to face too many. My defense kept the ball away and kept the shots to a minimum."
Coach Danny Kelly was overjoyed with an "unbelievable team effort" after a "flat" start for the Blast, which finished 4-2 against La RaZa overall. "Our power-play unit didn't play very well [zero goals in six opportunities], but we gave a lot of effort out there."
Ahead 10-5 and apparently cruising, Baltimore had to parry a late Monterrey charge but also benefited from the dismissal of a goalie when Jose Bontti incurred his third penalty of the night late in the game. That left both sides with a defender in the net at crunch time.
The deciding score came early in the fourth period when a charging Max Ferdinand knocked in the carom that Scott Buete played off the boards, pushing the lead to five again at 12-7.
Sagu was ejected in the third after a skirmish with Genoni Martinez. M 2 3 2 4 - 11B 0 6 6 0 - 12 FIRST QUARTER-Scoring:
1. Monterrey, Kante (Quiroz), 1:15 Penalties:
SECOND QUARTER-Scoring: 2. Blast, Millwood (Aristodemo), 0:12; 3. Monterrey, Quiroz (Bontti) (3-point goal);, 6:56; 4. Blast, Bumbut (Nelson), 7:31; 5. Blast, Millwood (Cabral), 11:14. Penalties: M, Bontti (5 minute-misconduct, delay of game), 2:52; M, David (boarding), 8:58; M, Bontti (hand ball), 11:34.
THIRD QUARTER-Scoring: 6. Blast, Ferdinand (Aristodemo), 4:53; 7. Blast, Dyachenko (Lookingland), 6:15; 8. Monterrey, David (G. Martinez), 12:54; 9. Ferdinand (Buete), 13:53. Penalties: M, Ughy (holding), 2:42; M, G. Martinez (tripping), 9:06; B, Sagu (serious foul play, ejected), 11:13.
FOURTH QUARTER-Scoring: 10. Monterrey, G. Martinez (unassisted, power play goal), 1:42; 11. Monterrey, McNeley (Ughy), 12:57. Penalties: B, Celenza (tripping), 0:45: m, Quiroz, (5-minute misconduct), 4:02; B, Wilkes (5-minute misconduct), 5:56; M, Farias (holding), 6:26; M, Bontti (hand ball), 10:14.