Blast Dominate Expansion SharX
By Andrew Primrose
After an embarrassing loss to the last-place Norfolk SharX on the road Jan. 12, the Baltimore Blast reasserted their dominance against the SharX and the MISL Eastern Division with a strong, 18-2 victory Friday night in Baltimore. It was the expansion SharX's first visit to 1st Mariner Arena and the Blast were not accommodating hosts.
The Blast put their first points on the board with a head ball from midseason acquisition Ricardinho at the 7:30 mark of the first quarter. The goal was the first of the year for the veteran midfielder. Five minutes later, the Blast went up 4-0 on a Pat Healy’s first home goal of the season.
The SharX would answer at the 13-minute mark with a goal from Matthew Delicate and only trailed 4-2 at the end of the first quarter. Norfolk goaltender Tyler Benham, the reigning MISL player of the week, was nothing short of spectacular in making eight sensational saves, but he was no match for a Blast team that started to hit on all cylinders during the second quarter.
Max Ferdinand hit a quick strike on a restart from the top of the arc by Machel Millwood, and from there, the rout was on. By the time Baltimore finished its offensive onslaught, Ferdinand would add two more goals to complete the hat trick. Warren Ukah tailied two goals and Adauto Neto and Millwood added strikes of their own.
Though the Blast offensive dominance was impressive, the real story of the game was the ball control and defensive intensity displayed by a Baltimore team that has lacked consistency. Good enough to win on the road in Milwaukee, but lose their first three games at home, the Blast have at times struggled to find the style that coaches Danny Kelly and David Bascome demand. Baltimore's performance appeared to be a turning point in the maturation of a young team.
Friday night's game had an announced attendance of 4,718 and marked the beginning of four-game home stand for the Blast, with three of those games against Norfolk. The Blast return to action at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 against the SharX, before a Saturday-night matchup with second-place Rochester.
Posted Jan. 21, 2012