Tonight the Baltimore Blast, 8-3, take on the Syracuse Silver Knights, 6-6, in First Mariner Arena. The stakes could not get much higher tonight as we are playing the last game of the first half of the 2011-2012 MISL season. The Blast are in first place in the Eastern Division with a 2 ½ game lead over the Silver Knights. A win tonight would give the Blast a commanding 3 ½ lead at the halfway point while conversely a loss would allow the Silver Knights to remain very close as they head into the second half of the season with a tough road victory. It is also important to note that the Blast have a 1-3 record at home this season with 2 of those loses coming to these Silver Knights.
The Blast is led by Machel Millwood and Max Ferdinand this season. Newcomer Ricardinho is making his Blast debut tonight and is looking to contribute right away. A boisterous crowd of 4,864 is hoping to get a good game tonight.
What is becoming a nice tradition, Blast forward Machel Millwood puts the Blast up early as he takes a pass from Carlos Garcia and scores. 2-0 Blast lead early in the game. At 6:33 left in the first quarter Machel Millwood scores again. The Blast needed to start of well tonight and an early 4-0 lead with 2 goals from your team leader in points is exactly what the Blast needed tonight. A minute later Blast forward Stephen DeRoux puts in a 3 point goal and the Blast take a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes to go in the first quarter. The Silver Knights take a timeout to try to put a stop to this onslaught, and it works. Syracuse scores with 4:25 left and closes the lead to 7-2. This has been the most action packed first quarter of the year. Blast midfielder Carlos Garcia was feeling left out of the scoring and with 1:30 left to go in the quarter he took care of that by scoring and giving the Blast a big 9-2 lead. And that’s how the first quarter ends with the Blast ahead 9-2. I haven’t seen an opening quarter like that all year.
1minute into the second quarter and it feels like we haven’t left the first quarter. Blast defender Stephen DeRoux steals the ball from the Silver Knights deep in their own defensive side of the field and quickly scores and its 11-2 Blast. Blast forward Max Ferdinand gets in the act only 1 minute later and scores to increase the lead to 13-2 Blast. The Silver Knights immediately responding by committing a tripping penalty and the Blast go on a power play. Blast forward Neto takes advantage of the penalty and scores to increase the lead up to 15-2 Blast. Tonight’s play by the Blast has been inspired, but the Silver Knights are embarrassing themselves out their tonight and it’s a little shocking. The second quarter ends with the score 15-2. The Silver Knights have a lot to be ashamed of while the Blast need to keep their focus to avoid a second half letdown.
30 seconds into the second half and the Silver Knights score. They needed this goal and the Blast need to use this score as a wake-up call. That this second half will not be an easy one. With 11 minutes to go in the third quarter Blast forward Neto scores and gets the lead back up to 13 points. Blast forward gets his 3rd goal in a row and puts the Blast lead to 19-4. Neto is the first Blast player to a hat-trick tonight, but I don’t think he will be the last. Blast forward Max Ferdinand scores with 1 minute to go in the quarter, his 2nd tonight, and makes it 21-4. And that’s how the 3rd quarter ends. The Silver Knights scored 30 seconds into the quarter and then the Blast score 3 straight times. That was a great quarter of play by the Blast.
As the fourth quarter starts, it appears that the Silver Knights are going to be very aggressive so this should be a high scoring quarter. A little over 1 minute into the quarter the Silver Knights steal the ball in the Blast backfield and score to make it 21-6. Minutes later the Blast commits a boarding penalty to go down a man for 2 minutes. Syracuse cannot get off a shot and they waste the entire penalty. The bulk of the final quarter is general bad soccer, with the Silver Knights forward Anthony Maher clearly establishing himself as a first class cheap player. With the score stuck at 21-6 for a long time it’s a little lucky that this game hasn’t degenerated into something awful. Not to mention Syracuse won’t pull his goalie. The final score is a big Blast win 21-6 over the Syracuse Silver Knights.
See you tomorrow night back downtown at First Mariner as the Blast take on the Rochester Lancers.