Wings zero in on Blast with last-minute, 2-1 win Loss narrows gap for playoff berth


WICHITA, Kan. -- Hank Henry's performance in goal deserved something more honorable than the defeat he suffered last night.

Dale Ervine, on assists by Omar Gomez, connected on bot Wichita Wings goals, including the game-winner with 15 seconds to play, to beat the Baltimore Blast, 2-1. It overshadowed a stellar effort in goal by Henry, who never had lost to the Wings.

Henry took the blame for Ervine's second goal, but questione the Wings' restart opportunity, a result of a collision between defender Chris Reif and Ervine.

"When Dale Ervine's backing up into the defender and they bot fall down, whose foul is it?" Henry asked. "How can you call a foul on the fullback? It's robbery is what it is. I feel like we've been robbed.

"Granted, we didn't play very well, but to lose on that is hard t swallow."

Seems it was even harder for Blast coach Kenny Cooper t swallow.

"Everyone in the building knew who was going to score," Coope said, referring to Ervine, the Wings' leading scorer. "Everyone knows where the ball is going to go and we didn't get there, we didn't execute."

The loss allowed Wichita to pull within 1 1/2 games of th third-place Blast for the final playoff spot of the Major Soccer League's Eastern Division. Baltimore fell to 20-26. Wichita moved to 19-28.

More importantly, Wichita won the season series, 5-3, and wil win any tie-breaker between the teams. This is the first time in seven years that the Blast did not win in Wichita, losing all four contests this season.

Ervine scored the game-winner on a restart less than 10 fee from the goal. Gomez tapped a short pass to Ervine, who one-touched the ball into the far corner for his record-setting 54th goal on the season.

Ervine broke the season-scoring record by an American player o 52 goals, set by Don Ebert of the St. Louis Steamers in the 1981-82 season.

"It's a little bit difficult to look at the individual stuff the way ou season's gone," said Ervine.

"Defensively, we stuck with it, which is great when you look a the players we're missing."

Henry had a 4-0 career record against Wichita broken, a recor that included the only Wings home shutout when Henry played for Dallas last season.

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