Wings profit from extra man-- Blast's and theirs--in overtime


WICHITA, Kan. -- Close games have proved troublesome recently for the Baltimore Blast. The problems continued here Saturday night.

After doing its best to take charge of a close game, Baltimore got burned twice in the late going, by former Blast player David Byrne and by its bench, as the Blast fell to Wichita, 5-4, in overtime.

Chico Moreira's power-play goal with 4 minutes, 9 seconds gone in the extra period gave the Wings their fourth straight victory. It also put them in a second-place tie with the Blast in the Major Soccer League's Eastern Division, two games behind the Kansas City Comets.

Baltimore was called for too many men on the field during a substitution 36 seconds before the game-winner by Moreira, who assisted on two first-half goals. On two earlier power plays, Wichita failed to score.

"One of our young players just stepped on the floor for no apparent reason," said Blast coach Kenny Cooper. "Call it a rookie mistake or whatever you want to call it. That's part of the learning process.

"But you can't make mistakes like that, not when you battle like we did and the game is in our grasp. That's total lack of concentration. Very, very costly mistake."

It was the second straight Wings goal scored after a great save by Baltimore goalkeeper Scott Manning, who had 15 saves after a 23-save victory over Kansas City on Thursday. Both rebound goals came after two fourth-period goals by Domenic Mobilio had given the Blast a 4-3 lead after trailing, 3-1.

Manning dived to block Moreira's initial blast from 30 feet, but the ball bounced back to Moreira, who half-volleyed his second shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. Byrne tied the score at 4 with 4:18 to play by heading in a punch-out clear by Manning from 40 feet after Byrne's initial hit.

"We just need to cut down on the mistakes," Manning said. "At a crucial time in the game . . . we're making a mistake, and the other team is capitalizing on it."

Of the overtime play, Manning said: "Looking back, maybe I shouldn't have played the ball so soon. I'm stuck in a five-second situation. Maybe I should have looked up and done something different, but that's all hindsight."

Mobilio scored his 21st and 22nd goals of the season to give the Blast its first lead with 3:30 gone in the final period. After the Wings failed to clear the ball from a clogged penalty area, Mobilio punched in the loose ball for a 3-3 tie.

He put the Blast on top when teammate Rusty Troy was caught on the end boards and got the ball to Mobilio, who squeezed the ball between the near post and goalkeeper Ron Fearon from 5 feet away. Mobilio got an assist with 1:02 left in the first half, when he passed to Chris Haywood, who spun left on Wings captain Victor Moreland for an 18-footer.

Wichita has the MSL's best home record (8-2), and of 17 victories over the Blast in the overall regular-season series, 15 have come at Kansas Coliseum.

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