The Blast has certainly corrected its early-season miseries at home.
After losing three straight at 1st Mariner Arena, the Major Indoor Soccer League's Eastern Division leader has spurted to three consecutive victories on its own field, the latest an 8-5 victory over the Rochester Lancers on Saturday night.
Overall, it was the fifth consecutive win for the Blast and third in a row against expansion Rochester (6-8), which entered the night as the highest-scoring team in the league but fell 41/2 games back in the division race after its first visit to Baltimore.
It capped a successful home weekend by Blast, which routed Syracuse, 21-6, on Friday night.
"It was a good weekend against two teams that are chasing us, a great team defensive effort over the course of two games," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "The team defense has been outstanding going back to Milwaukee."
Kelly said the 9-4 win over the Wave on Dec. 31 was "huge for us. That's the team we measure ourselves against. That let us know we were heading in the right direction."
The Blast (10-3) never trailed Rochester but saw its 4-0 halftime lead shrivel to one point after the co-scoring leader in the MISL, Mauricio Salles, connected on a 3-point goal 11 seconds into the third quarter.
But veteran Adauto Neto answered with his second score of the game after a feed from Shaun David little more than two minutes later to hold the Lancers at bay. With way the Blast was playing defense, that virtually clinched the outcome.
With four of the league's top 10 scorers, Rochester struggled to create good chances. Pat Healey made a kick save of a potential goal with Sagu out of the play in the first quarter. The veteran goaltender — with a big assist from his retreating mates — was dominant in the net.
In the past two games against Baltimore, the Lancers managed only seven points until scoring a short-handed goal in the final minute Saturday.
It was a fitting performance on the night two former stars, Dan Counce and Rusty Troy, joined 16 other members of the Blast Hall of Fame in a halftime ceremony.
Penalties—Rochester (too many men), 3:55
Goals—1. Blast, Neto (unassisted), 1:40; 2. Blast, Garcia (Millwood), 9:14.
Goals—3. Rochester, Salles (unassisted; 3-point goal), 0:11; 4. Blast, Neto (David), 2:33.
Goals—5. Blast, Ukah (Ferdinand), 0:12; 6. Rochester, Fauske (Miller), 14:16.
Penalties—Blast, DeRoux (tripping), 12:14; Rochester, Salles (fourth foul), 13:25.
Attendance: 5,835Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun