The Baltimore Blast: 2018 MASL Champions
What did you do today?
Wrong answer. What you should have done is binged Indoor Soccer. The MASL had a Championship Triple Header. Game 1 was the M2 third place game, Game 2 was the M2 Championship game, and Game 3 was the MASL Championship game, a rematch of the 2015 Championship between the Baltimore Blast and the Monterrey Flash. M2 is the minor league affiliate of the MASL and I like that the league was trying an all-day Championship Slate.
The Colorado Inferno defeated the Cincinnati Swerve in the M2 Third Place Game. The Swerve opened scoring with a beautiful backdoor goal and then it was nip and tuck the rest of the way out. At one time the score was tied at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, before the Inferno pulled away in the fourth period for a 13-10 victory.
The 9-3 Cincinnati Swerve and the 8-4 Colorado Inferno put on a nice show on the red field in Colorado. How do I know it was a home game for Colorado? I took a screen shot.
The 10-2 Chicago Mustangs and the 7-5 San Diego Sockers shockingly started with a defensive stalemate. Not because of the two teams involved, the Sockers and the Mustangs were #1 & #2 in the league, defensively. No, shocking because it's indoor soccer.
The Mustangs finally scored almost an hour into the action, getting on the board on a set play. And that was it for the first half, 1-0. As Chicago was up 3-0 at the end of the third, there was no feeling that the Sockers were going to be able to chip away at the lead. On the other hand, it's hard to pitch a shutout in indoor soccer.
As the fourth progressed, the Mustangs were a snowball rolling downhill and ended up crushing the Sockers 7-0. The Mustangs had the best record in the regular season and were officially handed the M2 crown in convincing fashion.
About a 1,000 miles south, the MASL Championship was set to begin between the Baltimore Blast and the Monterrey Flash. Right from the start of the telecast, as the Monterrey Cheerleaders and Mascot drove onto the artificial turf waving Mexican Flags, there was a much more festive mood than in the earlier games.
As the game started, all I could think about was Monterrey needed to use the crowd as fuel. They couldn't fall too far behind early.
The Blast went up 1-0 on a shot the camera man barely captured. The Blast held on to a 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but #28, Vinicius Dantas, was injured. He was the Blasts' leading scorer in the playoffs and second leading scorer during the regular season.
The Flash finally got on the board in the 2nd period tying the score 1-1....but wait, what are the refs reviewing? The Blast are bitchin' about something. I'm re-watching the replay. What are they looking at? ...and the refs just waved off the goal. Too many men on the field? And a penalty? I don't see it.
The Blast go up 2-0. Hoxie was wide, wide open and put it away.
Time ticking away on the first half, under a minute... another goal by the Blast. The Blast are up at the half by a 3-0 score. Except for the goal taken away from Monterrey, this is starting to feel like the end of the Chicago/San Diego game.
GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! The fans go crazy as Monterrey opens the scoring in the 3rd quarter.
The third quarter is ticking away and I see Dantas back running across my screen.
Vaca's on the turf and wants a card. He won't get one.
End of the 3rd quarter and Monterrey is still down 3-1.
Goalkeeper for the Flash just gave up a soft goal, and that's going to do it. I know there's 11 minutes left, but the Flash are going to need some magic.
10 minutes left, Thomas is being helped off the field for the Blast.
7 minutes left, Monterrey scores on a beautiful back heal goal.
3 1/2 minutes left, the Flash pulls to within 1 with chaos in the box. 4-3 Blast.
Monterrey is keeping the pressure on. Baltimore is rattled and calls a timeout at the 2 1/2 minute mark.
After the timeout, the action is frantic, the crowd is into it with chances for both teams on both ends. Monterrey puts in the sixth attacker at the 1 1/2 minute mark. The Flash have the momentum. 1 minute left... they're running out of time.
8 seconds left, the sixth attacker just accidentally kicked the ball out of bounds. The regular goalie could have done that.
For the third consecutive year, the Baltimore Blast have just won the Ron Newman Cup Championship!
I went back to the 47:24 mark of the YouTube Live Stream, 12:35 left in the second period. It appears that the refs and the Blast were right as I replayed the sequence a half a dozen times on YouTube. A split second after the Flash scored, you can see 3 Monterrey players celebrating at the top of the box with 3 defenders following behind. The screen shot revealed too many men..
Just an asterisk to the 2018 season, back in December of 2017, BOS wrote the borderline slanderous article: Vuoso Thinks He's Playing Rec League.
The Barracudas finished the season 3-19, horrible by any metric. Who's that guy in the center that they're promoting? Looks like Vuoso! Let's see if he got his act together.
2018 Stats: 3 Games- 1 Goal & 3 Assists.
OUCH! Hopefully the Barracudas regroup and try again next year. (If they don't fold.)