Ten Detroit Waza Flo players showed up in Baltimore on Saturday night, faced with the challenge of taking on the Blast in a Major Arena Soccer League game.
That was half of the team's 20-man roster limit, five fewer than the 15 permitted to dress for a given game and not nearly enough to threaten the Blast.
Forward Andrew Hoxie scored three goals, Levi Houapeu (UMBC) had one goal and two assists, and Vini Dantas and Lucas Roque each added two goals as the Blast pummeled the Waza Flo, 11-1, before an announced 3,204 at Royal Farms Arena. Six other Blast players had at least one point in the win.
Goalie William Vanzela, who blanked the Syracuse Silver Knights, 6-0, on Nov. 14, extended his shutout string to seven quarters before Detroit (2-3) scored in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, any win is ultimately a good win, but we know there's still a lot of work to be done," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "I wasn't overall happy with the performance because there was a lot of little details we didn't do well enough tonight to get us where we want to get to this season, and that's competing for a championship. So we're a work in progress, and there's still a lot of things we can get better at. We just had too many unforced errors, whether they were physical or mental, and I think against a full strength team or another quality opponent we may have been punished a little more."
The Blast has three home wins in as many games and is in first place in the MASL's Eastern Division. The Blast travels to Pennsylvania to face the Harrisburg Heat on Saturday before hosting the San Diego Sockers on Dec. 4.
The Waza Flo reportedly lost three players to injuries in its 9-4 loss Friday at Syracuse and didn't add any reinforcements Saturday. Detroit's short-handed roster and weary legs were evident as the Waza Flo packed it in defensively, allowing the Blast to pepper its goal with shot after shot for most of the game.
Only one went in during the first quarter, with Roque finishing off an assist from Onua Obasi less than five minutes into the game. But the Blast poured it on in the second quarter, with two goals by Dantas, who has six goals and two assists this season, and another by Hoxie. The rout continued in the second half.
The Waza Flo also didn't come ready to play the Blast last season, when the team's bus broke down en route to Baltimore, delaying the game for more than 30 minutes. Playing under the league's since-discarded multipoint scoring system, the Blast came away with a 26-0 win.
"I think against a full-strength team or another quality opponent," Kelly said, "we may have been punished a little more."