The third time was the charm for the Philadelphia KiXX last night at 1st Mariner Arena.
Beaten by the Blast in their previous two meetings, the KiXX used a productive second quarter to hand their rival its first home defeat of the National Indoor Soccer League season, 13-6, before an announced 8,927, the Blast's second-biggest crowd of the season.
The outcome shaved the Blast's first-place lead to two games over the Rockford Rampage and Monterrey La Raza, which can gain another half game by beating the last-place Massachusetts Twisters today. The Blast is 7-2 overall and 4-1 in Baltimore.
Blast coach Danny Kelly was angry after last night's game because of what he perceived as a lack of effort.
"What bothers me is we were outworked and outhustled in our building before our own fans, and I'm embarrassed right now," Kelly said.
"We were terrible, and that's just inexcusable. Fundamentally, we were bad. We couldn't connect on passes. We couldn't get back on defense. You name it. We did it."
The coach is contemplating personnel changes for a Valentine's Day game at Massachusetts. "For sure, we can't put that same team out there," he said.
Captain P.J. Wakefield called the performance "probably the worst we've played so far this year. We got outplayed all over the place. It was one of those nights. You just have to put it behind you and move on."
Giuliano Celenza scored two of the Blast's goals, both after feeds from Carlos Garcia.
The final margin looked even worse when Hewerton Moreira, the league's leading scorer, hit a three-pointer at the end for the KiXX with the Blast in a sixth-attacker mode.
Although the Blast had a 13-12 edge in shots, Philadelphia scored the first four goals and surged to an 8-2 lead at halftime.
The most damaging goal was the third, when the KiXX cashed in while playing short-handed because of a holding penalty against Ptah Myers.
After a Blast mix-up on defense, Pat Morris tapped in the score for a 6-0 lead. Two other goals by Anthony Maher dribbled in, one after Sagu had made a save.
The Blast, playing without leading scorer Machel Millwood (ankle), finally broke the ice with 27 seconds to go before halftime when Giuliano Celenza kicked home a pass from Carlos Garcia with the team on the power play thanks to a tripping penalty against ex-teammate Lee Tschantret.