Blast one win away from clinching division after 8-7 win over Lancers

Baltimore can secure top seed in playoffs after surviving late charge by Rochester

January 28, 2012|By Kent Baker, Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Blast took a giant step toward clinching a Major Indoor Soccer League division title Saturday night at 1st Mariner Arena.

Before an announced 6,473, Baltimore staved off the second-place team in the East, the Rochester Lancers, 8-7, and now needs only one victory with seven games left in the regular season.

Even if Rochester wins out, the Blast (13-4) could go 1-6 and still take the top seed for the playoffs by virtue of a four-game season sweep of the Lancers.

The Blast can nail down their No. 1 seeding Wednesday by beating the last-place Norfolk SharX, a team it has mostly dominated.

"It was a great win. We kept them to one goal most of the game," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "They got a couple off deflections late in the game. That's just the indoor game. I thought we did a great job defensively."

For most of the night, it was a rugged battle of defenses, but the Blast capitalized on one power play and two free-kick goals to maintain the lead, albeit often a slim one, for most of the game.

Defender Mike Deasel (Loyola University, Loyola High) knocked home the clincher on a rebound after a shot by Machel Millwood, and the Blast fended off Rochester (7-10) despite a late left-footed 3-pointer by former Blast foward Carlos Farias.

As usual, Baltimore's scoring was well distributed, with Carlos Garcia connecting on a free kick off a set play, Mike Lookingland (Loyola High) scoring on the power play and Millwood (Towson University) making good on a free kick after a foul against Mauricio Salles.

Blast goalie Sagu had to fight off a late surge when Rochester went to a sixth attacker, making a spectacular kick save and a more conventional stop.

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