CLEVELAND -- A slow start proved fatal for the Baltimore Blast last night as it dropped a 16-13 decision to the Cleveland Crunch to fall to 1-5 for the year.
The Blast, which is host to the expansion Florida Thundercats at 7: 35 tonight, has now lost three games by a total of six points.
"They're a talented team with [Hector] Marinaro and [Zoran] Karic," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. "We showed character coming back, but Marinaro came through with a big goal."
Karic, the NPSL's leading scorer, put Cleveland in control 16-11 with his third goal of the night with just 5: 26 left in the game.
"We need to get over the hump," said Healey. "Whoever wins tomorrow will get a big win." [Florida is] in about the same boat we're in."
The Crunch (4-4) took an early, 6-0 lead behind a pair of goals from Karic and one from Marinaro, and had an 8-6 advantage at halftime.
Danny Kelly's one-pointer off a restart cut the Cleveland lead to 8-7 at 8: 49 of the third quarter, but Marinaro and Andy Schmetzer scored in a 2: 31 span to pull the Crunch from danger.
Cleveland moved out to a 12-9 lead after three periods as two-point goals from Marinaro and Schmetzer more than offset one-point scores from Kelly, Denison Cabral and Barry Stitz.
"Tonight was a bump-and-grind game that I never thought we would lose," said Cleveland coach Bruce Miller. "But it will be a different story next week in their building. We gave up some not very good goals tonight."
Fourth-quarter goals from Kelly and Cabral cut the deficit to three each time.
Opponent: Florida Thundercats
Site: Baltimore Arena
Time: 7: 35
Radio: WJFK (1300 AM)
Outlook: Florida (2-5) has had its problems scoring lately, being held to just two points by Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Despite LTC being an expansion team, the 'Cats have many proven veterans, including Mark Thomas (19 points) and Dick McCormick (13) up front and Scott Hilleman in goal (10.5 goals-against average).
Pub Date: 11/28/98