MISL 2012-13 PREVIEW
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Head Coach: Danny Kelly
2011-12 Regular Season: 18-6
Playoffs: Rochester, W 2-0; Milwaukee, L 0-2.
The Lowdown: After falling in the MISL Championship Series, the Blast will again be one of the title contenders as they return a strong core for the new season. While they made a slow start a year ago, the Blast posted the best regular-season road record in the league (9-3) as they pulled away from their competition in the Eastern Division, something Danny Kelly will hope carries over into the new season.
Key Losses: While the Blast return a strong core, their stalwart goalkeeper Sagu has departed, as has last season’s backup Akira Fitzgerald. A four-time Goalkeeper of the Year award winner, including last season as he posted a 9.61 points-against average, the Brazilian will leave big shoes to fill for his replacement.
Key Returnees: The standout attacking tandem of Max Ferdinand and Machel Millwood both return after recording a combined 143 points in 2011-12. Ferdinand in particular had a breakout season, recording a career high with 72 points and earning All-League First Team honors. With 2012 Defender of the Year Mike Lookingland patrolling the other end of the field, the Blast will remain a difficult side to break down.
Key Additions: USL PRO standouts Tony Donatelli and Tino Nunez arrive in Baltimore, with Donatelli bringing prior indoor experience after winning an MISL championship in 2007 with the Philadelphia KiXX and coming off a championship summer with the Charleston Battery. Nunez should complement Ferdinand and Millwood in the Blast’s attack, with the powerful forward having a proven ability to not only find the back of the net but also set up teammates while holding off the attention of opposing defenders.
Coach’s View: “We have a very strong core group of players, and we’re doing our best to add some key pieces, and we expect to be competing for a championship. That’s one of the things that we know, even though we don’t have a goalkeeper with MISL experience, we still believe we’re a team that’s capable of competing for a championship.” – Danny Kelly