The Mississauga MetroStars were in Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday to take on the Baltimore Blast.
Travelling with just 12 outfield players and 2 goalkeepers instead of the usual 13, the MetroStars already knew they were going to be in for a tough game, especially as the missing player was Dwayne De Rosario, the team’s highest scorer heading into this match, who didn’t travel due to injury.
Mississauga were hoping to take advantage of a Baltimore team that had played against the Harrisburg Heat less than 24 hours earlier.
The MetroStars got off to a quick start, as Marco Rodriguez found the back of the net just 41 seconds into the match. After Mo Babouli ran over the ball on a free kick, Rodriguez swooped in and fired the ball home, a move that Mississauga have used a few times this season.
Rodriguez doubled Mississauga’s lead a few minutes later, smashing the ball into the roof of the net at the 3:15 mark for his second goal.
There was a timeout called after the second goal, and whatever long-time Baltimore head coach Danny Kelly said to his team worked, as the Blast then scored eleven goals in a row, not conceding for over 30 minutes of playing time.
Mike Deasel brought the Blast back within one goal at 7:22, and Jonatas Melo tied it up at 10:40, leaving the sides with two goals apiece heading into the first intermission.
Tony Donatelli got the scoring underway in the second quarter, beating MetroStars starting goalkeeper Sebastian Zeballos at 5:25. Mohamed Ndiaye and Daniel Oliveira added a goal each and former Ottawa Fury striker Vinicius Dantas added two of his own, and the first half ended with the Blast ahead by a score of 7-2.
Just 55 seconds into the third quarter, Dantas completed his hat trick, extending Baltimore’s lead to 8-2.
Jon Orlando, Daniel Oliveira and Jonatas Melo all added goals within the next three and a half minutes to give Baltimore a commanding 11-2 lead. Melo’s goal lead to Adrian Becic replacing Sebastian Zeballos in the Mississauga net.
The MetroStars finally got back on the scoresheet at 05:09 as Marco Rodriguez picked up the ball in his own half, played a give-and-go with Damion Graham in front of the Baltimore net before firing a shot. At first it looked like Rodriguez had completed his hat trick by putting the ball in off the post, but the goal was credited to Halburto Harris, who redirected it in from the side of the net.
The Blast restored their eleven goal lead right at the end of the period, as Sam Guernsey found the back of the net with just 43 seconds left in the period.
Jereme Raley extended the Blast’s lead to 13-3 five minutes into the final period of play, volleying the ball home after Jon Orlando found him with a perfect pass off the boards beside the goal.
The MetroStars answered with three goals in a row, but they were too little, too late.
Damion Graham found the back of the net at 06:58 before Mo Babouli added two goals of his own. The first was a bullet of a free kick that found the top corner in a heartbeat, and the second was another perfectly placed shot off his sweet right foot.
Jamie Thomas rubbed salt in the wound with a lobbed shot that found the empty net behind sixth attacker Jonathan Osorio, giving Baltimore the 14-6 lead that they would end the match with.
Marco Rodriguez and Mo Babouli have now joined Dwayne De Rosario at the top of the team’s scoring list. With an impressive five points for Rodriguez in this match, he is up to 14 points, along with Mo Babouli, who recorded 2 goals in this one.
The MetroStars continue their four-game road trip on Saturday, January 26th against the Milwaukee Wave. Milwaukee are currently second in the MASL with an 8-1 record. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 8:05.