MONTREAL -- For the first time this season, the Blast has a road winning streak, which it stretched to a modest two games last night with a tense 19-18 win over the Montreal Impact before 2,187 at the Molson Centre.
The Blast won despite being outshot by a whopping 59-19 margin, and after having squandered a nine-point third-period advantage. Baltimore (11-13) gave up the lead altogether when Montreal's (10-13) Adolfo Mella scored a disputed three-pointer with 6: 09 to play, but Doug Neely netted the game-winner for the Blast at 9: 43 left on the clock.
"In the NPSL, it's never over," said Blast coach Kevin Healey. 'But give our guys an unbelieveable amount of credit to come back and win the game under those circumstances."
Those circumstances amounted to a near melt-down by the Blast in the second half, after it had surged to a 15-6 lead at intermission.
The shots were 31-10 at the half, but the Blast efficiently scored on six of them, and was backed up by some often brilliant work by goalkeeper Khalil Azmi.
His Montreal counterpart, Paolo Ceccarelli, was anything but stellar, however. Ceccarelli, surrendered a trio of three-point goals, including two by Barry Stitz from the midfield stripe.
After spotting the Impact a 2-0 lead, Baltimore got goals from Danny Santoro and Denison Cabral. Cabral notched the first of his three goals on the night, a three-pointer on a spinaround shot from the yellow line that eluded Ceccarelli at the left post and gave the Blast a 5-2 first-period lead.
Graham Needham made it 5-3 at the 2: 29 mark, and was followed 42 seconds later by Stitz, who caught Ceccarelli wandering away from his net following a goal kick.
Just six seconds after Franklin McIntosh upped the lead to 10-3, Stitz was handed an identical opportunity by Ceccarelli and cashed it.
But matters slid downhill in the third quarter, during which the Impact cut the lead to five. Finally, Montreal regained the lead after Mella struck a shot from beyond the arc that hit above the crossbar, dropped straight down, and despite vehement protests by the Blast, was ruled a goal.
"We felt that it did not go in the goal," said Healey, "and when you look at the way the carpet slopes down, you wonder how it could be. But they [the officials] were there and they made the call."
Neely got that one back less than four minutes later, when he tapped in Santoro's feed.
Montreal's last gasp came on a free kick from close range with 3.3 seconds left. It rattled through a crowd, but didn't get through.
"We've got a change in attitude," said Healey. "At the beginning of the year, we worried about blowing the game. But if there was ever a game we were blowing, it was today. [We] believe we can win, and that leads to wins."
Blast 5 10 0 4 -- 19
Montreal 2 4 4 8 -- 18
First period--1, Mon, Doliscat 2pt (Sebrango) 9: 28; 2, Blast, Santoro 2pt (McIntosh) 11: 46; 3, Cabral 3pt (Marcano) 13: 02; Penalties--Mon, Liniates (5m misconduct) 11: 46.
Second period--4, Mon, Needham 1pt (Biello) 2: 29, ppg. 5, Blast, Stitz 3pt (unassisted) 3: 11. 6, Blast, McIntosh 2pt (unassisted) 4: 25. 7, Blast, Stitz 3pt (unassisted) 4: 31. 8, Mon, Needham 1pt (Corneli) 7: 25. 9, Blast, Cabral 2pt (McIntosh) 7: 58; 10, Mon, Biello 2pt (Stathopoulos) 12: 32. Penalties--Blast, Cabral (tripping ) 2: 02; Blast, Johnson (handball) 6: 28.
Third period--11, Mon, Biello 2pt (Needham) 2: 57; 12, Mon, Oliviero (Mella) 13: 58. Penalties--Mon, Sebrango (tripping) 11: 30.
Fourth period--13, Blast, Cabral 2pt (McIntosh) : 26; 14, Mon, Biello 2pt (Sebrango) 2: 12; 15, Mon, Sebrango 3pt (Biello) 3: 04; 16, Mon, Mella 3pt (unassisted) 6: 09; 17, Blast, Neely 2pt (Santoro) 9: 43. Penalties--Blast, McIntosh (unsportsmanlike, game misconduct) 6: 09.
Shots: Blast 19, Montreal 59. Saves: Blast, Azmi 34; Mon, Ceccarelli, 7. Att--2,187.
Pub Date: 2/05/99