Blast back in playoffs, hoping for fourth title

The Baltimore Sun

The Blast enters familiar territory tonight: the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs.

The opening game against the New Jersey Ironmen at 1st Mariner Arena marks the first step in the Blast's quest to capture its fourth league championship in six seasons and is a validation of its determination to return after missing postseason play by one game a year ago.

An expansion franchise, No. 6 seed New Jersey was 14-16 in its first venture into the league while the Blast went 19-11 to capture the No. 3 seed.

This is a two-game series, with the rematch set for Saturday night at the Prudential Center, a new arena in Newark, N.J., also the home of the NHL's New Jersey Devils.

If the Blast survives, the next round will pit the team against a long-time rival, the second-seeded Milwaukee Wave, with the opener Wednesday in Baltimore and Game 2 on April 20 in Wisconsin.

The Blast is stressing the idea that the five-game disparity between its record and New Jersey's means nothing at this point.

"All the teams' records are the same right now: 0-0," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "Just because we're 19-11 and they're 14-16 doesn't mean we automatically win. We can't go in thinking that way. We'd better be ready."

Denison Cabral, the Blast's leading scorer, said: "There are no favorites when it comes to the playoffs. Everybody is a good matchup."

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