Blast shuts down La Raza

The Baltimore Sun

The Blast defended its home turf for the first time in more than a month last night and repulsed a rival intent on payback.

In the process, Baltimore (7-1) increased its first-place margin to two games over its closest pursuer, Monterrey La Raza, the losing team in last season's Major Indoor Soccer League championship game.

Denison Cabral scored twice on penalty shots last night and added an assist as the Blast prevailed, 8-5, before an announced 6,840 at 1st Mariner Arena, improving its home record to 4-0.

Monterrey (6-4) entered the night with a four-game winning streak but had trouble throughout with the Blast's National Indoor Soccer League-leading defense. Its only score through three quarters was credited to Marco Vega after Blast defender Billy Nelson inadvertently looped a ball toward the goal intended for teammate Sagu, who was on the carpet after making a save. It was scored as a three-pointer.

The Blast played without its leading scorer, Machel Millwood, who is nursing an injured left ankle suffered last weekend in Philadelphia.

Coach Danny Kelly was not enthralled with the team's defensive play although La Raza scored only one legitimate goal. "We were fortunate," he said. "Sagu came up big for us [16 saves]."

The Blast weathered a penalty against Carlos Garcia that carried over into the second half, then stretched its lead to 8-3 on a fast break with Scott Beute scoring on an assist from Garcia and Cabral's second shootout goal when he lofted the ball over La Raza goalie Jose Bontii's head.

"When he comes out like that, that's when I put it up in the air," Cabral said. "It was a challenge because he's the tallest goalie I ever played against. I have a lot of respect for him."

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