Blast opts for defensive help first in 2-team dispersal draft

THE BALTIMORE SUN

With the Blast picking sixth among seven teams in yesterday's Major Indoor Soccer League dispersal draft of players from the two recently closed franchises, Blast players said they were not expecting help in their battle for a playoff spot.

"Picking sixth, I don't know how much help we can expect to get," said Blast forward Lee Tschantret. "But if the players we have play to our abilities, we'll be fine."

Blast general manager Kevin Healey, his roster thinned by numerous injuries, was doing all he could to make his picks from the San Diego Sockers and Monterrey Fury clubs count.

In the draft, which continued through as many as 11 rounds, the Blast chose five players. At the top of Healey's list, and taken with the sixth overall pick, was defender Nevio Pizzolitto, 27, of the Sockers.

But Healey's most interesting pick was San Diego goalie Victor Nogueira, 45, in the third round.

"No one had taken him at that point, probably because he's already announced his retirement," Healey said. "But we could have an injury to one or even two of our goalies, and he might want one last go-around in the playoffs. Having his rights gives us depth."

And Healey said taking Nogueira, who has the third-best goals-against average (4.48) in the league, prevents any other team from enticing the MISL's most legendary keeper back into the nets. Among Nogueira's achievements are four indoor championships with the original Sockers and three with the Milwaukee Wave, plus eight Goalkeeper of the Year awards.

The Blast also took Sockers midfielder/forward Mauricio Alegre, 29, in the second round, Monterrey forward Alejandro Moreno, 35, in the fourth, and Fury defender Brad Flanagan, 29, in the fifth.

"We rated Pizzolitto very highly," Healey said of the 6-foot-2, 190-pound defender. "We think he's a good, strong defender with good size and experience."

Pizzolitto, who also plays for Montreal in the outdoor A-League, indicated before the draft that he would be interested in relocating if he could make it work financially.

"We're going to ... try to make it worth his while," Healey said.

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