The Blast had the same three-point lead going into the fourth quarter of Friday's game against Syracuse that it did on the road Sunday against the Silver Knights, who ended up coming from behind to win.
It wasn't going to happen a second time at Baltimore Arena.
This time, the Blast protected its advantage and added to it before coming away with a 10-5 win in front of an announced 4,030.
"It was nice to come back after losing a game in Syracuse that I really thought we should have won," coach Danny Kelly said of the 9-8 loss that ended the Blast's seven-game winning streak. "We played a little better."
Playing for second place in the Major Indoor Soccer League, the Blast improved to 9-3, a half-game behind the first-place Milwaukee Wave, while the Silver Knights fell to 8-5.
Defender Mike Lookingland (Loyola High) led the Blast with one goal and one assist, and goalkeeper William Vanzela had 11 saves to improve to 6-3 on the season. Former Blast standout Machel Millwood, in his first trip back to Baltimore, led the Silver Knights with one goal and one assist.
The Blast returns to Baltimore Arena on Saturday to take on the Rochester Lancers. The Blast are 2-0 against the Lancers this season, winning their last meeting, 12-0, at home Dec. 13.
When Adauto Neto neatly placed a shot to the far left corner with 2:43 to play in the third quarter, the Blast led 8-5. On Sunday, Baltimore had the same 8-5 advantage going into the fourth quarter before the Silver Knights got a goal from Millwood and a last-minute tally from Bo Jelovac to claim a 9-8 win.
On Friday, the Blast kept the Silver Knights scoreless for the entire second half, with Vanzela making four saves in the fourth quarter to help hold the lead.
"We really didn't let those guys be too dangerous in the second half, and that's a credit to those guys to the guys on the defensive end and William in goal," Kelly said.
The last minute of the second quarter brought the most excitement in a first half that ended with the Blast up 6-5. The hosts led 4-2 when defender Stephen DeRoux was sent off for a boarding penalty with 2:08 left. Syracuse took advantage when leading scorer Kenardo Forbes hammered home a 3-pointer to give the Silver Knights their first lead, 5-4, with 18 seconds left before intermission.
But the Blast responded before the break, as Lookingland fired a shot from behind the 3-point line that Tony Donatelli redirected in front just before the buzzer sounded. The Blast finished the half with a decisive 19-8 advantage in shots, but Silver Knights goalkeeper Marcelo Moreira finished with 10 saves.
Syracuse 0 5 0 0 -- 5
Blast 2 4 2 2 – 10
Scoring: 1. Blast, Lookingland, 2 pt., (Roque), 6:45.
Scoring: 2. Syracuse, Millwood, 2 pt., (Manfut) , 4:39; 3. Blast, Gonzaga, 2 pt., ( Neto), 9:23; 4. Forbes, 3 pt., (Millwood), pp., 14:42; 5. Blast, Donatelli, 2 pt., (Lookingland), 14:59
Penalties: Blast, DeRoux, (boarding), 12:52
Scoring: 6. Blast, Neto, 2 pt., (Healey ), 2:43
Scoring: 7. Blast, Dos Santos, 2 pt., (Healey), 10:26
Penalties: Syracuse, Jelovac, (violent conduct 5-minute misconduct), 14:58.
Shots: Syracuse 3-6-8-7 -- 24; Blast 8-11-2-3 -- 24.
Power-play opportunities: Syracuse 1-for-1; Blast 0-for-0.
Goalie saves: Silver Knights – Moreira 5-5-0-0 -- 10; Blast – Vanzela 3-1-3-4 -- 11 .
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