Towson, MD – The Baltimore Blast moved to 3-4 on the season after defeating the Empire Strykers 6-4 in front of a sold-out crowd at SECU Arena in Towson. Midfielder Jonatas Melo led the way for the Blast, picking up three points off one goal and two assists in the win on Saturday night.
Blast midfielder Antonio Manfut got the game started with a goal off the assist from Melo with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Despite getting out-shot by the Strykers 10-4 in the opening quarter, the Blast found themselves ahead 1-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Blast's defense recorded six blocks across the first fifteen minutes of play.
A tripping penalty on starting goalkeeper William Vanzela gave the Strykers a penalty kick, and forward Franck Tayou put the ball in the back of the net to even the game at one apiece.
A successful challenge by the Blast gave the team a one-man advantage for contact above the shoulder area, and forward Lucas Roque scored a goal off the assist from midfielder Ricardinho, giving Baltimore a 2-1 lead. A couple of minutes later, Patrick Thompson scored for Baltimore. The Blast took a 3-1 lead.
The scoring continued for Baltimore after Mike Deasel converted on an assist from Max Ferdinand. At the end of the first half, the Blast held a commanding 4-1 lead after a three-goal second quarter.
The Strykers recorded 22 shots in the first half but only had one goal to show for it, while the Blast scored four goals off nine shots. Vanzela saved eight shots in the second quarter for the Blast, part of a 12-save half.
Baltimore picked up the second half right where they left off, scoring a goal in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Ferdinand scored the goal for the Blast, with Melo picking up the assist. Israel Sesay picked up a blue card for the Strykers and gave the Blast a power play, but the team could not take advantage of the opportunity.
With five and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, Tayou picked up his second goal of the night for the Strykers, cutting Empire's deficit to 5-2. Melo then picked up a goal, putting the game at 6-2, a score that took the game to the end of the third quarter.
Mohamed N'Diaye put a ball in the top left corner to give the Strykers a goal and cut their deficit to 6-3 with just under four minutes remaining in the game. N'Diaye picked up his second goal of the night a couple of minutes later and put the game at 6-4 with under three minutes remaining in the game. The Blast hung on to win despite the late comeback attempt from the Strykers, winning 6-4.
MASL Match Report January 7, 2023
Empire Strykers @ Baltimore Blast: SECU Arena
Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. ET