Blast can't hold lead, fall to Missouri Comets, 14-11

On Saturday night, the Blast expected to celebrate another Major Indoor Soccer League playoff berth. The Missouri Comets had another idea.

Missouri (9-9) went on a 10-3 run in the middle of the second half to outlast the Blast (15-5), 14-11, before an announced 6,319 at the 1st Mariner Arena.

"We had a decent stretch, but it wasn't good enough," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "With some of the goals we gave up, you're not going to win a professional soccer game. Our defending was poor and our finishing was poor."

The loss ends a streak of nine consecutive home victories for the Blast, which had set a franchise record for most home wins to start the season. It is also the first time the Comets have beaten the Blast this season. Missouri had lost two previous games.

Early in the game, the Comets looked like the team with a playoff berth on the line. Missouri took the lead just 1:42 into the game when Coady Andrews used a deflection of a shot from Stefan St. Louis to beat Blast goalkeeper William Vanzela to his left for a 2-0 lead.

The Comets added to the lead exactly seven minutes later when Leo Gibson took a pass from Milan Ivanovic and fired a shot into the top of the net to extend the lead to 4-0 in the first quarter.

Then the offense started to click for the Blast. Lucas Rogue opened the home team's scoring 10:05 into the game, taking a feed from Machel Millwood and beating Missouri goalkeeper Danny Waltman to cut the lead in half, 4-2. The Blast tied the game 2:41 later when Ptah Myers scored on a restart with an assist from Tony Donatelli to tie the game at 4 at the end of the first quarter.

"I don't understand why we fall behind and then come charging back," Blast defender Mike Lookingland said. "I think it's a lack of focus on our part. It's something we need to fix."

The Blast controlled play in the second quarter and finally scored when Lucio Gonzaga's three-point goal found its way through a crowd in front of the goal 6:55 into the period to give Baltimore a 7-4 lead at the half.

Defense played a key role for the Blast in the second quarter as it limited the Comets to only three shots after Missouri had nine in the first.

The third quarter began with the Blast getting many scoring opportunities. Mike Lookingland scored on another deflection 5:53 into the period to give the Blast a 9-4 lead.

Then it was Missouri's turn to take the lead.

The Comets' John Sosa scored 7:02 into the quarter, and then Gibson added another 8:45 into the period to cut the deficit to 9-8. The Blast scored again when Tino Nunez beat Waltman with 11:03 gone, but Missouri scored 1:05 later when Gibson beat Vanzela to cut the Blast's lead to 11-10 heading into the final quarter.

Missouri wasted no time taking the lead in the fourth quarter, scoring just 19 seconds into the period when St. Louis collected a loose ball off the board and fired a strike past Vanzela to give the Comets their first lead since the first quarter, 12-11. The Comets added the final goal on a two-on-one breakaway when Cristiano scored 4:50 into the quarter to run the lead to 14-11.

The Blast pulled Vanzela for a sixth attacker with 2:58 left, but it could get no closer.

"We gave up some soft goals," Lookingland said. "This was not a typical game for us. They're a great team, but we made it way too easy for them."

Missouri 14, Blast 11

Missouri -- 4 0 6 4 --14

Blast -- 4 3 4 0 -- 11

First quarter

Scoring: 1. Missouri, Andrews (St. Louis), 2 pt, 1:42, 2. Missouri, Gibson (Ivanovic), 2 pt, 8:42; 3. Blast, Rogue (Millwood), 2 pt, 10:05, 4. Blast, Myers (Donatelli), 2 pt, 12:46.

Penalties: None

Second quarter

Scoring: 5. Blast, Gonzaga, 3 pt, 6:55.

Penalties: None

Third quarter

Scoring: 6. Blast, Lookingland (Rogue), 2 pt, 5:53, 7. Missouri, Sosa (St. Louis), 2 pt, 7:02, 8. Missouri, Gibson (Assadpour), 9. Blast, Nunez (Gonzaga), 2 pt, 11:03, 10. Missouri, Gibson (Palmer), 2 pt, 12:08.

Penalties: None.

Fourth quarter

Scoring: 11. Missouri, St, Louis (Harris), 2 pt, :19, 12. Missouri, Cristiano (Gibson), 2 pt, 4:50.

Penalties: None

Shots on goal: Missouri -- 9-3-7 5 -- 24; Blast – 7-6-8-7 -- 28.

Power-play opportunities: Missouri 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0.

Goalie saves: Missouri, Waltman, 12; Blast, Vanzela, 13.

A – 6,319.

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