Blast taking to bus for day

The Baltimore Sun

One hour after tonight's match against the Rockford Rampage at 1st Mariner Arena, the Blast will board a bus and take a six-hour ride to Springfield, Mass., try to catch some winks, then check into a hotel shortly after dawn.

Half a day later, the team will be at Eastern States Coliseum against the Massachusetts Twisters before the return trip to Baltimore. Logistically, it is the Blast's toughest weekend of the season.

"This is definitely different," Blast midfielder Robbie Aristodemo said. "Leaving here at midnight and driving all night. We're not going to get very much sleep; we'll be lucky to get more than an hour. But it is what it is."

The team also bused to Massachusetts last weekend, but not after playing a game and facing another the next day.

"Back-to-back games is something we used to do all the time," said coach Danny Kelly, referring to his playing days in Harrisburg, Pa. "Traveling adds a little difficulty. But there is time to get some rest. To me, it's not that big a deal."

For now, the Blast is focused on the first of the two games - against a Rockford team that won the last time they met. If the Blast can defeat the Rampage, its chances of a weekend sweep are greatly enhanced because Massachusetts is, by far, its weakest opponent. The Blast won, 37-5, at Springfield a week ago.

"Saturday is going to be a very busy day for us, but at least we're going to Massachusetts. I think everybody knows they're not the best team in the league," Blast captain P.J. Wakefield said. "In that game, our legs might be a little heavy from the night before, but you try to play shorter shifts and get out the cramps you get in a bus."

"Massachusetts shouldn't bother us at all," Aristodemo added.

A weekend sweep would put the Blast in a commanding position to finish first in the 18-game regular season. If that happens, the NISL championship game would be at 1st Mariner.

"The goal is the No. 1 seed," Wakefield said. "I don't think some guys are too fond of this situation, but they'll adjust to it."

BLAST TONIGHT

Matchup: Rockford Rampage (6-5)

@ Blast (8-2)

Site: 1st Mariner Arena

Time: 7:35

Radio: 680 AM

Outlook: The Blast is coming off a record-setting 37-point outburst against Massachusetts. The Rampage has won two straight.

Kent Baker

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