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Blast treading water after falling to Wave

The Baltimore Sun

MILWAUKEE -- Playing a Milwaukee team desperate for a win to keep its playoff hopes alive, the Blast couldn't afford to come out flat yesterday. But that is just what Baltimore did, falling behind by four in the first quarter on the way to a 10-4 loss to the Wave in front of 6,117 at U.S. Cellular Arena.

Yesterday's loss was the second this weekend for the Blast, which fell, 14-7, at Detroit on Friday night.

"We did some basic things wrong in the first half defensively," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "We didn't have a lot of movement off the ball, and we weren't staying with runners. We were causing problems for ourselves."

With four games left in the regular season, the Blast (15-11) has the potential of finishing anywhere from first place to out of the playoffs.

"Our goal is to clinch a playoff spot, and we haven't done that yet," Kelly said. "Until we do that, that remains our goal."

The Major Indoor Soccer League standings are tightly bunched. The Detroit Ignition (16-10) has the top spot, and yesterday's loss drops the Blast (15-11) into a tie with the Philadelphia KiXX. The Wave (13-13) needed a win to keep pace with the Chicago Storm (13-12) for the last playoff spot.

"The league is so great and so competitive," Blast defender Billy Nelson said. "We may not even make the playoffs. We want to go out and secure that playoff spot because we haven't done that yet."

Anthony Maher put Milwaukee ahead four minutes into the game. Greg Howes doubled the lead 4-0 late in the first quarter. The Blast was outshot 8-0 in the quarter.

The Blast recovered when Matt Watson scored off a rebound of a shot by Nelson five minutes into the second quarter, cutting the Wave's lead in half.

"Anytime you're on the road, you want to try to stay close early and grind out a win," Nelson said. "They came out and we couldn't hang with them today."

Marcelo Fontana added a third goal for the Wave, which led 6-2 at halftime.

Things improved for the Blast after the first quarter. By game's end, the Wave's shots-on-goal advantage was only 15-13.

"For the most part, we played pretty well," Kelly said. "We created chances, and we didn't finish."

Troy Dusosky put Milwaukee ahead 8-2 with the only goal of the third quarter, but when Lee Tschantret volleyed home for the Blast with 12:27 to play, the outcome was still in doubt.

The game-clinching goal came two minutes after Tschantret's score -- a shot at the left post by Lovelace Ackah off a pass from Howes across the goal mouth.

"I thought we got better as the game went on," Kelly said. "But we weren't staying with runners, giving away possession too easily and that wears on you. A team like Milwaukee is going to make you work."

Blast 0 2 0 2 -- 4

Milwaukee 4 2 2 2 -- 10

First quarter: 1. Wave, Maher, (Oliviero), 11:56 left (2-point); 2. Wave, Howes, (King), 3:25 (2-point). Second quarter: 3. Blast, Watson, (Nelson), 9:43 (2-point); 4. Wave, Fontana (Howes), 4:35 (2-point). Third quarter: 5. Wave, Dusosky (Maher), 6:10 (2-point). Fourth quarter: 6. Blast, Tschantret, (unassisted), 12:27 (2-point); 7. Wave, Ackah, (Howes), 9:13 (2-point). Shots on goal: Blast 0-4-6-3--13; Milwaukee 8-1-3-3--15. Saves: Blast 4-0-2-2--8; Milwaukee 0-3-3-3--9. Power-play opportunities: Blast 0-for-0. Milwaukee 1-for-1. Att: 6,117.

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