One of the best rivalries in arena soccer picked up where it left off as Utica City FC traveled down to Maryland to match up with the Baltimore Blast to begin the 2019-20 MASL season.
The first quarter was very much typical for this series, both teams tactically possessing the ball and being selective with taking shots. Both Andrew Coughlin and Willian Vanzela were called upon to make some big saves in the critical early minutes. However, Utica would strike first when the newly acquired Christian “Mighty Mouse” Segura would navigate around the defense and strike a shot past Vanzela to put the City up 1-0. The Blast would counter several minutes later in the second quarter as Ibrahima Keita went five hole on Coughlin and evened the match at one.
Scoring would continue to pick up in the second quarter when Vanzela would make a costly error, giving up a bad pass in the midfield to Bo Jelovac. Bo sent a shot from behind the midline into the open Blast net to make it 2-1 City. Seconds later, Daniel Peruzzi would rocket a shot into the net on a free kick to tie the game. From there, Utica City would take control of the half, getting a nifty third goal from rookie Momo in the middle of the frame. Late in the half, Bo would use a back heel pass to find Segura who beat the Blast defense to make it 4-2 Utica City at the half.
The second half started with both teams trying to get off fast. Tony Donatelli would have a breakaway denied by Coughlin to keep the score 4-2. The Blast would keep the pressure on the Utica defense, peppering shots left and right. Finally, Keita would strike again, connecting with the twine from the yellow line, cutting the Utica lead to 4-3. Baltimore would tie the game with 4:45 left in the third off another Peruzzi free kick goal, then take the lead on the power play with an Andrew Hoxie sliding boot. With just over two minutes to go in the third, Baltimore would score a second power play goal, Vini Dantas beating Coughlin with a backheel redirection right in the front of net, making it 6-4 Blast to end the third.
The fourth quarter saw Utica claw back into the game, Segura going top shelf just under three minutes in for a hat trick, making it 6-5 Blast. Utica City would tie it at six when Jake Schindler would feed Logan Roberts in front of the Blast net and Roberts put on his own version of the Dantas goal with just 5:55 to go in the game. The Blast answered right back, Peruzzi getting his free kick hat trick with under four minutes to go, making it 7-6 Blast. Baltimore would increase their lead when they would got the ball off a blocked Utica free kick attempt and went the length of the field to make it 8-6, Jonatas Melo getting the goal. With the extra attacker still on, Schindler would score seconds later to make it 8-7, but City couldn’t manage to score again and the Blast would win the match.
The Blast and City FC have a rematch this Sunday at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York. First kick is scheduled for 2pm.