The two-time defending MASL-champion Blast open the playoffs by facing the Syracuse Silver Knights in the Eastern Division final. The teams start the best-of-three series Thursday in Syracuse before heading to Baltimore for Game 2 on Sunday with a deciding 15-minute mini-game to follow if needed.
The Blast will host the Syracuse Silver Knights looking to build off last week's successful debut at SECU Arena. The defending MASL champions opened with an 8-7 win over the Cedar Rapids Rampage last Friday.
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. The Blast rebounded with a 10-1 home win against the lowly St. Louis Ambush on Sunday.
The Blast announced its 20-game 2016-17 Major Arena Soccer League regular-season schedule Tuesday, opening the campaign on the road against the Harrisburg Heat on Nov. 5. The Blast's home opener, the first of 10 regular-season home games at Royal Farms Arena, is set for Nov. 11 against the Milwaukee Wave.
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.
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.
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.
The Blast had a convincing 16-7 season-opening win over the Syracuse Silver Knights on Saturday and will try to build on the effort against the Waza Flo, which previously competed in the Professional Arena Soccer League.
In Saturday's season opener against the visiting Syracuse Silver Knights, the Blast gave up some shaky goals early and had goalie William Vanzela scrambling to make some big saves. But the offense kept pace and when the defense tightened, the Blast ran away with a 16-7 win over the Silver Knights before an announced crowd of 7,812 at Royal Farms Arena.
The inaugural Major Arena Soccer League season will include 23 teams competing in four divisions — Eastern, Central, Southern and Pacific. The Blast will play in the Eastern with the Detroit Waza Flo, Harrisburg Heat, Rochester Lancers and Syracuse Silver Knights.
Hale announced the creation of the Major Arena Soccer League at a news conference at Canton Dockside restaurant, a 24-team operation that includes teams from the Major Indoor Soccer League and the Professional Arena Soccer League.
The Baltimore Blast, along with five other former Major Indoor Soccer League teams, have reached an agreement to partner with teams from the Professional Arena Soccer League to create a new league that is expected to consist of 20-plus teams throughout North America.