For the second straight game, the Blast rallied from a late two-goal deficit against the Missouri Comets to claim a 4-3 win in overtime and capture the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Conference championship.
On Tuesday, the anticipated Eastern Conference championship series moves to Baltimore with the Blast owning a 1-0 series lead following a come-from-behind, 4-3 overtime win in Missouri on Thursday. If the Comets take Game 2, a 15-minute mini game would immediately follow to determined which team advances to the league championships series.
Tony Donatelli's goal with 9:42 left in the third overtime finally provided the Blast with a 6-5 victory over Syracuse in Game 1 of the Eastern Division playoffs before an announced 4,041 at Royal Farms Arena on Friday night.
Despite having gone 4-4 in its last four Major Arena Soccer League regular-season games, the Blast, which finished 15-4 as Eastern Division champions, doesn't see that changing as it primes for another extended playoff run.
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 3:14 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.
The Baltimore Blast plans to be on the move. Again. Disappointed by the Major Arena Soccer League's single-entity business plan as well as the lack of stability with many of its franchises, Blast owner Ed Hale Sr. plans to leave the 20-team league at the conclusion of the season and has begun work on the creation of a new league, the Indoor Professional League.
The Blast returns home after going 2-2 on its longest road trip of the season, closing with Monday's 10-5 win against the Chicago Mustangs to clinch the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Division title for the second straight season.
Pat Healey was a force at both ends of the field for the Blast on Saturday night against the Syracuse Silver Knights. The veteran defender had a goal, two assists and five blocked shots as the Blast defeated the Silver Knights, 7-3, before an announced 4,021 at Royal Farms Arena.
The Blast opens the 2016 portion of the Major Arena Soccer League schedule in command of the Eastern Division, coming off an 8-3 win at Harrisburg on Thursday. That gave the Blast a four-game division lead on the Detroit Waza Flo and Silver Knights.
Captain Pat Healey and Adriano Dos Santos each scored two goals, forward Lucas Roque provided three assists, and goalie William Vanzela made nine saves as the Blast came away with an 8-5 win over the Sockers before an announced crowd of 8,953 at Royal Farms Arena.
With four unanswered goals in the first quarter Saturday night, the Blast sent a clear message to the visiting Syracuse Silver Knights: Things aren't going to change this time. Baltimore has dominated Syracuse since the Silver Knights began play in 2011, including wins in all four meetings last season, and the Blast immediately picked up where it left off with an overwhelming first quarter that led to a 6-0 win in front of an announced 4,140 at Royal Farms Arena.
The Blast opened its Major Arena Soccer League season with a sound 7-4 home win over the visiting Chicago Mustangs last Saturday and will try to make it two in a row against a team it has plenty of success against in the past.
While the March 22 ending to the Major Arena Soccer League championship series was a heartbreaker for the Blast — the Monterrey Flash closed the series with a sudden-death goal in Mexico — there was plenty left for the team to build upon.
While the Blast prepares for the Major Arena Soccer League championship series this weekend against the Monterrey Flash, the team took time Thursday afternoon to recognize some of its own as the league's finest.
Tony Donatelli scored a go-ahead goal with 8:06 to play in the third quarter and the Blast's trademark defense handled the rest, blanking the Lancers in the entire second half to pull out a gutsy 6-4 win for the Eastern Division title in front of an announced crowd of 5,544 at Royal Farms Arena.
Every season, the Blast expects to challenge for the championship and this one is no different. Competing in the new 23-team Major Arena Soccer League, the Blast steamrolled the Eastern Division and comes into the postseason with an 18-2 record that has it in position to claim the franchise's eighth championship.
Forward Jamie Darvill and midfielder Juan Pereira each had hat tricks and defender Drew Ruggles scored a 3-point goal late in the second quarter to help the Blast past the Heat, 25-5, in front of a sparse crowd at Royal Farms Arena in snowy Baltimore.
After opening their first season in the new Major Arena Soccer League with 13 straight wins, the Blast went to the West Coast last weekend and didn't bring much offense in losses to the Las Vegas Legends (5-4 on Feb. 6) and San Diego Sockers (7-2 on Feb. 7).
When Vini Dantas and Jonatas Melo met on the Baltimore Blast's practice field, it was comforting for each of the first-year indoor soccer players to see a fellow Brazilian almost 5,000 miles away from home.
It's after 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, and although most of the surrounding businesses on Pulaski Highway in Edgewood are closed, the parking lot of Maryland Sports Arena is filled, and the inside is lit up as bright as the day as members of opposing adult soccer teams battle for control of the ball.