Blast's long road to fourth consecutive championship is underway

Posted at 4:11 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 21:52:22-05

The Baltimore Blast are the three-time defending Major Arena Soccer League Champions. 

The road to a fourth straight title is underway and it won't be easy.

"What we have to guard against is complacency or just being comfortable that we've won, that we just expect things to happen," said head coach Danny Kelly. "It gets harder and harder and harder every year."

This year's Blast are three games into their season.

"We got stuff to work on, obviously with a 2-1 record to start, but we're excited with the potential of the team," said captain Tony Donatelli.

Much of the roster returns.

"We're a strong team. We brought a strong group of players back from last team's championship season. We expect to compete again for a championship this year," added Donatelli.

But there are some major changes.

One glaring difference with the Blast this season, on the field and off of it, is for the first time in a long time the name Healey isn't associated with the franchise.

Both veteran defender Pat and his Dad, General Manager Kevin, left Baltimore to join the Harrisburg Heat. Pat became Harrisburg's head coach. Kevin joined the club as president and minority owner. 

The elder had been with the Blast for 20 years. 

So far the transition has been smooth in Baltimore.

"To be honest, it's business as usual," said Kelly. "In professional sports you lose players, you lose front office people and you're still expected to go out and do your job and win and that's what we intend to do."

"It's definitely different. They were a huge part of the success of this franchise for a long time. So, it's a new era," added Donatelli.

One of the guys looked upon to fill the void left by Pat on the field is Mike Deasel. He returns to the team after stepping away to join the Baltimore County Fire Department for a couple years.

He actually returned to the Blast in the middle of last season but suffered an ACL injury.

"Pat being here so long, one of the best players, big shoes to fill," said Deasel. "Going to have to step up into a leadership role being one of the older guys in the back now."

Deasel and the Blast next visit Orlando on Friday night.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook