The 14-3 Baltimore Blast take on the 4-14 Chicago Riot tonight in front of a very energized crowd at 1st Mariner Arena with a lot at stake. If you are tired of complicated playoff formula’s, then I will keep this simple. If the Blast win any of their remaining 3 games, they are the first seed and host the MISL Championship game. If the Milwaukee Wave loss any of their remaining 3 games, the Blast are the first seed and host the MISL Championship game.
The Blast should not look past the Riot. Although the Blast are 4-1 against the Riot this year, they did play a spirited overtime game Sunday that ended with the Blast winning 16-13. The crowd of 9,118 appears to be expecting a close game, but hopes are high that the Blast can win tonight and clinch the Championship game.
The game starts pretty fast with a lot of aggressive play from the Blast. It pays off early as Blast Defender Pat Morris puts a rebound into the goal for an early 2-0 lead. The 1st quarter remained pretty one sided, with the Blast get the much better of the play. Several great scoring opportunities were missed by the Blast, while the Riot has only a couple of legitimate scoring chances. Then, as the last tenth of a second runs off the clock, Blast Defender Pat Morris scores his second goal of the quarter to give the Blast a 4-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter starts off with the Blast committing a rare and costly mistake. The defensive lapse allows the Riot to score an empty net 3 point goal 1 minute into the quarter. Not a good way to start the 2nd quarter. The rest of the quarter is very exciting up and down play, but both teams miss multiple scoring chances. That is until 9:28 in the half Blast forward Matt Watson puts the Blast up 6-3. The 3 point lead was short lived as 30 seconds later the Riot knock one in to make the score 6-5 with 5 minutes to go in the 1st half. The score remained 6-5 as we went into halftime.
The 3rd quarters starts off slow. But tonight, Blast defender Pat Morris isn’t having any of that. At the 5:18 mark of the 3rd quarter, Pat Morris scores a great 3 point goal to take the lead up to 9-5 Blast. The Riot miss a great scoring opportunity with seconds to go in the quarter and the lead remains 9-5.
Less than 1 minute into the 4th quarter, the Riot gets a breakaway goal and the lead is reduced to 9-7 Blast. Lots of good physical play follows as each team is playing a little harder than earlier in the game. As the quarter plays on, the play gets much more physical. It is turning into a real classic. Lots of running up and down the field with lots of missed scoring opportunities. Then with 4:30 left to go in the game, the Riot score on one of their fast break opportunities and tie the game 9-9. First Mariner Arena is really making some noise to try to will the Blast to score, and it almost works. At 11:04, the Blast shot one past the Riot goalie but the ball hits the post. Several good scoring chances by both teams went unfinished and we went to the final whistle all tied up 9-9. This is the second straight overtime game between the Blast and the Riot.
Sudden death first goal wins overtime starts and the crowd is hopeful for a Blast win. The play is turning dirty as players from both sides go down with injuries. Neither team wants to make a mistake. But that’s exactly what the Blast do by making a mistake that costs them the game. At 2:11 in Overtime, Riot forward Ante Cop scores on the miss-kick by the Blast defensive and the game is over. Tough loss for the Blast in Overtime tonight.