BALTIMORE, MD (January 25th, 2020) – The Baltimore Blast and the San Diego Sockers will face off at SECU Arena in their first matchup since 2015. Baltimore, with 10 championships, and San Diego, with 14, are two of indoor soccer’s most successful teams. This rivalry has always been fierce and included some of the game’s greats like legendary players Stan Stamenkovic and Juli Veee and coaches such as Kenny Cooper and Ron Newman. The two teams met for the championship four times back in the 1980’s, with San Diego winning each time. Both teams have continued that legacy, they have made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons.
Currently, the Blast find themselves in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, just outside the playoff spot. After an up and down start, things are looking up in Baltimore. The Blast defeated Soles de Sonora 7-3. Two players made their season debuts in last Monday’s game vs Sonora, forwards Lucas Roque and Victor France. Roque, in his first game for the Blast since 2017, scored a goal and added an assist. New signing Richard Schmermund has helped stabilized the defense, which limited high-scoring Soles de Sonora to just 3 goals despite 42 shots. Schmermund tallied an assist for his first point as a member of the Blast.
Along with a strong defensive effort, goalkeeper Willian Vanzela earned the second star of the game with 25 saves and excellent distribution. Forward Daniel Peruzzi scored 3 times in the first half, he now has 8 goals in 7 games. Forward Vini Dantas continues to be among the league leaders with 14 goals, tied for third in the Eastern Conference. Tony Donatelli scored 2 against the Soles, and he is now second on the team in points, with 17. They are coached by Head Coach Danny Kelly and Assistant Coach David Bascome.
After facing San Diego, the Blast will travel to Harrisburg to play the Heat for the first time this season on Sunday, January 26th at 5:05 PM. Harrisburg, at 7-3 is in the thick of the playoff race, so expect a hard fought battle that could have huge implications for each team. This is the first of four contests between the teams this season. Midfielder Dominic Francis has 19 goals this season, good for third in the MASL, and smashing his career best despite not even playing half a season.
The Sockers are red-hot, having won their past 8 games after an opening-night home loss to Turlock Cal Express. They are second in the Western Conference behind the undefeated Monterrey Flash. They defeated the Mesquite Outlaws by a score of 5-3. Defender Cesar Cerda had two goals, and team legend Kraig Chiles had a goal and an assist. Forward Slavisa Ubiparipovic is the Sockers’ top scorer with 15 points, while Leonardo de Oliveira and Brian Farber have 11 points each.
However, the strength of this team lies at the back. Led by 2018-19 MASL Goalkeeper of the Year Boris Pardo, San Diego has allowed the second fewest goals in the MASL. Defender Luis “Pee Wee” Ortega leads the team in blocks with 12. Midfielder Brandon Escoto, a member of last season’s All-MASL first team, has 9 points so far this season. San Diego will play their next game against the Monterrey Flash on February 3rd at 6:05 PM PST. The Sockers are coached by head coach Phil Salvagio, assistant coached Ray Taila and Rene Ortiz, along with goalkeeping coach Victor Melendez.
The game will take place at SECU Arena on Saturday, January 25th at 6:05pm ET. Tickets for the game are available online through Ticketmaster or by calling the Blast ticket office at 410- 73-BLAST. You can watch the game live on MASLTV: https://www.maslsoccer.com/masltv
The Major Arena Soccer League represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The MASL is currently incorporated as a 501(c)6 not for profit corporation formed to promote the business and sport of arena soccer.