Reeling Blast falls in last minute

The Baltimore Sun

NEWARK, N.J. --The New Jersey Ironmen proclaim themselves to be "Xtreme soccer!" The Blast might be extremely happy to leave Newark.

New Jersey forward Kevin Sloan's goal with 55 seconds left gave the expansion Ironmen a 13-12 win over the Blast.

Before last night's match at the Prudential Center, the Blast had lost six of seven, including a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia KiXX last Saturday.

Facing a team it had routed, 15-2, on Jan. 4, the Blast seemed to have the game won after forward Giuliano Celenza scored with 1:28 remaining to give the Blast a 12-11 lead.

But just as it had late in the first half, the Blast lost its short-lived lead.

The Ironmen (9-5) started the game with a 2-2-1 defensive formation - a variation of hockey's trap - that didn't allow the Blast (6-7) to control play.

"Usually, if you can dictate - keep possession away from them - they can't do anything," said Daniel Antoniuk, who scored twice for the Ironmen.

The cautious play paid an early dividend when Ironmen forward Mauricio Salles scored on a rebound 8:42 into the first quarter. After Antoniuk's first goal, on a rebound 2:09 into the second, the Blast trailed 4-0.

Thirty-five seconds after Antoniuk's goal, Blast defenseman Mike Lookingland (Loyola High) scored his fifth of the year to cut the deficit to 4-2, but Goran Vasic's three-point goal at the 4:18 mark gave New Jersey a 7-2 lead.

The Blast rallied for an 8-7 lead with goals by Raul Marcel, Denison Cabral and Robbie Aristodemo, but Salles deflected a shot past beat Sagu with 1:43 left in the half for a 9-8 Ironmen lead.

Note -- Maryland Public Television will show four Blast games, starting with the Jan. 25 game against the Milwaukee Wave at 7:35 p.m. The other games will be aired Feb. 2 (Orlando Sharks), Feb. 16 (Ironmen) and March 29 (Chicago Storm), all at 7:35 p.m.

Blast 0 8 0 4 - 12

New Jersey 2 7 2 2 - 13

First quarter: NJ, Mauricio Salles (8:42). Second quarter: 1. N.J., Daniel Antoniuk (2:09); 2. Blast, Mike Lookingland (2.44); 3. N.J., Goran Vasic (4:18); 4. Blast, Raul Marcel (4:26); 5. Blast, Denison Cabral (8:32); 6. Blast, Robbie Aristodemo (11:21); 7. N.J., Salles (13:17). Third quarter: 8. N.J., Antoniuk (13:32) Fourth quarter: 9. Blast, Rey Martinez (0:50); 10. Blast, Giuliano Celenza (13:32); 11. N.J., Kevin Sloan (14:05). Att: 3,984.

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