Last-place Sidekicks beat Blast, 6-5


The Dallas Sidekicks are a last-place team and going nowhere in the Major Soccer League.

But last night, the Sidekicks made life more miserable for the troubled Baltimore Blast before 9,093 at the Baltimore Arena.

Dallas dealt Baltimore a 6-5 defeat, dropping the home team two games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 1987-88 season.

"Any blind man could see that we're not playing well," said Blast midfielder Billy Ronson. "We only have 12 games left, and it's time for the healthy 15 players to start getting the job done. We can't rely on anybody else."

The major player who isn't healthy for the Blast is midfielder Tim Wittman, who will undergo arthroscopic surgery Monday night on a sore left knee.

Wittman was one of the hottest scorers in the MSL when his knee began to bother him. Baltimore was struggling with Wittman, and last night looked a little lost at times without him.

Wittman said before the game that the team would "be all right without me. Somebody will step forward."

It never really happened, and the Blast (19-21) fell two games behind the idle Cleveland Crunch (21-19) in the MSL Eastern Division. The loss gave the Blast a 7-12 record in one-goal games.

Dallas (15-25) scored the winning goal at 11 minutes, 35 seconds of the second quarter when Beto scored from close range on a rebound of a shot by Tatu.

It was the second straight goal for Dallas, which had trailed, 5-4, at 3:28 of the second quarter when Domenic Mobilio bumped in a shot from 15 feet.

The Sidekicks had tied the game at 5 at 7:46 of the second quarter on a goal by Terry Woodberry.

Mobilio's second goal of the game came during a Baltimore surge early in the second quarter when it scored four times in 2:22 to wipe out a 3-1 lead by Dallas at the end of the first quarter.

But after Mobilio gave Baltimore the 5-4 lead, the Blast went silent most of the remainder of the game.

The defense began to play better in the second half, but no one could put the ball in the net. Neither team scored in the second half, during which there were no penalties.

Mostly it was just a matter of the Sidekicks holding on to win, as Mobilio, Dale Mitchell and Rusty Troy missed excellent chances to score in the final five minutes of the game.

Baltimore backup goalkeeper Hank Henry shut out the Sidekicks in the second half after replacing Scott Manning at the start of the third quarter.

Blast coach Kenny Cooper decided to replace Manning with Henry in the second half.

"I had a bad game," Manning said. "I'll take responsibility for the loss."

Dallas coach Gordon Jago said: "Baltimore was too tight and pressing. Everybody was going forward trying to help, and that left them vulnerable defensively."

Cooper said: "We made some horrendous defensive mistakes in the first half. It was an uncharacteristic performance at home for us."

NOTES: Mike Windischmann, former captain of the U.S. national soccer team, nearly became a member of the Blast this week.

Windischmann, 25, had been signed by the Blast for the rest of the season just before the MSL roster freeze deadline at midnight Sunday night, but a twisted right knee voided the deal.

Windischmann, a defender, played in all three U.S. World Cup games last summer. Blast assistant general manager Drew Forrester said the signing of Windischmann was not announced earlier because he needed clearance from the U.S. Soccer Federation to play for Baltimore.

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