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Blast try for second straight win with tough Wave in town

Blast try for second straight win with tough Wave in town
Baltimore Blast forward Lucas Roque (foreground) plays the ball in front of Missouri Comets midfielder John Sosa during the first quarter at 1st Mariner Arena Friday, Jan 3, 2014. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Milwaukee Wave (10-5) at Blast (9-5)

When: Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

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Tickets: 410-73-BLAST, Ticketmaster.com or baltimoreblast.com

Outlook: It had been a long time since the defending Major Arena Soccer League champion Blast were totally overmatched. But that was the case in Milwaukee on Jan. 21, when the Wave claimed a comfortable 7-2 win to improve to 2-0 against the Blast this season. After the Blast scored the opening goal, the Wave methodically built a huge advantage with two goals in each of the first three quarters followed by the opening tally in the fourth to win going away. The Blast rebounded with a 10-1 home win against the lowly St. Louis Ambush on Sunday, but will have to pick up their play significantly to match the Wave. Defense will be at the forefront for the Blast with goalie William Vanzela (league-best 3.33 goals-against average) providing the anchor. The Blast have to contend with a powerful Wave offense that features Ian Bennett (42 goals, nine assists) and ex-Blast forward Max Ferdinand (15 goals, 27 assists). The Wave are deep with Robert Renaud contributing a three-goal, one-assist effort in the teams' last meeting. With the Blast looking to further separate themselves from the Eastern Division pack — they're in first, entering Friday with a 2 1/2 game lead on the Syracuse Silver Knights — and the Wave entering Friday tied for second place in the tough Central Division, expect a tightly marked game with playoff-like intensity. The Blast had 11 players finish with a goal or an assist in Sunday's win against the Ambush and continued balance will be a must Saturday. Tony Donatelli (16 goals, 16 assists) and Vini Dantas (15 goals, 11 assists) continue to lead the way for the Blast with Lucas Roque, who returned to the team in late December, starting to show his top form. On Sunday, the first 1,000 kids 14 years old and under will receive a free mini soccer ball.

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