Baltimore Blast Weekend Preview
Baltimore Blast: 7-4
Second place in the Eastern Division
Utica City FC: 9-4
Fourth place in the Eastern Division
Season Series: Utica City leads 2-1
Harrisburg Heat: 3-7
Third place in the Eastern Division
Season Series: Baltimore leads 2-1
Baltimore Players to Watch:
The Blast have not lost at home (16-0) since moving to SECU Arena at Towson University and look to keep that streak alive against division leaders Utica City. Jonatas Melo returns from suspension this weekend and leads the Blast in assists and points while tied for first in goals. Melo has enjoyed an explosive first half that has seen him nearly eclipse his point total from last season. Midfielder Tony Donatelli will join Melo in midfield to form one of the best midfield partnerships in the MASL. Donatelli has recorded seven assists this year and averages 1.7 points per game, both ranking second on the team.
Blast Forward Vini Dantas has exploded onto the scene in recent weeks, but has missed the past two games. Dantas ranks first on the team with 1.9 points per game and is tied with Jonatas Melo for the most goals on the team. Defender Adriano Dos Santos provides offensive firepower from defense, as he averages nearly a point per game. William Vanzela continues to be one of the best goalkeepers in the MASL with a 4.52 goals against average and a .711 save percentage, which both rank sixth in all of the MASL. The Blast boast one of the best defenses in the league, ranking fifth in goals allowed per game (4.81), which will be instrumental in winning both games this weekend.
The Blast will be without Lucas Roque and Daniel Peruzzi as they recover from their knee injuries. The Blast are coached by Head Coach Danny Kelly and Assistant Coach David Bascome.
The Competition- Utica City FC
Eastern Division leaders Utica City will look to increase the distance between the second place Blast and themselves at the top of the division. Forward Slavisa Ubiparipovic has dominated the MASL over the past few years and has continued to be one of the best. Ubiparipovic currently ranks third in the MASL in points scored (29), fifth in assists (13), and tied for tenth in goals (16). Ubiparipovic will play alongside Forward Joey Tavernese, who is just as dangerous as his partner. Tavernese is ranked tenth in the MASL in points (22), and is tied for second in the league in power play goals (3).
Defender Darren Toby provides a stable presence from defense with his league leading 21 blocked shots and teams up alongside Bo Jelovac, who has recorded 15 points from defense so far. Goalkeeper Andrew Coughlin has led Uitca City to nine wins this season, ranking second among all goalkeepers in the league. Utica City has posted a 3-3 record on the road, but have jumped out to first place in the division thanks to their 6-1 home record. On the road, Utica City scores 6.3 goals per game and allows 6.5 goals per game. The last time these two teams met, Utica City won 6-3 with Slavisa Ubiparipovic collecting two points in the Utica City win. Utica City is coached by Head Coach Ryan Hall.
The Competition- Harrisburg Heat
Pat Healey and the Harrisburg Heat return to the SECU Arena for the third time this season, looking to spoil the Blast's perfect home record. Midfielder Ricardo Carvalho leads the Heat in points (17), goals (11), and assists (6). Forward Tavoy Morgan has proven to be a consistent thorn in the Blast's side, scoring five of his eleven points on the season against the Blast. Former Blast player and current Heat defender Nelson Santana picked up a hat-trick and the SportTurf Player of the Week last time out against the Blast. On the season, Santana has recorded six of his eleven points this season against the Blast.
Forward Tom Mellor ranks second in the league in power play goals with three this season. Harrisburg has won their past two games and are looking to extend their streak with a statement road win against the defending champion Baltimore Blast. Harrisburg is winless on the road this season, including 0-3 in day games. The Heat are coached by Head Coach Pat Healey and Assistant Coach Lester Felician.
February 10th 3:00 p.m. EST Baltimore Blast vs. Harrisburg Heat
February 15th 7:35 p.m. EST Baltimore Blast at Mississauga Metrostars
February 22nd 7:30 p.m. EST Baltimore Blast vs. Milwaukee Wave
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