With a 10-7 win Sunday over the host Missouri Comets in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Blast advanced to the Major Arena Soccer League championship series.
The Blast improved to 21-2 overall and remained unbeaten in three playoff games. On offense, Vini Dantas had three goals and Tony Donatelli added two. Defensively, Blast captain Pat Healey (Calvert Hall, Towson University) kept MASL Most Valuable Player candidate Leo Gibson in check, while goalkeeper William Vanzela finished with 24 saves in the win.
The Blast will face the Monterrey Flash, which beat the Las Vegas Legends in the Western Conference finals Sunday. More information regarding series dates and times will be announced today.
Sunday's game got off to a slow start, with only Missouri's Kiel Williams scoring in the opening period.
The second quarter, though, turned into a shootout. The Blast tied the game with a goal from Mike Deasel, and Lucas Roque, the team's leading scorer, found the net to give the Blast the 2-1 lead. After a Comets penalty, Lucio Gonzaga found Tony Donatelli for the team's third straight goal.
Missouri answered, with Alain Matingou's shot cutting the Blast's lead to one. The Blast fired back when Onua Obasi gained possession at the top of the arc and rocketed a shot past Comets goalkeeper Danny Waltman, his 10th goal of the season. Missouri defender John Sosa scored with one second left in the half to cut the team's deficit to 4-3.
The Blast opened the second half by converting on its second power-play opportunity, as Dantas recorded his 17th goal of the season to extend the Blast lead's to two. The Comets soon tied the game with back-to-back goals by Bryan Perez and Josh Gardner. Dantas' second goal of the game returned the lead to the Blast, and with seconds remaining in the quarter, Healey, who leads the team in assists, fed Donatelli for a goal and 7-5 advantage.
In a high-intensity fourth quarter, Dantas completed his hat trick to put the Blast up by three. Goals from Missouri's Gardner and Gibson made it a one-point game with just minutes to go, but Vanzela and the Blast defense stepped up to secure victory. Adriano Dos Santos and Levi Houpeau (UMBC) scored empty-net goals in the final minute to provide the final margin.