The Blast and the Missouri Comets spent much of the night playing tight defense, trading scoring chances and waiting to pounce on a critical mistake that would be the difference in the game.
The moment came 3 minutes, 14 seconds into overtime as Missouri midfielder Vahid Assadpour found some space just outside the penalty area and slotted the ball inside the far post to provide a 5-4 victory before an announced 8,121 Friday night at Royal Farms Arena.
"It wasn't our best performance but we certainly had opportunities to put the game away," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "For me, the game is about opportunities and chances. We created enough opportunities, but their keeper came up with some saves. We missed the target sometimes."
Despite its second loss in three games, the Blast (13-3) has already clinched the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Division regular-season title. Tony Donatelli led the Blast with a pair of goals.
It was the first time the teams met in Baltimore since a contentious playoff series last season. Moments after the Blast clinched the Eastern Conference finals, Pat Healey was headbutted by former Comets defender Andre Braithwaite, who was suspended indefinitely by the league, released by Missouri and charged with assault. Healey needed five stitches to close a two-inch cut just above his right eye.
This time, emotions mostly remained in check as the teams played tactically sound soccer most of the game.
While the Blast could not capitalize on two man-advantage situations, the Central Division-leading Comets (15-3) stayed in control and swept the season series. The Comets made the most of their chances as John Sosa provided a two-goal cushion late in the third quarter after Blast midfielder Juan Pereira received a two-minute penalty for striking.
The Blast pulled to within 4-3 on a goal by Jinho Kim just 3:06 into the final quarter. Donatelli then tied the game five minutes later.
"It's tough," Donatelli said. "The guys are down a little bit. We battled hard this game. It wasn't our best performance but we had a chance to win it. We have to bounce back quickly."
The Blast was without leading scorer Vini Dantas, who hasn't played since Jan. 24 because of a toe injury.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Blast took the lead on a low shot from Onua Obasi from just outside the penalty area with 13:07 left in the half. Donatelli provided a 2-0 lead just three minutes later when he slotted in a pass from Healey.
The Comets cut the margin to 2-1 at the break on a goal by Max Touloute and then tied the game just 18 seconds into the third on a score by Leo Gibson. Ramone Palmer then gave the Comets their first lead with his shorthanded goal on a counter-attack after Assadpour was given a five-minute misconduct penalty.