Blast lack cohesiveness in 18-7 loss to expansion Syracuse

With seven new players on a Blast roster that is now dominated by youth, it's understandable that the team may need some time to come together this Major Indoor Soccer League season.

But not scoring a goal in its season home opener until the fourth quarter?

By the time Max Ferdinand scored the Blast's first goal with 13:04 left to play on Saturday night, the home team had surrendered 13 points to the expansion Syracuse Silver Knights, who went on for a stunningly comfortable 18-7 win in front of an announced crowd of 8,087 at 1st Mariner Arena.

Syracuse midfielder Andre Berenzon was the Blast's primary pest, scoring one two-point goal, one three-pointer and adding two assists to finish with seven points. Forward Alex Megson added three two-point goals for the winners.

"We have seven new faces on the team, but I'm not using that as an excuse. These guys are professionals, they're expected to go out and do a job and tonight we didn't do our job well enough," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "It's very tough to swallow here in front of our home fans. We had a great crowd tonight and it was a very disappointing result. You've got to give Syracuse a lot of credit. They obviously had a game plan and stuck to it. They frustrated us on the offensive side of things and then finished their chances."

Having played two games — including a 23-7 win at fellow expansion Norfolk on Friday — the Silver Knights (2-0) came into Baltimore confident rather than tired.

The Blast continually looked a step behind before finally waking up in the fourth quarter. After Ferdinand's three-point goal made it 13-3, Mike Lookingland and Carlos Garcia scored two-point goals to cut the Syracuse lead to 13-7 with 5:16 left, but the rally proved too little and too late.

The game from the start was a major source of frustration for the Blast's offense, which lacked chemistry, creativity and poise. It also lacked a goal for quite some time as the Silver Knights took a 4-0 lead at the half that extended into a 13-0 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

The Silver Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Megson scored off a feed from Cory Elenio three minutes into the game and made it 4-0 with 6:51 left in the first quarter on a goal from Berenzon.

At the other end, the Blast took 16 shots, but most went high or wide and the rest were blocked by Syracuse defenders or goalie Eric Green. The Blast's best chance came with 10 minutes to play in the second when Adauto Neto created some space in front with nifty footwork, but had his shot blocked by a defender. The rebound came to Patrick Healey, who sailed a shot high over an empty net. With 4:37 to play before the half, the Blast earned the game's first power play, but the home team could only muster two shots with each off the mark.

In the third quarter, Berenzon scored the game's most important goal, blasting a restart from beyond the three-point line that quickly found the top right corner to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.

"I think everybody is going to have to play better. Everybody has to go home and think about the game," Blast goalie and captain Sagu. "When we win everybody wins and when we lose, everybody loses. This is a team so I have to look at myself and everybody else has to look at themselves, too. It's a disappointing game."

The Blast will take to the road for five straight games — starting with a trip to Missouri to take on the Comets next Friday — before heading back home on Dec. 9 when it meets the Missouri Comets.

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