The Baltimore Blast and Monterrey Flash reunited in the MASL Ron Newman Cup Final in a belated rematch of the 2015 Finals. The Blast won their third straight title, holding on for a 4-3 win before 8,220 at Arena Monterrey.
Ante Cop: Monterrey will win 8-4. Just have a feeling that they will close out the season with an exclamation point.
Freddy Moojen: Baltimore, 7-6.
Franck Tayou: Mmm it’s going to be too tactical: 4-3.
Joey Tavernese: Low scoring game for sure.
The rematch was delayed by Monterrey’s two year hiatus, but the Flash rejoined the league with vigor, finishing the regular season 20-2 and sweeping their way through the Sonora Soles and San Diego Sockers to reach the finals.
Baltimore overcame a midseason injury to William Vanzela and finished the year on cruise control, entering the playoffs with a 17-5 record. The Blast then swept the Syracuse Silver Knights and Milwaukee Wave to return for their eighth straight finals appearance.
The Blast took a 1-0 lead in the first quarter when Vini Dantas got the ball in the corner, dribbled to the top of the box and spun and put one past Diego Reynoso.
Monterrey tied the game, but the goal was disallowed because they had too many men on the field, so Miguel Vaca went from goal-scorer to bench-penalty-server. A few minutes later Andrew Hoxie put a nifty move on Reynoso and calmly placed the ball into the net with his left foot to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead.
The Flash put themselves in a big hole with a late penalty to Carlos Pichardo. On the power play, Daniel Peruzzi smashed a sliding shot from the corner into the roof of the goal to give the Blast a commanding 3-0 led that held up through halftime.
Bernie Lilavois: Baltimore’s actually playing very disciplined and Monterrey is off right now. Danny Kelly and David Bascome are legit coaches and don’t get enough credit.
Freddy Moojen: Danny is a great coach.
Bernie Lilavois: Monterrey had a players only meeting right before leaving the field at the half and mixed it up with Baltimore as they were walking off. My call is Monterrey scores next two and gets back into game.
In the third quarter, Monterrey started putting the pedal to the metal and it finally paid off at 2:58. Even though it was early in the half, Monterrey called timeout with a free kick opportunity at the top of the arc. Damian Garcia played it to Chile Farias who faked a shot but quickly reversed the ball across to Edgar Gonzalez who fired a rocket past Vanzela to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Less than a minute later, however, Monterrey’s momentum was knee-capped by a bad goal. On a corner kick, Pat Healey’s pass deflected off a Flash player’s leg and went through Reynoso’s legs before Juan Pereira poked in the loose ball. This would prove to be the game-winner.
Monterrey wasn’t done, however. Wilo Martinez’s back heel goal brought the fans to life at 7:44 of the fourth quarter. With a little over three minutes left Lourenco Andrade headed home a Vaca shot off the glass and chants of “Si se puede!” filled the arena.
The Flash, however, could not defend their vacated title and fell 4-3, as the Blast celebrated on Mexican turf for the third straight year.
Vanzela, making just his second start since January 19, was named Finals MVP though he was only credited with six saves. He came up big, however, by controlling the rebounds on several Flash shots that were wide of the goal, and didn’t give up any bad goals.
Joey Tavernese: At the end of the day. They are the most professional, well-run organization and it shows every year. Danny Kelly could win with anyone.
Bernie Lilavois: Players on Baltimore bought in and executed Danny’s game plan. Well deserved by the Blast. Next year Fury wins .