Late energy not enough after sluggish start in home opener
Milwaukee controls play through three quarters before the Blast wakes up
The Blast had a big crowd on hand for its home opener Friday night, unveiling its 2015-16 Major Arena Soccer League championship banner after a ring ceremony before the game against the Milwaukee Wave. And then the home team lay an egg. The Wave dictated play through the first three quarters, gaining a slim advantage and then holding off a late push from the Blast to claim a 4-3 win before an announced 7,813 at Royal Farms Arena.
Just how bad was it for the Blast most of the way?
Trailing 2-1 after one quarter, it didn’t have a shot on goal in the second quarter. Up 3-1 going into the third quarter, the Wave scored 17 seconds into play; the Blast could get just one shot on goal afterward.
Trailing by three going into the fourth quarter, the Blast finally showed urgency in peppering the Wave (1-1) with 11 shots. The home team got goals from Andrew Hoxie and Tony Donatelli and had 3:22 left to come up with the equalizer, but it never came.
Milwaukee goalie Josh Lemos had nine of his 13 saves in the final quarter, stoning Juan Pereira’s attempt in front with 55 Friday, 7:35 p.m. seconds left to secure the win. Former Blast player Max Ferdinand led the Wave with one goal and two assists.
“We just didn’t come out with a lot of energy, which is unacceptable in the home opener like that. I don’t know what the reason was, but that was the second game in a row where our first quarter wasn’t up to par and we got behind the eight ball,” said Donatelli, a captain.
The Blast (1-1) returns to Royal Farms Arena on Friday to take on the expansion Florida Tropics.
For a second straight game, the Blast started slow. In last weekend’s season opener at Harrisburg, the Heat had a 2-1 lead late in the second quarter before the Blast got on track with three goals in the final three minutes of the first half to start a run of eight straight goals in an 11-6 win.
With the big crowd Friday, the Blast had every reason to be excited and play energized from the start, but it didn’t happen.
“We definitely lacked a sense of urgency,” coach Danny Kelly said. “Sometimes big nights can lull you into a sleep, so to speak. But no excuses: We didn’t play well. Period.”