Blast wins battle of ex-MISL powers

The Baltimore Sun

In what was viewed as the Blast's first legitimate test of the season, its performance brought an ace.

The second-place Philadelphia KiXX couldn't withstand a swiftly launched barrage of goals and fell two games behind the front-running Blast last night after a 16-10 National Indoor Soccer League defeat at 1st Mariner Arena.

By early in the third quarter, the Blast (4-0) was cruising with a 14-2 lead before the KiXX (2-2) closed the final gap.

Baltimore has outscored the opposition 36-2 in the first half this season.

Machel Millwood produced a hat trick for the Blast and said the team "wanted to come out and jump on them early. We needed this game because they're basically our top contender," or challenger.

"It's always good to get off to a good start, especially against a goalie like [Peter] Pappas," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "They were coming off their first loss and with the players they have, it was going to be a big test for us. We showed well."

Hewerton Moreira and Anthony Maher entered the night as the top two scorers in the league and the KiXX had produced 21.7 points per game, the highest average in the league. But Maher was shut out and Moreira did not score until the Blast had a 12-point cushion.

The Blast charged to the early lead, dominating the first 20 minutes before the KiXX scored their first goal. Pat Morris cashed in off a free kick, Ricardinho assisting, after the Blast was guilty of a three-line violation.

But that narrowed the deficit to only 8-2 as the Blast outshot its opponent by more than a 2-1 ratio in the first half. Baltimore surged ahead, 4-0, on two quick goals by Millwood, the first unassisted off his own rebound and the second after a picture-perfect fast break with Scott Buete feeding for the goal.

That lead increased to 6-0 when P.J. Wakefield converted a power-play goal after a crossing pass from Giuliano Celenza with Philadelphia's Jeremy Ortiz in the penalty box for holding. Early in the second quarter, the Blast went up by eight with rookie Pat Healey notching his second goal, heading in a rebound after the Blast had peppered Pappas with two previous shots.

Between them, the Blast and KiXX won six of the preceding seven Major Indoor Soccer League championships.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad