If a two-week respite from games affected the Blast, it certainly didn't show last night at the 1st Mariner Arena.
Against one of the most productive offensive teams in the Major Indoor Soccer League, the Blast took command in the second quarter, held off a Milwaukee counterattack and secured a 13-7 victory when Lee Tschantret hit an open-net three-pointer in the waning seconds after the Wave had pulled the goalie.
The result ended a five-game winning streak by the Wave (11-9), which had crept to within a half-game of the first-place Philadelphia KiXX. It was the third straight win and fifth in six games for the Blast (10-9), which climbed above the .500 mark for the first time since mid-December.
There will be a quick turnaround for the return game today in Milwaukee, which starts at 2 p.m.
"It was a good victory. For stretches we played very well," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "In the second half, they upped the pressure and we didn't keep pace. They got into a rhythm, but we fought back and Tarik Walker scored a big goal. Earlier, these are games we were finding ways to lose. Now, we're finding ways to win."
Milwaukee had narrowed the gap to 8-7 when Walker struck after Nick Vorberg, the Wave goalie, came out of the net, and couldn't take possession. Then, Tschantret put it away as Milwaukee vainly tried to convert a tying three-point shot.
Greg Howes, the league's No. 2 scorer who had eight goals against the Blast this season, did not get one last night. The Blast defense was practically airtight for a half and Sagu saved 10 shots in the second half (14 overall) to hold a high-powered attack to three scores.
"This is a championship game; we do whatever we have to do," Sagu said. "We never put our heads down when we were near last place."
Six players scored goals and five others contributed assists for the Blast, which wore retro uniforms traced to the 1980s and played without two of its leading attackers, Adauto Neto and Giuliano Celenza, who was injured in practice last week.
"They play a trapping style," midfielder Robbie Aristodemo said of the Wave. "They don't really pressure and like to slow the game on the road. Against them, it's especially important to get on top early because they're very organized and disciplined."
Kelly is not sure when Neto and Celenza might return, but they will not play today.
"Right now every win is big for us," the coach said. "We have our destiny in our hands."
Milwaukee 0 0 4 3 - 7
Blast 0 6 2 5 - 13
Second quarter: 1. Blast, Cabral (Lookingland), 0:19; 2. Blast, Garcia (Wakefield), 8:17; 3. Blast, Millwood (Aristodemo), 10:16. Penalties: None. Third quarter: 4. Milwaukee, To. Dusosky (Howes), 3:46; 5. Milwaukee, Maher (Tr. Dusosky), 7:12; 6. Blast, Martinez (Steele), 10:52. Penalties: None. Fourth quarter: 7. Milwaukee, Leite (Oliviero), (3 pt goal), 4:46; 8. Blast, Walker (Watson), 10:44. ; 9. Tschantret (unassisted), 14:54. Penalties: B, Martinez, 3:58. Att: 7,303