For the Blast, there's comfort that comes with being in a close game and having the confidence they can win.
The two-time defending Major Arena Soccer League champions showed that again Saturday night against the surging Syracuse Silver Knights.
Captain Tony Donatelli scored his second goal of the game with 4:11 left in the 10-minute overtime to lift the Blast to an 8-7 win before an announced sellout crowd of 3,800 at Towson University's SECU Arena.
At home, the Blast (14-2) are now 5-0 in one goal games and 9-0 overall. Saturday's win marked the third time in three meetings that they've been one goal better than the Silver Knights.
The Blast can move closer to wrapping up the division when they visit the Milwaukee Wave next Saturday. It's the first of three straight road games before they return home to play the Wave on Feb. 23.
As has been the case all season, things didn't come easy for the Blast against the Silver Knights, who came into the game on a three-game winning streak.
After the visitors took their first lead of the game, 7-6, with 6:08 to play in regulation, Vini Dantas tied it with his second goal of the game with 2:24 left. That set up overtime and Donatelli, who finished off a feed from defender Pat Healey on a set piece that started at the top of the box.
"I think it comes with over the years, we're battle-tested in the playoffs and in overtime games and we've always found a way to win," Donatelli said. "The guys on this team have so much character and belief in each other. We never give up. Whether we're down a goal or two with a minute or two left, we know we're always capable of coming back and we did it again tonight."
The Blast got a goal or an assist from 10 players with Donatelli and Dantas each scoring twice to lead the balanced attack.
Goalkeeper Joey Kapinos continues to play well filling in for the injured William Vanzela. In improving to 3-0, Kapinos turned aside 17 shots with a number of dazzling saves.
In the first quarter, he lunged to make a leg save on a shot from Kenardo Forbes with the Silver Knights on a two-on-one break. Protecting a 5-4 lead early in the third quarter, he got caught out of goal but quickly recovered to make a sprawling save from the ground on a shot in close by Nate Bourdeau.
With 1:38 to play in the fourth quarter and the game even at 7, he had the angle covered to turn back a shot from Forbes.
The Blast announced the signing of veteran Major Arena Soccer League defender Jonathan Greenfield, who won a title with the team in 2009.
Jan 29, 2018 | 11:40 PM
Despite another win, Blast coach Danny Kelly said his team has to play better with too many unforced errors throughout the game.
"We've been finding ways to win and that's a good quality to have — winning close games is a sign of a good team," he said. "But evidenced by tonight's performance, you can't make mistakes like we made tonight and expect to win games. So I'm happy with the result, but not happy with the performance at all."