Thursday, March 14, 2013
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The Baltimore Blast moved one win away from their seventh MISL Championship as they took a 21-12 victory against the Missouri Comets in Game 1 of the MISL Championship Series on Thursday night in front of 5,279 fans at the Independence Events Center. Four Blast players had multiple goals, including a hat trick for Tony Donatelli, while Baltimore held off a second-half rally by the Comets to take victory.
Game 2 of the MISL Championship Series is set for Saturday night at 7:35 p.m. ET at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena. A deciding mini-game will be played immediately following Game 2 if needed.
Baltimore grabbed an early lead, Donatelli opening the scoring after just 27 seconds, but the Comets got back on level terms less than a minute later as Byron Alvarez tied the game 2-2. The Blast then took control, however, reeling off six consecutive goals to take a 12-point lead at the halftime break.
Neto was at the heart of the run, finishing off a chance created by Max Ferdinand after he stole possession in the Comets’ half to regain the lead for the Blast. He then played provider, working a clever give-and-go in the right corner to open up an opportunity that was finished by Ptah Myers, giving Baltimore a 6-2 lead at the end of the first.
Donatelli again scored less than a minute into the second quarter, driving a low effort home from the left side after being played in by Neto. Lucas Roque and Machel Millwood each added to the Blast’s lead, and Neto capped the run, making it 14-2, with a fine drive off a pass by Myers.
Missouri was able to end the Blast’s run 2:44 into the third quarter, Milan Ivanovic finishing off a cross by John Sosa, but Baltimore quickly answered as Myers scored his second goal of the game from close range off Donatelli’s cross.
The Comets tried again to rally, and made it a 10-point game as Ryan Junge capitalized on a turnover in the Blast end. Lucas Rodriguez then added another, turning home a shot midway through the third to make it 16-8, but the Blast’s defense held firm for the remainder of the quarter.
Baltimore regained a double-digit advantage as Millwood scored his second of the game, off a restart from the top of the penalty area, to make it 18-8. The Comets then pulled their goalkeeper, and were able to pull back a pair of goals through Alvarez’s second and Leo Gibson to make it 18-12, but Donatelli capped his night with a 3-point goal into an empty net with 25 seconds to play to seal victory for the Blast.