Silver Knights Silence the Blast
BALTIMORE, MD (Feb. 19, 2017) – The Syracuse Silver Knights soundly defeated the defending MASL champion Baltimore Blast 7-2 on Sunday, keeping Syracuse's playoff hopes alive and setting up another must-win game this Friday versus Baltimore.
Midfielder Kenardo Forbes scored two goals off of set pieces and added two assists in the team’s best performance on the road this season. Forbes earned the game’s first star, but it was the total team effort from Syracuse that produced the crucial victory.
The Silver Knights (7-11) defense kept the Blast (11-6) from scoring for the final 48 minutes of the match and handed Baltimore only its second loss at home this season. Goalkeeper Bryan O’Quinn, the game’s second star, rebounded nicely from Friday night’s loss and made several spectacular stops to stifle the Blast’s hopes of a comeback in the third quarter.
The highlight goal of the match came courtesy of Syracuse forward Moises Gonzalez, whose bicycle kick over Baltimore goalkeeper William Vanzela extended the Silver Knights lead to 5-2 and seemed to sap the energy from the Baltimore players and their home fans.
Syracuse forward Slavisa Ubiparipovic continued his run of excellent play, scoring a goal and providing an assist. Joey Tavernese also scored for the Silver Knights, as did Jerjer Gibson, who scored two against the Blast. Gibson deftly chipped Vanzela for his first goal after receiving a wonderfully headed pass from teammate Antonio Manfut.
Unlike other good performances on the road this year, Syracuse didn’t fade late in the match against Baltimore. The Silver Knights played smart soccer, making the simple and safest passes to retain possession and tame the Blast’s attack.
Even after Baltimore pulled Vanzela to put on the sixth attacker in the fourth quarter, Syracuse continued to have more of the ball and the better of play. It was easily the club’s most complete performance of the season, given the quality of the opponent and location of the match.
The Silver Knights will have to replicate the quality and intensity of their play against the Blast this Friday, when Baltimore visits Dave and Buster’s Field in another crucial game for Syracuse. The Silver Knights cannot afford to lose either of the team’s two remaining matches. Any loss eliminates the club from making the playoffs.
Thanks to the team’s exceptional effort on Sunday, there is still hope for Silver Knights fans. With a little help from Harrisburg and Florida next weekend, the Silver Knights could even find themselves with a chance to clinch second place and a playoff spot in the team’s final home match of the season against Florida on Feb. 26.