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Baltimore Blast - Utica City Game Preview

April 19, 2019 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) - Baltimore Blast News Release

Baltimore Blast vs. Utica City FC

Game 1: Saturday April 20th @ SECU Arena 6:00 p.m. ET

Game 2: Monday April 22nd @ Adirondack Bank Center 6:30 p.m. ET

Mini Game (If Necessary) Monday April 22nd @ Adirondack Bank Center 9:30 p.m.

You can watch both games on Eleven Sports and the Eleven Sports NEXT digital platform

DIRECTV (channel 623):

AT&T U-verse (channel 1665):

Verizon Fios (channel 597)

Eleven Sports NEXT Digital channel is available on the Amazon Twitch Platform at:

Baltimore Blast: 17-7 (10-2 at Home; 7-5 away from home)

Second place in the Eastern Division.

Utica City FC: 17-7 (9-3 at Home; 8-4 away from home)

Eastern Division Regular Season Champions

Season Series: Tied 3-3

Baltimore Players to Watch:

The Blast prepare to face division rival Utica City FC in the division round of the 2019 Ron Newman Cup playoffs. Blast midfielder Jonatas Melo is coming off of his best regular season with Baltimore, recording a career high in points (41), goals (19), and assists (22). Vini Dantas will return to the field after missing the past three games. Despite his limited action this season, Dantas leads the Blast in goals with a career-high 23 goals and has recorded 1.9 points per game this season. Veteran midfielder Tony Donatelli ranks third on the Blast in points scored with twenty-nine, with fifteen goals and fourteen assists.

The Blast defense has become one of the best in the league through the contributions of several key players. Defenders Mike Deasel and Jereme Raley posted career-bests and lead the team in blocked shots with eighteen in the regular season. Defender Adriano Dos Santos has played all over the field this season and recorded his best point-scoring season since the 2013-14 season. Dos Santos recorded twenty-three points this season, playing mostly in the defense, but also played as a forward. Goalkeeper William Vanzela enters the postseason with the best save percentage in the MASL (75.3%) and the third best Goals Against average (4.09). Vanzela has posted career highs in minutes played and saves in a regular season. The Blast defense has allowed only 2.5 goals per game over their last six regular season games, which is the best in the MASL over that period.

This is the Blast's twelfth consecutive postseason appearance, dating back to their days in the MISL. A fourth consecutive MASL championship is on the line for the Blast, who will be without Lucas Roque and Daniel Peruzzi, Elton de Oliveira, and Marco Nascimento. The Blast are coached by Head Coach Danny Kelly and Assistant Coach David Bascome.

The Competition - Utica City FC

Eastern Division champions Utica City FC will be the first test in the Blast's quest for their fourth consecutive championship. Utica City enters this contest as winners of four of their last five games. The trio of Slavisa Ubiparipovic, Joey Tavernese, and Bo Jelovac have combined for a total of 106 points this season, with Ubiparipovic leading the way with a career high 40 points. Ubiparipovic has also posted career-bests in assists (21) and points per game (2.1), both of which lead the team. Forwards Joey Tavernese and Bo Jelovac share the team lead in goals scored with twenty. Nate Bordeau has tied a career high in assists with thirteen on the season. Utica City have great offensive depth in their ranks, as twelve players have recorded ten or more points this season, which is the second most in the league.

Utica City also boasts one of the best special teams units in the MASL. Their power play unit is the fourth best in the league with a 52.5% conversion rate, while their penalty kill unit is second best with a 67.6% success rate. Mauricio Salles leads Utica City in power play goals with six this season, ranking third in the league. Defender Darren Toby ranks fourth in the MASL in blocked shots with thirty-seven this season. The last time these two teams met was on March 31st where the Blast recorded a 5-4 victory in a shootout at the Adirondack Bank Center. Utica City FC are coached by Head Coach Ryan Hall.

Upcoming Games:

April 22nd 6:30 p.m. ET Baltimore Blast @ Utica City FC*

April 22nd 9:30 p.m. ET Baltimore Blast @ Utica City FC**

*postseason game

**Mini-game if necessary

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