Blast wins sixth straight

The Baltimore Sun

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A season-high sixth consecutive victory did not come easily for the Blast last night.

Machel Millwood and Mike Lookingland each had a goal and assist in the Blast's 12-4 win over the Orlando Sharks, but the worst defensive team in the Major Indoor Soccer League had a few surprises for the hottest team in the league.

"We didn't expect this club to give us an easy game. ... They were taking it to us," Blast coach Danny Kelly said.

A week ago, the Blast (12-7) scored 25 consecutive points in a 25-13 win over Orlando. In four meetings this season, all victories, the Blast has put up 66 points against the Sharks (3-18), who have given up a league-high 299 points.

Last night, the Sharks trailed 6-4 at halftime. Goalkeeper Paul Nagy, who gave up 25 points in three quarters last week in Baltimore, had 16 saves.

"They're not just going to sit back," Millwood said. "They gave us a great fight."

Lookingland, Lucio and P.J. Wakefield scored second-half goals for the Blast, and goalkeeper Sagu and the defense slammed the door on the Sharks.

The Blast's win pushed it into a tie for third place with Chicago. If Detroit loses today at Monterrey, the Blast would move into a three-way tie for second place.

"It feels good to win games. We've got a long way to go," Kelly said.

Blast veteran forward David Bascome scored what proved to be the winning goal, taking a centering pass from Lookingland and knocking the ball into the net with 7:04 left in the first half.

Billy Nelson got the Blast off to a fast start by gaining control of a loose ball and slamming it past Nagy just 1:02 into the game. Less than three minutes later, Millwood pounced on a rebound during a Blast power play and, with Nagy out of position, banged it into the net for a 4-0 Blast lead.

That's when the Sharks went offensive. Orlando pressured the Blast in its end. Twice, in the first quarter, Sagu saved goals, the first time by heading a ball out and the second time by diving on a ball in the box just as Orlando's Mauricio Ruiz was ready to boot it into the net. In the final minute of the opening quarter, Sagu stopped Damien Pottinger.

Pottinger scored with 9:15 left in the second quarter, knocking in a rebound on a power play. And with eight seconds left in the half, Shawn Boney, a 6-foot-7 forward who played for the Philadelphia KiXX last season, slammed a penalty kick past Sagu.

But the Blast's defense tightened, not allowing a goal in the final 30:08 of the game, giving the Blast its third road win in eight tries. And that was a fact not lost in the Blast's locker room.

"It's a good win because it's on the road," Bascome said. "These are the games, the wins that are going to win championships. If you don't win on the road, you can't win a championship."

Blast 4 2 2 4 - 12

Orlando 0 4 0 0 - 4

First quarter: 1. B, Nelson, 1:02; 2. B, Millwood PP (Cabral), 3:41. Penalty: O, Miodrag, 2:25. Second quarter: 3. O, Pottinger PP, 5:45; 4. B, Bascome (Lookingland), 7:56; 5, Boney (penalty kick), 14:52. Penalty: B, Garcia, 3:55; B, Nelson, 14:52. Third quarter: 6. B, Lookingland (Lucio), 3:42. Penalty: B, Lookingland, 13:42. Fourth quarter: 7. B, Lucio (Millwood), 6:17; 8. B, Wakefield PP (Aristodemo), 10:01.

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