Blast gets some revenge with 6-4 playoff win over visiting Comets
By Todd Karpovich
For The Baltimore Sun|
Mar 13, 2015 | 11:57 PM
Many Blast players remember watching the Missouri Comets celebrate a Major Indoor Soccer League championship last season before a stunned crowd in Baltimore.
Almost a year later, after a move to the Major Arena Soccer League, the Blast finally got some measure of revenge. In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Blast emerged with a 6-4 victory before an announced 4,562 at Royal Farms Arena on Friday night.
Adriano Dos Santos, Tony Donatelli and Lucas Roque scored for the Blast, which handed the Comets their first loss of the season.
"It was an unbelievable performance," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "Defensively, to be able to hold that team, the highest-scoring team in the league, to two goals is a tremendous achievement. Obviously, it was just one game. We wanted to win that game and go into Missouri up a game. We accomplished that, and now we have to win there."
The second game of the series will be played Sunday at Independence Events Center, in the Kansas City, Mo., suburbs. If the Comets win, the teams will play a 15 minute mini game immediately afterward to determine the series' winner.
Comets goalkeeper Danny Waltman finished with 18 saves, including several diving stops that kept the Blast from fully taking control.
William Vanzela (26 saves) was equally adept in goal for the Blast and helped keep the game tied at 2 midway through the third quarter when he stopped a bicycle kick from Leo Gibson, who led the league in scoring during the regular season. The Blast took a 4-2 lead with 3:10 left in the third when Donatelli slotted the ball past Waltman.
Roque provided a 6-2 margin just 2:53 into the final period. From there, the Blast continued to stay aggressive on defense, and the Comets appeared to wear down, having played the previous night. Missouri pulled Waltman for a sixth attacker and got to within 6-4 on a goal by Gibson with under four minutes left.
"It's a playoff game, and they battle hard," Donatelli said. "We knew that coming in. They played last night, and [we] tried to take advantage of that. In the playoffs, it's always hard to find goals. We were able to grind it out tonight."
The Blast didn't play the Comets this season. Last year, Missouri beat the visiting Blast, 15-8, in Game 1 of the MISL championship series. The Blast responded with a 19-4 victory in Game 2 to force a mini game. Missouri, however, took home the title after a 6-4 win.
The Blast dominated the second quarter and finally tied the game at 2 when Dos Santos scored from close range off a pass from Jonatas Melo with 1:18 left in the half. The Blast outshot Missouri 13-10 in the opening half.