It wasn’t exactly the start that the Blast were looking for but in the end a tremendous offensive outburst, some solid defensive play and a good job of possession soccer propelled the Blast to a 23-13 victory over the Chicago Soul. Tony Donatelli was the offensive star of the night scoring seven points on a hat trick and an assist.
Donatelli scored in a bunch of different fashions. His first goal in a Blast uniform was a by-product of persistence. Donatelli took a feed down the right wing and had his shot deflected not once but twice. Donatelli got a third crack at it off the volley at the top of the box and this time he drilled it past Soul Goalkeeper Jeff Richey for Baltimore’s first goal of the 2012-2013 season. His second goal was a thing of beauty. The former Philadelphia Kixx player headed a wide shot by Audato Neto that ricocheted off the boards up under the bar. Donatelli finished off the hat trick when the Blast took advantage of a quick restart. Donatelli took a feed at the top of the box and drilled a shot past Richey at the 14:03 mark of the first quarter.
Things didn’t start out great for the home team. Carlos “Chili” Farias was a one man wrecking crew for Chicago. Farias notched his hat trick in the first four minutes of the first quarter. Farias took advantage of the inexperience of Blast rookie Goalkeeper Troy Hernandez. A mis-communication between Hernandez and his defenders allowed a loose ball to pop free at the top of the box. The ball rolled back to Farias, who blistered a three-point goal past Hernandez to give the Soul a quick 3-0 lead :18 seconds into the game. Farias completed the hat trick later in the first with two goals :23 seconds apart. He scored a restart goal at the 3:41 mark and then beat Hernandez on a shoot-out goal after Hernandez had been called for a tripping penalty. At that point the Blast were down 7-2 four minutes into the game but they were far from out of it.
Baltimore’s forwards would take over from there. Machel Millwood and Audato Neto dominated the rest of the first quarter. Neto set up Donatelli to cut the lead to 7-4, then Millwood scored to cut the lead to one. Just seconds later Millwood set up Lucio Gonzaga for a goal and the Blast had their first lead of the game 8-7. It was Gonzaga’s first goal since tearing his ACL in training camp last year and missing the entire 2011-2012 campaign.
The Blast would control the game the rest of the way. The Blast forwards would continue to dominate and Blast Goalkeeper Hernandez settled in. After giving up seven points in the first four minutes he would allow just six points the rest of the way. The effort was a combination of Hernandez and some great defense from the rotation of four Blast Defenders. Captain Mike Lookingland and second year player Stephen Deroux continuously ran Farias and the rest of the Soul attackers off the ball. Deroux also added a three point goal in the third quarter that gave the Blast a 15-9 lead. The Soul answered just over a minute later when Robert Gallo’s second chance goal cut the lead to 15-11. The Blast started to pull away in a key sequence late in the third. Baltimore got their first Power play at the 7:11 mark when Alex Megson went off for elbowing Donatelli. :24 seconds later Will Kletzien was called for a handball in the box and the Blast were awarded a Penalty Kick. Richey stoned Millwood on the Kick and the Soul proceeded to kill off the 5 on 3 advantage. It looked like the Soul would kill both penalties until Mike Lookingland pounced on a rebound to the left of Richey and buried a shot to give the Blast a 17-11 lead with just :08 seconds left on the Power play. Just :26 seconds later Adriano Dos Santos took Lucas Roque’s feed in the box and beat Richey off the volley to give the Blast an eight point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was vintage Blast. They played keep away from the Soul while outscoring them 6-2 to come away with the 23-13 win. Eight different players scored a goal for the Blast led by Donatelli’s hat trick. Troy Hernandez turned away nine Soul shots to earn his first victory.
Don’t forget to tune into the Baltimore Blast report this Wednesday on Catch The Buzz on WNST.NET 1570 AM. We will recap the win over the Soul and look forward to this weekend’s big doubleheader at 1st Mariner Arena when the Blast play a rematch against Chicago on Friday night and take on the Syracuse Silver Nights on Saturday night.