It took the Blast more than 12 minutes into its second home game, or nearly five quarters overall, to score its first goal at Baltimore Arena this season.
But once veteran forward Adauto Neto finished off a scoring chance Friday night against the visiting Rochester Lancers, all things seemed right again for the defending Major Indoor Soccer League champions.
Lucas Roque added a second goal less than a minute later, and the Blast's trademark defense, led by a sparkling performance from goalkeeper William Vanzela, gave the franchise its first shutout win since the 2009-10 season. Vanzela, in his second season, finished with nine saves and Freddy Moojen led the offense with two goals in a 12-0 win over the Lancers before an announced 6,023.
"I'm so happy because it's really hard to get a shutout in indoor soccer," Vanzela said. "It's a crazy game and you never know what's going to happen."
The win evened the Blast's record at 2-2 and ended a two-game slide. After opening the season with a road win against the Lancers, the Blast dropped two straight to the Milwaukee Wave, getting blanked, 8-0, in its home opener before falling a second time last weekend, 12-10, in Milwaukee after taking a 10-2 second-half lead. The Blast is now 11-0 all time against the Lancers, who came into the MISL in 2011. The team's last shutout was on Feb. 21, 2010, when it blanked Rockford, 9-0, on the road. Friday's shutout was the Blast's first at home since 1991.
Facing pressure to get back on track after two consecutive defeats, the Blast responded impressively at both ends.
It started with Vanzela's play in goal. Before the Blast took a 4-0 lead late in the first quarter, Vanzela was tested. He was up to the challenge.
In the game's opening minute, he made a sharp reaction save in front on Elliot Fauske. Five minutes in, he came up big again with a point-blank save on a shot from Doug Miller. In all, Vanzela would make seven saves in the first half before the Blast finally added to the lead, with Moojen scoring off a nifty feed from Levi Houapeu two seconds before halftime to make it 6-0.
Marco Mangione, who scored three goals against the Lancers in the season-opening win, pushed the lead to 8-0 with the third quarter's only goal, coming off a wall pass from Tony Donatelli with 11:41 left. The Blast's defense limited the Lancers to one shot in the quarter.
After Moojen scored his second goal of the game in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter for a 10-0 advantage, the only question left was whether the Blast, already in complete control, would record the shutout.
"I thought as the game wore on in the third and fourth quarter, we were better and we finished up some chances," Blast coach Danny Kelly: said. "So all-around, great team effort, great win, but I think we can still be better."
The Blast next plays the Pennsylvania Roar, an expansion team, in a home-and-home series next weekend, traveling to Reading next Friday night before returning for a home game the following night.
Rochester 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Blast 4 2 2 4 -- 12
Scoring: 1. Blast, Neto, 2 pt., 12:14; 2. Blast, Roque, 2 pt., (DeRoux), 13:13.
Penalties: Blast, (too many men), 9:24.
Scoring: 3. Blast, Moojen, 2 pt., (Houapeu), 14:57
Penalties: Rochester, (too many men), 10:45.
Scoring: 4. Blast, Mangione, 2 pt., (Donatelli), 3:19.
Scoring: 5. Blast, Moojen, 2 pt., (Noone), 2:29; 6. Blast, Donatelli, 2 pt. (Lookingland), 7:01
Shots: Rochester 6-2-1-4 -- 13; Blast 8-2-8-8 -- 26.
Power-play opportunities: Rochester 0-for-1; Blast 0-for-1.
Goalie saves: Rochester – McInerney 4-1-5-5 -- 15; Blast – Vanzela 5-2-0-2 -- 9.
A -- 6,023