The Baltimore Blast jumped out to a 3-0 lead by halftime of last night’s Ron Newman Cup Championship game, but the tide began to turn once play resumed.
Their opponent, the Monterrey Flash, who owned a league-best 20-2 record during the regular season, broke through with a score and played hard-nosed defense that shut out Baltimore. And even though the deficit was back at three early in the fourth quarter, with the score 4-1, it was clear that wouldn’t last for long as the Flash continued to play aggressively. Soon, shots started finding the back of the net.
But the Blast’s signature lockdown defense and the stellar play of goalie William Vanzela were just enough to prevail, 4-3. It was the team’s third straight championship and the 10th in franchise history.
In all three of their most recent championships, the Blast have had to battle; the last two years, those battles often came from behind, with the team somehow mounting comebacks each time during closing minutes of the three-game series that felt nothing short of miraculous.
With a big lead in the new one-game, winner-take-all format, the Blast were firmly in the driver’s seat, which was undoubtedly a more comfortable position than in years past. But they never relented, and as the Flash mounted their assault in the second half, they had to work as hard as they did in the two championships prior.
As Vanzela, who was named MVP of the game, told The Sun‘s Glenn Graham: “That’s heart. It’s not soccer anymore. We had our hearts on the field and we play for each other and that makes the whole difference. We don’t have a No. 1 player, we have a team.”
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