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Blast prepares for conference finals, forced to play remaining games on the road

Baltimore visits Milwaukee this weekend after finding out there will be no more home field advantage in playoffs
Baltimore Blast
Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-18 17:35:22-04

BALTIMORE — For the first time in four years the Baltimore Blast is in the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Conference Finals.

"I feel we’re back where we belong," said midfielder Jonatas Melo.

"It’s always good to be rewarded, to get to this place. This is time. This is time," added head coach David Bascome.

The Blast is set to take on Milwaukee this weekend in the Ron Newman Cup Semifinals. The Wave is the top seed in the East. Baltimore is No. 2.

The Blast won the season’s only meeting between the two teams, 11-3, back in February.

"[Milwaukee] is a proud franchise. This is a rivalry team. We’re going to get a good game," said Bascome.

"We know it’s not going to be easy. But they also know that we’re prepared. So, good games to come," said goalie William Vanzela, who led the MASL with a .790 save percentage in the regular season.

The Blast will be rested. By the time kickoff arrives on Friday they’ll have 13 days between games. That's eight more than Milwaukee.

"It’s going to help us to be on the field with the best 16 [players] we could possibly put out there," said Vanzela.

"We definitely needed this rest. But at the beginning of the week now we are trying to get our speed of play back, playing a lot so we can get to the game ready to go," said Melo.

This won’t be your typical playoff series for the Blast. The club announced on Tuesday that because of a scheduling issue, they have to play the remainder of the postseason on the road.

Their home field, SECU Arena, is unavailable. Blast owner Ed Hale said in a statement the team tried to find alternative solutions to play in Baltimore but were unsuccessful.

The Baltimore Blast has announced that it will play its next playoff series on April 21 and 23, with both games being played on the road.

Due to the lack of availability at Towson’s SECU Arena and other venues in the area, we will play the remainder of the playoffs as an away team.

We delayed our announcement and attempted to find alternative solutions but ultimately were unsuccessful.

We are disappointed that we must play away from the best fans in indoor soccer.

Despite the unforeseen circumstances, Coach Bascome and the entire team are prepared to play with passion and drive and will bring home a win for Baltimore.

We look forward to returning in December to play in front of our amazing Baltimore community.

-Ed Hale, Blast Owner

"We want to play at home. Definitely. That's bad. But there is nothing you can do," said Melo. "So, us as players, once you find out there is nothing you can do, you’ve got to move on."

"At the end of the day, if you want to win a championship you must win on the road," said Bascome. "Yes, we would love to have a home game. We would love to because it’s going to be a tough challenge. But we’re up for it."

Game one is set for Friday night at 7:35 p.m. Game 2 is on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook