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Blast loses shutout, but holds on to beat Wave

Despite losing shutout streak, the Blast held on to beat the Milwaukee Wave at Royal Farms Arena.

The home shutout string the Blast took into Friday night's game against the Milwaukee Wave was downright impressive by professional indoor soccer standards — eight quarters and nine-plus minutes without allowing an opponent to score.

And while the Blast added to the run — which included two shutouts and three easy wins — with two more quarters of clean defensive play against the Wave, the ending was far from easy this time.

Seemingly in control going into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, the Blast had to hold off a valiant Wave comeback bid. Onua Obasi's goal with 2:39 to play secured a suddenly-thrilling 13-8 win in front of an announced crowd of 6,421 at Royal Farms Arena.

Lucas Roque scored two goals, Pat Healey and Adriano Dos Santos added one goal and one assist and goalie William Vanzela made 14 saves.

“We have so many young guys, so I think this is good for us to see the pressure by Milwaukee," Vanzela said. "We’re home and played our game in front of our crowd and I think we learned a lot from this game.  I wish we [didn't] make some of the same mistakes, especially in the back.  But it’s good."

The Blast improved to 5-0 lead second-place Rochester (3-1) by 1 1/2 games in the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Division. Milwaukee, which competes in the MASL Central Division, fell to 4-3.

With the Blast seemingly in control with an 11-2 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Wave scored two goals in a 34-second span that cut the advantage to 11-6 with the 11:18 left to play.

When Blast defender Mike Deasel scored on his own goal in a bid to clear a cross (the Wave's Marcio Leite was credited with the goal) with 2:39 to play, the lead was down to 11-8. But Obasi provided the sigh of relief, taking a feed from Tony Donatelli less than a minute later with an extra attacker on for the Wave.

"I just felt like we were hanging on there in the second half," Blast coach Danny Kelly said. "In the locker room, I credited them with finding a way to win the game and those are situations that we’ll find ourself in and we have to find a way.

"And that’s a positive. But for me, I don’t think we should have been in that situation.  It was a great learning experience for our younger guys in that you have to play the full 60 minutes.”

The frantic ending overshadowed a brilliant first half by the home team.

The Blast put together a near-perfect first quarter — pressuring the ball, connecting passes and finishing scoring chances. Vanzela made two saves the the Blast led 6-0 going into the second quarter.

Healey got the scoring started 3:21 into play when he got free in front to head home a cross from Tony Donatelli just 3:21 into play for a 2-0 lead. Roque scored the final two goals of the quarter, his second off a feed from Dos Santos with 1:40 left that summed up the early play. Dos Santos outworked a Wave defender in the left corner, won the ball and sent a pass to the front for Roque to put home.

The strong play continued in the second quarter.

Afforded too much time and space with a run from midfield, Max Ferdinand unleashed a heavy shot that found the lower left corner for a 3-point goal that increased the lead to 10-0 in the opening two minutes and then Dos Santos took a feed from Healey with 4:31 left in the half to give the Blast an 11-0 lead at the break.

When Wave forward Luan Sales Oliveira scored early in the third quarter, the Blast's home shutout string of 160 minutes, 43 seconds came to an end. The Blast blanked the Detroit Waza Flo, 26-0, and the Harrisburg Heat, 27-0, in its previous two home games.

In addition to his offensive contributions, Healey was equally impressive at the defensive end, including a brilliant clear on a hard shot late in the third quarter with the Blast leading, 11-2.

Copyright © 2017, CT Now

Blast 13, Milwaukee 8

Milwaukee 0 0 2 6 -- 8

Blast 6 5 0 2 – 13

First quarter

Scoring: 1. Blast, Healey, 2 pt., (Donatelli), 3:21; 2. Blast, Roque, 2 pt., (Gonzaga), 8:47; 3. Blast, Roque, 2 pt., (Dos Santos), 13:20.

Penalties: None.

Second quarter

Scoring: 4. Blast, Ferdinand, 3 pt., 1:39; 5. Blast, Dos Santos, 2 pt., (Healey), 10:29.

Penalties: None.

Third quarter

Scoring: 6. Milwaukee, Oliviera, 2 pt., (Leite), 1:40

Penalties: Blast, (bench – too many men), 12:21; Milwaukee, Da Silva, (5-minute unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:13.

Fourth quarter

Scoring: 7. Milwaukee, Banks, 2 pt., (Leite), 3:08; 8. Milwaukee, Randoncic, 2 pt., (Arrico), 3:42; 9. Milwaukee, (Leite), 2 pt., 2:39; 10. Blast, Obasi, 2 pt., (Donatelli), 13:07.

Penalties: Blast, Obasi, (5-minute-delay of game), :17.

Shots: Milwaukee 3-2-9-10 -- 24; Blast 9-4-5-5 --23.

Power-play opportunities: Milwaukee 0-for-1; Blast 0-for-0.

Goalie saves: Milwaukee, Vorberg, 5-2-3-1 -- 11, Quiroz 1 ; Blast, Vanzela, 2-2-4-6 -- 14 .

A – 6,421

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