Andriy Demydiv tallied twice for Rochester. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
BALTIMORE, Md. — Any hopes of the Rochester Lancers making the Baltimore Blast sweat for the second consecutive weekend were wiped out as the hosts surged to an early lead en route to a 12-3 victory in Major Arena Soccer League action at SECU Arena on Saturday night.
Juan Pereira, who tallied the winning goal in a 6-5 win over the Lancers last week, Vini Dantas, Tony Donatelli and Jereme Raley led Baltimore with two goals apiece. Jonatas Melo contributed one goal and four assists. The Blast (14-8, .636), in a battle with the idle Harrisburg Heat (12-78, .632) for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, moved into fourth place. Baltimore also swept the season series with the Lancers, 5-0.
Former Webster Schroeder and Monroe Community College standout Andriy Demydiv scored twice and August Finn once for Rochester (0-20).
The Blast rolled to a 6-2 first-quarter advantage it never relinquished. Dantas slipped the ball past goalkeeper Brian Wilkin at 11:09 before Lucas Roque drilled a ball between two Rochester defenders on the left side to double the lead at 4:53 Pereira struck for his first off a rebound at 6:59 before Marco Nascimento put in a rebound at 7:50 and Pereira then slotted one home from the near left post for a five-goal lead at 10:04.
The Lancers, however, refused to wilt, striking twice within a 46-second span as a Baltimore clearance deflected off Finn’s stomach at 12:01 before Demydiv tallied off a counterattack past goalkeeper William Vanzela at 12:47. The hosts, however, found the range again behind Raley with 21 seconds remaining in the period.
In a complete contrast to the opening quarter in which eight goals lit up the scoreboard, the teams combined for two in the next period — Wilkin made four superb saves — and they were tallied in the final 42 seconds. First, Demydiv connected against off yet another counterattack with 42 seconds left before Donatelli scored from long range with 20 seconds to go in the half for a 7-3 lead.
Baltimore pulled away in the third quarter as Dantas (2:25) and Donatelli (5:18) scored power-play goals to grab a 9-3 margin. Former Rochester Lancer and Rhino Andrew Hoxie (9:12) and Raley (11:38) also contributed goals in the period.
Melo scored the lone goal in the final quarter at 8:34.
The Lancers return home to host their final two matches this season at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. next weekend. They host the division-leading Florida Tropics on Friday, March 6 and then the Kansas City Comets on Saturday, March 7 in what will be veteran Gary Boughton’s final home game before he retires. Both contests kick off at 7 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at RLancers.com and at the Dome Arena on game day.