Road still no friend of Blast in 9-4 loss

THE BALTIMORE SUN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Blast's struggles on the road continued last night, the latest failure coming partly because of mental lapses against the Kansas City Comets, the league's highest-scoring team.

The Blast managed to hang on in the first half, but the Comets' powerful offense went to work and produced a 9-4 victory at Kemper Arena. The loss was the sixth out of eight away from home for the Blast, which dropped to 9-11. Kansas City improved to 8-7 with its third consecutive victory.

"We just didn't play good enough," said Baltimore coach/player Tim Wittman. "Each individual has to change their game. If they don't, they're professionals and they won't be here. I won't be here."

The key stretch came in the third quarter, when the Blast appeared to be taken out of the game both mentally and physically. Five times, Blast players were goaded into silly pushing matches. Four of those altercations led to Comets goals - one on a power play and three on free kicks.

In all, the Comets scored five goals in a span of 8 minutes, 29 seconds. That burst turned a one-goal game into a blowout.

The Blast's Tony McPeak and Danny Kelly each got into it with Kansas City's Anthony Maher. Kelly was called for a foul, and the Comets scored on the ensuing free kick. McPeak was whistled for elbowing, and the Comets scored on the ensuing power play.

It became a pattern. In all, Blast players were whistled for eight penalties, including a yellow card against Wittman, who was on the bench at the time. Jeff Hare and Chile Farias also received yellow cards.

The Blast continued to struggle offensively. This was the fourth time in six games it has scored four or fewer goals.

And the visitors started off slow, with Farias - the league's leading scorer - sitting most of the first quarter after earning a yellow card and five-minute misconduct.

Scoring chances were rare for both sides until Kansas City's Justin Evans put in a rebound for the game's first goal with 5:40 left in the first period.

The Blast answered about 2 minutes later after forward Machel Millwood and Comets defender Casey Barton struggled for a ball in the corner. Millwood scored after Comets goalkeeper Sanaldo fell.

Blast 1 0 1 2 - 4

Kansas City 1 1 5 2 - 9

First quarter

1. K.C., Evans, 9:20; 2. Blast, Millwood, 11:37.

Second quarter

3. K.C., Delevski (Valdivia), 7:13.

Third quarter

4. K.C., Koehler (Andonovski), 1:29; 5. Blast, Gilbert (Farias), 2:07; 6. K.C., Medina (Maher), 3:20; 7. K.C., Delevski (Andonovski), 4:16; 8. K.C., Andonovski (Delevski), 5:42; 9. K.C., Koehler (Perkins), 9:58.

Fourth quarter

10. K.C., Beasley (Medina), 4:59; 11. Kansas City, Maher (Andonovski), 8:25; 12. Blast, Nelson (Walker), 9:50; 12. K.C., Walker (Gilbert), 11:10.

Shots-on-goal: Blast 5-3-5-4-17; K.C. 4-4-10-4-22. Penalty kick conversions: Blast 0 of 0; K.C. 0 of 0. Shootout conversions: Blast 0 of 0; K.C. 0 of 0. Power-play conversions: Blast 0 of 0; K.C. 2 of 4. Saves: Blast, Rowland 11; K.C., Sanaldo 6. A: 2,103.

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