Crunch milks promotion, creaming Blast, 11-2 Cleveland scores 11 for 2nd game in row


RICHFIELD, Ohio -- It was Smith Dairy Night at the Coliseum last night and the Cleveland Crunch got into the spirit of the promotion by turning Baltimore's defense into cottage cheese.

For the second time in 72 hours, the Crunch poured 11 goals into the nets. It had reached that total Tuesday against Kansas City for a team scoring record, and the Friday repeat delighted a crowd of 5,229.

The 11-2 win gave Cleveland a 6-7 mark, and the Crunch is now a half-game back of the second-place Blast (6-6) in the Major Soccer League Eastern Division.

Again, Hector Marinaro was the offensive mainspring with two goals and four assists that gave him 13 points in his last two starts. He went into second in the league scoring race with 38 points (including 22 goals).

The curdling process began on Baltimore early and continued for 3 1/2 quarters. Cleveland had its 11 scores before Joe Barger ended Otto Orf's shutout string at 54 1/2 minutes.

The Crunch got goals from seven other players. Michael King and Zoran Karic had two apiece, and rookie Chris Szanto rubbed it in with his first-ever MSL goal on one of the frequent breakaways the Crunch had on the night.

Cleveland will face the Blast again tonight at the Baltimore Arena.

Cleveland player-coach Kai Haaskivi said of the Crunch assignment: "It's kind of gut-check time for them. They'll come out and play with lots of emotion, and it's a good test for us.

"We've kept constant pressure on [teams] at home. On that small field [Baltimore Arena], we aren't going to sit back for sure. We'll try to use the momentum from tonight to make it a scoring game again."

Baltimore coach Kenny Cooper took his team's hiding in stride. "Everything they did turned to gold. They've got some firepower, and they hurt you with the transition game.

"They look like a machine. But we've had nights like that, too."

Marinaro, who seems to be finding someone free and with open space every time he gains possession, (nine assists in two games), cautioned, "We can't let this go to our heads, but our movement off the ball has been tremendous."

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