The Blast is going to have to wait to assure itself another berth in the Major Indoor Soccer League championship game.
Friday night's 11-9 overtime defeat at the hands of the Chicago Riot at 1st Mariner Arena delayed the Blast's clinching the regular-season title and an automatic berth in the finale and broke its eight-game winning streak.
The last-place Riot (5-14), the first team eliminated from the postseason picture, didn't make it easy all night and finally prevailed when Ante Cop knocked in the game-winner on an assist from Miodrag Djerisilo only 2:11 into the extra period, sending a an announced crowd of 9,118, the largest of the season, home disappointed.
The goal broke a four-game skid for the Riot and handed the Blast (14-4) only its second loss in nine home games. Baltimore will get another chance to clinch the regular season Sunday at Milwaukee against the second-place Wave, which clobbered the Omaha Vipers on Friday night. The Blast has won four of five meetings with Milwaukee this season.
A late fade took some of the luster away from a hat trick by Blast defender Pat Morris, including a blistering left-footed 3-point goal that gave the team a 9-5 lead in the third quarter.
"I'd rather not score and us win," Morris said. "We wanted to do it tonight, and now we got to grind it out. We don't want to leave it up to the last game of the season."
He added: "For some reason, we struggle against Chicago, and I'm glad we're not going to see them in the playoffs. They always seem to hang around, and tonight we got bit by it."
Chicago, the last team to beat the Blast (on Jan. 16) before Friday night, won for only the second time in 11 road games and the second time in five matches with Baltimore.
"They've played us tough all season" Blast coach Danny Kelly said, complimenting Riot goalie Jeff Richey, who made 19 saves. "Their keeper played very well, and we gave up some poor goals. I didn't think we were fundamentally sound on defense, and we allowed them to hang around by not finishing our [offensive] chances."
Note: The MISL announced the addition of the Wichita Wings for the 2011-12 season, bringing the league to six teams. Wichita, Kan., had an indoor team, also known as the Wings, from 1979 to 2001. The new edition will play its home games at 6,500-seat Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan.
C 0 5 0 4 2—11
B 4 2 3 0 0—9
FIRST QUARTER — Goals: 1. Blast, Morris (Neto), 3:02; 2. Blast, Morris (Millwood), 15:00. Penalties: None.
SECOND QUARTER — Goals: 3. Chicago, Marojevic (unassisted, 3-pt. goal), 1:08; 4. Blast, Watson (Millwood), 9:28; 5. Chicago, Megson (Radoncic), 9:59. Penalties: None.
THIRD QUARTER — Goals: 6. Blast, Morris (Ukah, 3 pt. goal), 5:18. Penalties: None.
FOURTH QUARTER — Goals: 7. Chicago, Megson (unassisted), 0:58; 8. Chicago, Corday (Degand), 10:30. Penalties: None.
OVERTIME — Goal: 9. Chicago, Cop (Djerisilo), 2:11.
Shots on goal: Chicago, 15; Blast, 30.
Saves: Chicago, Richey 19; Blast, Sagu, 4.