Marcio Leite had a hat trick as the Milwaukee Wave defeated the Baltimore Blast 14-2 in Game 1 of the MISL Championship Series on Friday night at 1st Mariner Arena. Game 2 of the series is set to be held Sunday at 4:10 p.m. Eastern Time at Milwaukee’s U.S. Cellular Arena, with the Wave having the opportunity to claim their second consecutive championship, and sixth in the club’s history.
Leite, who was a finalist for the MISL Most Valuable Player award, had a pair of goals in the second quarter before completing his hat trick midway through the third. He was backed by an outstanding defensive performance by the Wave, who finished with 22 blocked shots, while goalkeeper Marcel Feenstra had 11 saves.
The Blast held the majority of the possession to open the game, but the Wave were dangerous throughout on the counterattack, springing out of their tight defensive formation that left little room for the Blast to find a way through. Marco Terminesi almost gave the Wave the lead on one of those counters, breaking in behind the Blast defense before shooting wide, but Nicolas Perera broke the deadlock on a blistering shot from just beyond the right corner of the 3-point arc into the bottom left corner of the net.
Terminesi went close again early in the second quarter, hitting the crossbar on a well-worked move, and the Blast hit back as Ricardinho scored off a good pass from Machel Millwood to make it 3-2. But that would be the Blast’s only goal of the night, and the Wave restored their advantage on another counterattack as Leite scored his first from the right side with 4:51 to play in the half. Leite then added another off a restart with just less than two minutes to play in the half, giving the Wave a 7-2 advantage at the break.
The Wave, who blocked 10 of the Blast’s 17 first-half shots, continued to frustrate Baltimore offensively in the second half. And even when the Blast found a way through, Feenstra was on hand to save, denying Shaun David from close range with just over five minutes gone in the third quarter to maintain the five-point lead.
The Wave weren’t having the same struggles at the other end of the field, with Leite completing his hat trick, again on a low shot to the left corner, and Jonathan Greenfield adding a goal 37 seconds apart to make the score 11-2 at the end of the third quarter. The Wave then remained content to protect their lead throughout the fourth quarter, with Josh Rife capping the performance with 2:03 to play as he scored a 3-pointer into an empty net from his own half.
Game 2 of the MISL Championship Series can be seen on MISL Live (www.misllivesoccer.com) on Sunday at 3 p.m. CT.