Blast beats Rampage, 8-6, clinches playoffs

Gonzaga has hat trick as Baltimore wins 6th straight

March 13, 2010|By Kent Baker | Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Rockford Rampage visited 1st Mariner Arena Friday night as a last-place team with a seven-game losing streak on its back and no chance of playing in the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs.

But the Rampage certainly didn't play like a struggling team, giving the Blast all it could handle before dropping a hard-fought 11-8 decision before an announced 7,186.

The victory clinched a postseason berth for the Blast (11-7), which was playing without No. 1 goalie Sagu (suspension), who shut out Rockford in the teams' previous meeting. Baltimore has won six in a row after a five-game losing streak.

"Rockford is a quality team. Tactically, they sat back and looked to counter, and that frustrated us for a while," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "We're still allowing too many counterattacks. But not playing all that well and still winning, that is a good sign."

Lucio Gonzaga completed a hat trick with a 3-pointer that broke a tie at 8 to cap a banner night for him. It was his third three-goal game of the season and the ninth by the Blast, which has won all nine games.

"We're still working on that play," said Gonzaga, who returned to the Blast this season after playing for the New Jersey Ironmen in a rival league last season. "But it was a perfect ball, a sweet ball [the pass from Pat Healey for the game-winner]."

Gonzaga, a native Brazilian, said his first hat trick of the season was important "because I was coming back to this team. This was my first house in this country, and I have a lot of friends here."

The Blast led for nearly all of the first half before a penalty against Max Ferdinand for dangerous play set up a power-play goal by Leo Gibson 48 seconds before the half, tying the score at 6.

Rockford (6-12), which lost to the Blast in the National Indoor Soccer League title game last season, has not won since January 30 and is the lowest scoring unit in the five-team league.

Gonzaga accounted for the Blast's first two goals, the first off a free kick, and Rod Dyachenko had a goal and an assist. R 0 6 0 2 - 8B 2 4 2 3 - 11FIRST QUARTER

Scoring: 1. Blast, Gonzaga (Millwood), 3:00

Penalties: None.

SECOND QUARTER

Scoring: 2. Blast, Gonzaga (Dyachenko), 0:37; 3. Rockford, Moura (unassisted), 1:08; 4. Blast, Dyachenko (Ferdinand), 10:39; 5. Rockford, Gibson (Ogunsanya), 10:59; 6. Rockford, Gibson (Beasley) (power play) 14:12.

Penalties: B, Cabral (tripping), 4:11; B, Ferdinand (dangerous play), 13:46.

THIRD QUARTER

Scoring: 7. Blast, Healey (Celenza), 2:17.

Penalties: None.

FOURTH QUARTER

Scoring: 8. Rockford, Degand (unassisted), 3:03; 9. Blast, Gonzaga (Healey) (3-pt. goal), 3:44.

Penalties: None.

Attendance: 7,186

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