William Vanzela, Tony Donatelli, and Lucas Roque Named Top Playoff Performers
3/17/15 - The Major Arena Soccer League's Ron Newman Cup playoffs has its finalists. With a pair of close victories apiece, the Baltimore Blast and Monterrey Flash swept the Missouri Comets and Las Vegas Legends in their respective Conference Finals.
The Comets came into the Eastern Conference Finals following a 20-0 season and a convincing 8-2 win over the Milwaukee Wave in the Central Division Final.
In Game 1, Baltimore won by the identical 6-4 score they used to eliminate Rochester, but Game 2 in Missouri opened up and saw a total of 17 goals, with the Blast coming out on top 10-7.
The Las Vegas Legends fell in the Ron Newman Cup semifinals for the third straight year, losing the Western Conference Finals in two games to the Monterrey Flash.
Las Vegas dug a 5-1 deficit at home in Game 1 and came within one goal at 6-5 and 7-6, but could not find the equalizer. In Game 2, the Legends were again stuck playing catch-up and successfully rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game, but allowed the first of four consecutive goals just 42 seconds later.
MASL Ron Newman Cup Playoff Results
Eastern Division Final
March 11 Baltimore 6 Rochester 4
Central Division Final
March 12 Missouri 8 Milwaukee 2
Eastern Conference Finals (Baltimore wins 2-0)
March 13 Baltimore 6 Missouri 4
March 15 Baltimore 10 Missouri 7
Western Conference Finals (Monterrey wins 2-0)
March 13 Monterrey 7 Las Vegas 6
March 15 Monterrey 7 Las Vegas 4
MASL Ron Newman Cup Top Playoff Performers
Erick Tovar - F - Monterrey Flash
Tovar leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals and an assist. He scored once in Game 1 vs. Las Vegas and had a key hat trick in Game 2.
William Vanzela - GK - Baltimore Blast
Vanzela held Rochester and Missouri to two goals each in Baltimore's first two playoff games and is 3-0 overall with a 3.67 GAA in the playoffs, tied with Diego Reynoso, but with a sterling .800 save percentage.
Diego Reynoso - GK - Monterrey Flash
Reynoso turned his game up in Game 2, holding the Legends to one goal in the final 24 minutes of the 7-4 win to improve to 11-1 since joining the Flash midseason.
Tony Donatelli - F - Baltimore Blast
Donatelli, the Blast's leading scorer in the regular season, leads the team with four goals and an assist in the playoffs. His third quarter goal against Rochester proved to be the game-winner.
Vini Dantas - M/F - Baltimore Blast
Dantas broke out with three goals in the Blast's conference clinching win against the Comets, including the game winning goal.
Felipe Gonzalez - M - Las Vegas Legends
Gonzalez scored two goals that got Las Vegas back into Game 1 after trailing by four. The first goal was a bomb from outside the yellow line and the second goal was an individual effort that saw him dribble through four defenders and beat goalkeeper Diego Reynoso. He added a goal in Game 2.
Josh Gardner - M - Missouri Comets
Gardner returned after missing Friday's game and scored two goals, giving him four points in two playoffs games.
Joey Kapinos - GK - Rochester Lancers
Kapinos made 13 saves and held Baltimore to three goals, giving his 10-10 team a chance to upset the 18-2 Blast.
The Blast and Flash have never played, but Baltimore defeated the Monterrey La Raza, the Flash's predecessors, in the 2007-08 MISL championship. Baltimore is gunning for the city's eighth indoor soccer championship, while Monterrey is looking for title number five.
Game 1 is Friday, March 20 at 7:35 p.m. from the Royal Farms Arena. Game 2 (and tie-breaking mini-game, if necessary) will be played on Sunday March 22 in Monterrey.