WAVE FALLS SHORT IN FIRST GAME OF BEST OF THREE SERIES AGAINST BALTIMORE BLAST
After winning the best of three series against Utica City Football Club, the seven-time champion Milwaukee Wave is to host the Baltimore Blast for the Eastern Conference Semi-Final best of three series. The Blast hosted the only other interaction the two teams have had this season. The Blast racked up eleven points to the Wave’s three. This loss was a result of back-to-back nights of Wave games. With the Wave now well-rested after almost a week from their last win, they are back and ready to show the Blast true Wave soccer.
Final Score: Milwaukee Wave 4, Baltimore Blast 5
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As the first quarter took off at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, it was clear this would be no easy feat. It ended scoreless, but not eventless. The Wave clocked a total of 10 on-goal shots in the first 15 compared to the slight three taken by the Blast. Donatelli, #11 of the Blast, was given a 2-minute blue card for tripping leaving the Wave in a Power Play. Even playing a man up, the Wave was unable to score. Only two minutes into the second quarter, #77, Marcio Leite, finished an impressive goal assisted by #9, Derek Huffman. Countering the Blast, #26, Ian Bennet, lasered a shot just wide of the goal that #3, Qudus Lawal, picked up and finished. In the twelfth minute #25, Max Ferdinand, of the Blast snuck a goal in despite #33, William Banahene’s best efforts. Banahene owned an 80% save percentage that helped end the half 2-1, Wave.
Coming in hot off the Power Play bench, Ferdinand of the Blast attempted the breakaway to no avail as the notorious Wave defensive team stepped in. Ian Bennett attempted a shot that got just past the keeper before #13, Jereme Raley, of the Blast, knocked it off the line last second. With another defensive highlight, after Banahene was beaten, #80, Alex Sanchez, left it all on the field as he slid back with perfect placement support. After a defensively dominated half, #22, Juan Pereira of the Blast, tapped an easy one in. With a last-second foul, Marcio lobbed a ball that would have landed perfectly under the bar, but Blast keeper Vanzela intercepted it, ending the quarter 2-2, tied. The intensity only grew over the brief break in the action. Coming onto the field with nothing to lose, both teams pulled out all the stops. In the sixth minute, Pereira claimed his second point of the game, pulling ahead, 3-2, Blast. After a brief hiatus, #99, Andre Hayne, welcomed himself back onto the field with a game-changing goal. Ian Bennett took advantage of the changed momentum and scored a challenged goal that held up in the instant replay. In instantaneous refute, Max Ferdinand scored in the last minute as the Blast pulled in a sixth attacker. The final score of regular time was 4-4, tied and prompted overtime. Silence fell over the arena as #17, Jamie Thomas nailed the final goal of the game for a 5-4, Blast win.
“We had a 4-3 lead with one minute to go and special teams let us down. I think this game really came down to special teams. Again, it’s the Baltimore Blast, they hang in there, they give themselves a chance to win late in the game, you know the one thing they have on us in experience. Hopefully, it’s a lesson learned tonight.” said Head Coach Giuliano Oliviero. The energy of the crowd, an early lead, and staying on top are Coach Oliviero’s ingredients for a Wave win. “ I think you’ll see our youthfulness show in a good way on Sunday.”
On Sunday, April 23rd, the Wave will host Baltimore Blast again for the second game of the series. If that game results in a Wave win, a third 15-minute game will commence directly after a brief intermission. The winner of the series will face the winner of the San Diego Sockers and Chihuahua Savage series also in play this week. If Baltimore pulls ahead for a second win, the Wave will lose their chance to win the Ron Newman Cup. You can watch the games live and for free on Twitch.
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