Tag Archives: Akira Fitzgerald

Wave Takes Game 1 of Championship Series

Yeah.

Prior to tonight’s game, I asked head coach Danny Kelly about his preference for playing the second game of the two-game championship series on the road. He had a perfectly good explanation about only wanting to have to travel once and going into the second game with that edge of having won the first game.

Of course. You have to actually win the first game, and the Blast didn’t do that, losing to a Wave that looked like they were playing an awfully similar game as the one they played in last year’s finals. Milwaukee finished with a similar outcome too, winning 14-2 in front of 6,072 Blast fans at 1st Mariner Arena.

“They scored the first goal and from there they were just sitting back and defending and countering like they did last year in the final, and both times so far it’s worked,” said team captain Mike Lookingland. “So we’ve got to figure out a way to score some of those goals and finish those chances, break that down. They’re sitting back and defending really well right now so I give [Milwaukee head coach] Keith Tozer a lot of credit. The last two years in the final, he’s switched things up on us. And it’s worked. If they play like that we’ve got to figure it out, and if they play straight up then we’re fine. … During the regular season, they didn’t do that to us, so I think Tozer does that for a reason.”

No one scored until about halfway through the first quarter, when Milwaukee’s Rookie of the Year finalist Nick Perera scored a hard shot from the right, tallying three points on the assist from Ian Bennett. And that goal was the only scoring for the quarter, as the Wave defense blocked shot after shot (six in all), keeping the Blast’s tally at 0.

A minute and a half into the second quarter, Ricardinho made a quick two-pointer off an assist from Machel Millwood. While we were watching that, we didn’t notice that Sagu was down on the ground after what appeared to be a bad landing. The trainer came out, and backup Akira Fitzgerald did some sweet yoga on the sideline, but Sagu got back up and soldiered on. Bad. Ass. With about 10 minutes left in the quarter, Milwaukee’s Marcio Leite tore down the field and scored an unassisted two-pointer from the right. A few minutes later, after the restart, Fabinho Ribeiro made a shot at the goal, which was blocked, but Leite took the rebound and nudged it past Pat Healey, who put up a valiant effort at keeping it out of the net. At the end of the first half, Milwaukee had recorded 10 blocks while the Blast recorded only two.

Maybe it was the Dropkick Murphys (who ALMOST make me like St. Patrick’s Day) on the PA system at the beginning of the first half, or maybe a certain coach lit a little fire under some asses, but the Blast came out fighting like drunk Irishmen in a bar. Literally. Milwaukee veteran Joe Hammes and Millwood got into it, landing them both in the penalty box for five minutes each for severe unsportsmanlike conduct. Awesome. Things also got chippy on the Baltimore bench with Carlos Garcia and Warren Ukah apparently exchanging words and having to be separated. Hm.

But the Blast were unable to harness the energy to turn it into something positive, with Leite again making an unassisted goal for a hat trick just over eight minutes in. Just seconds later, former Blast defender Jonathan Greenfield scored on a pass from Marco Terminisi.

With the score at 11-2 and eight minutes and 10 seconds left in the game, Kelly put in Mike Lookingland as the sixth attacker, and with just over two minutes left, Milwaukee’s Josh Rife (who got a haircut and was sans sweatband), found the unattended net with a three-pointer. And that was pretty much it for the Blast.

“We finish our chances, and it’s a different game,” Kelly said. “You must maintain your discipline, your focus, no matter what’s going on. As the game wore on, we started to play the score instead of the game. We started doing things that we know we’re not supposed to do.”

Now the Blast will head to Milwaukee to take on the Wave Sunday at 4 p.m. In order to win the championship, they must win both Sunday’s game and the 15-minute mini game that will follow immediately after.

“We’ve got two more games left,” Millwood said. “[I tell my teammates] to keep your heads up. The way we’re looking at it now, it’s a three-game series. If we can go in there and get the win, then we’re in overtime. I have confidence in us.”

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Sucks to Be Norfolk

Rookie goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald made eight saves to hold the Norfolk SharX to only four points on two goals in Wednesday night's 26-4 victory at 1st Mariner Arena. (Photo Courtesy of the Baltimore Blast)

I know, I’m Captain Obvious, right?

But really. Sucks to be Norfolk big time. I mean, holy crap, I wasn’t able to make it to the game tonight, so tell me, if you were there, what’s the deal? Are the Norfolk SharX packing it in? Are they really that bad? Or are the Blast just really that good? What is going on?

Because the Blast beat the SharX, 26-4, tonight to earn the MISL Eastern Division title (giving them home-field advantage for the division game), bringing them to 14-4 on the season and dropping Norfolk to 3-16. That’s 11.5 games out of first place. I’m not gloating though, because I feel for them. In fact, here’s an SAT-style analogy for you. Norfolk SharX:MISL Eastern Division::Baltimore Orioles:AL East.

So, yes, the Blast had what can only be described as an offensive onslaught tonight. (And yes, I probably should have put Carlos Garcia or Machel Millwood over here on my left <——- but Akira Fitzgerald is just so freaking cute, isn’t he? And last time he played, I posted a picture of my sweet hangman skillz instead.)

Wow, ADHD much tonight? OK. Seven players scored for the Blast tonight, led by Garcia and Millwood. Garcia found the back of the net four times, and Millwood notched a hat trick and an assist. Rookie J.T. Noone scored twice, and Shaun David, Mike Lookingland, and Max Ferdinand each contributed goals. Rookie Nicki Paterson did as well, begging the question — Danny Kelly, why aren’t we seeing him on the field more often?

Just sayin’.

ANYWAY, good game, boys. Pats on the butt to all of you.

***

In other news, the Milwaukee Wave also clinched a playoff spot this weekend. Yeah, it’s going down.

By the way, Sagu, who was given a rest tonight, was named MISL Goalkeeper of the Month today. He was also November goalkeeper of the month. Too bad he didn’t earn the nod in December to keep up his chances of sweeping the whole thing.

***

In other, other news, the Blast’s next home game is February 18 against the Milwaukee Wave, and it’s breast cancer awareness night. I don’t want to start any political conversations here, so I won’t say much, but if you’re unhappy that the Susan G. Komen Foundation is defunding Planned Parenthood, check it out.

***

And P.S. I am starting a non-soccer blog sometime soon for those of you who are interested in reading more of my random musings. If you are, help me think of a clever name for it, because my witty hat is nowhere to be found.

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BL_ST WI_!

Can you solve this Baltimore sports-themed puzzle? I did. "Wheel of Fortune," here I come.

What looked like it may be a predictable game against the Norfolk SharX before 5,764 at 1st Mariner Arena did indeed have a predictable result but it came with some rather unpredictable twists and turns along the way. However, the Baltimore Blast prevailed, defeating the SharX, 18-10, and improving to 12-4.

Head coach Danny Kelly decided to give starter Sagu a rest tonight, and Baltimorean rookie Akira Fitzgerald got his first start at home. I’m wondering, though, if he got a bit bored in the first quarter, since the Blast dominated possession of the ball and the Norfolk SharX only got a whopping two shots on goal.

Veteran Carlos Garcia got scoring started for the Blast, finding the back of the net on an assist from Warren Ukah. Less than a minute later, forward Machel Millwood followed up, practically mini-punting the ball into Norfolk’s goal. A few minutes later, the Blast continued their battery, this time with J.T. Noone scoring off a pass from Max Ferdinand.

Fitzgerald made a couple of nice saves in the second quarter, and no one scored for almost 10 minutes, so the Baltimore Sun’s Glenn Graham and I played a rousing game of Baltimore sports hangman. I won, of course. I always win. I’m a winner. Then captain Mike Lookingland scored on a rekick, the ball tapped over to him from Ferdinand, and I started paying attention again because Mike Lookingland is a winner too. And after a short injury timeout for Fitzgerald, SharX forward Matthew Delicate scored on an assist from Tennant McVea before the half ended.

Just 31 seconds into the first half, Ferdinand scored off an assist from veteran Adauto Neto. Three and a half minutes later, Norfolk seemed to find more of a rhythm, managing their second goal, a hard-shot three-pointer authored by Miguel Ferrer on an assist from Gary Brooks. Shortly after, McVea scored off an assist from Matt Clare. But the Blast widened the margin again, when Noone scored his second goal, this time off an assist from Ukah, who tore up the field with the ball before making the pass.

And then things got very interesting. A mere 19 seconds into the fourth quarter, Norfolk’s Brian Hinkey was penalized two minutes for tripping, and the Blast capitalized with Neto scoring a power play goal on an assist from Lookingland. Things started to get chippier when Norfolk’s Andrew Marshall was penalized for boarding, and Fitzgerald was penalized for a handball outside of the box. With Garcia serving the in the box for him, Fitzgerald faced Brooks in a shootout. Rookie Stephen DeRoux wasn’t about to let Brooks score though, coming up behind Brooks and tackling him T-Sizzle style from behind. The refs called it tripping. I call it a sack.

Brooks got another chance at the shootout, and Fitzgerald made a spectacular save and then another with only three Blast players defending against four SharX. Confusing, I know. Basically everyone started taking cheap shots and then played shorthanded for a little while until all three power plays were killed.

A few minutes later, Millwood scored his second goal of the game off a pass from Noone. Neto was penalized for supposedly pushing after that; I didn’t see it, because I was watching Fitzgerald make another great save. However, the SharX missed yet another shootout attempt, with Delicate finding the post instead of the net. Still, with Neto in the box, Norfolk’s Cecil Lewis scored a three-point power play goal. But Baltimore answered back with Lookingland scoring his second goal off another assist from Ukah.

“The biggest thing is just to stay steady mentally,” Fitzgerald said. “Going through games, you’re going to have those ups and downs, and you can’t let your ups get you too high or your downs get you too low. You have to move on to the next situation and if you make a mistake, having a short-term memory. It doesn’t matter what game you’re in. You just have to deal with it that way.”

Things seemed to calm down for a few minutes, but then Lewis earned a blue card for holding on Adriano Dos Santos. As the power play wound down with the clock, Norfolk killed the power play, but not for much, as they dropped to 3-14 on the season.

Well…it’s like my dad always told me as I was growing up watching the Orioles — bad things happen to bad teams.

And if you want to see a good team named the Baltimore Blast, be here tomorrow for the matchup against the Rochester Lancers.

“Rochester, they’re ahead of Syracuse right now,” said Lookingland. “We’re definitely pushing ahead in the conference, but it’s a huge game for them and it’s a huge game for us. If we win a quick two games, we can maybe clinch a spot [in the playoffs] here soon.”

***

I just want to go on record here and say that I was for realz impressed with the little bouncy jump-roping kids that performed during halftime. I liked that halftime show way better than the Medieval Times one.

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What Up, 2012?

Akira Fitzgerald, Scott Buete and Mike Deasel (from left to right) had mad style at the Blast fan club holiday party.

Yes, it’s true. I’ve survived the holidays. I managed to not get buried under a mountain of cookies although I did get buried under quite a bit of work and neglected my blogging duties. So…sorry.

But here I am! Spending my New Year’s Day hungover and watching the Twilight Zone marathon. God I love this crap. Yes, I’m very cool.

They’re showing the one right now where they’re trying to fix this woman’s face because she’s so hideous that children scream when they see her. And when they take off the bandages, she’s this beautiful woman and everyone else around her looks like hideous pigs.

Sometimes I feel like that. Except that usually I just feel like I’m sane and everyone else is insane…or is it the other way around?

Aaaanyway. So I hope you all enjoyed your holidays. I know I did. I also enjoyed the Blast fan club holiday party (thanks for having me). Even despite the fact that one of the fans called me fat. That’s right guy, I haven’t forgotten. But in the spirit of Christmas, I forgive you. I did some awesome sauce holiday interviews but I’m not sure that they’re quite seasonable anymore. Any interest in reading these still?

So 2012 is off to a great start. This was a fantastic sports weekend to be a Baltimore sports fan. The Ravens are the AFC North champs after beating the Cincinnati Bengals, and only one day after the Blast closed out the year defeating their bitter rivals, the Milwaukee Wave, 9-4, on the road on New Year’s Eve day.

Holla.

The Wave got on the board first, scoring twice in the first quarter. But that’s the last they would score. Max Ferdinand scored the first goal for the Blast before the end of the first quarter, and then followed up with an assist to J.T. Noone that the rookie converted into a goal to even the score. Newcomer Stephen DeRoux added a goal, and Pat Healey contributed a three-pointer.

At 8-3, the Blast continue to maintain their hold on first place in the MISL Eastern Division. Baltimore returns to 1st Mariner Arena Friday for the first game in a weekend doubleheader. The Blast will host the Syracuse Silver Knights Friday and the Rochester Lancers Saturday.

And now it’s time for me to go to bed and sleep off the rest of this hangover. Yes, it’s only 9 p.m. Yes, I’m very cool.

Happy New Year!

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Presents All Around!

Machel Millwood

Machel Millwood currently leads the Blast with 30 points on 10 goals and seven assists. (Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Blast)

At least one Baltimore team didn’t let me down this weekend.

The Blast came away victorious Sunday, maintaining their perfect road record with a 19-8 win over the Norfolk SharX. It was an afternoon for multiple-goal games, with veteran Machel Millwood notching a hat trick, along with someone named Matthew Delicate — ha ha, really? — for Norfolk.

But the SharX attack wasn’t enough to compete with the Blast, who also saw a pair of goals each from Shaun David, Carlos Garcia and Pat Healey.

Bam!

Also notable — rookie goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald (the cutest vegan this side of the Chesapeake) played his first game for the Blast. Out of 12 shots on goal, he had eight saves.

The Blast play again the afternoon before New Year’s Eve in Milwaukee. Haha, that sucks. Milwaukee, what an awful place. But I guess it’s better than finishing out the year in Omaha.

And it is the first time the Blast will see their longtime rivals this season. Any predictions?

***

In other news, former Blast player Adrian Bumbut recently held his charitable soccer clinic that I was telling you about back when I was campaigning for your love and affection. I am happy to report — it was a success! For more on info on Bumbut’s work and to contribute, visit his Care for Africa page on Facebook.

***

And it wouldn’t be Christmas time if I weren’t enjoying my favorite Christmas movie. So here’s a gift from me to you. And in particular, enjoy the incredible crassness of the moment when we try to squeeze an extra syllable into the fourth line.

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Young Blood

Has J.T. Noone even hit puberty yet? (Photo Courtesy of the Baltimore Blast)

So when I started covering the Baltimore Blast, I was 22 years old, and I was younger than pretty much all the players. Now they’re signing guys who are 22, and that kind of weirds me out. I mean, the next thing we know, they’re going to be signing players that were born in the 90s! Children!

The Blast announced today that they have supplemented their roster further, adding three players, one old and two young new. Forward Adriano Dos Santos adds depth to the roster after having played two games with the Blast during the 2009-2010 season. The Blast also added two more players, 23-year-old J.T. Noone and 22-year-old Mike Deasel (no really, those are their real names).

Noone, who played the last two seasons for the USL Harrisburg Islanders is a midfielder out of Temple University. Defender Deasel, a local product played for Loyola Blakefield and later for Loyola College. Like fellow recent signee Akira Fitzgerald, Deasel came up through the Baltimore Bays. Deasel is making his professional debut this season.

Like Deasel, I am making my debut (how’s that for a segue) in this year’s Mobbies! Look under the Best Sports Blog category and track our progress. Vote daily! Have you placed your vote yet today? (No, not for School of Roch, for me.)

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Eat Some Candy and Vote for Me!

Adrian Bumbut as Bob Marley and Scott Buete as...wait, why didn't Scott dress up for Halloween? (Photo Courtesy Adrian Bumbut's Cellphone)

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you got your candies and your scares and enjoyed the official end-of-the-rest-of-the-year-before-Christmas-season-starts. Not that I’m complaining. I like my Christmas Pandora station just as much as I like my Halloween Pandora station. (But neither as much as my Lil Wayne station.)

What did you dress up as? I dressed up as struggling writer.

Anyway, as advertised, the voting for the Mobbies opened today! So…

VOTE HERE!! VOTE VOTE VOTE FOR ME (us)!!

You’ll have to sign in or make a log-in to the Sun’s website, but it’s free and only takes approximately 30 seconds. You can vote once a day in my category – Best Sports Blog.

Vooooooooote!

And just know that I’m going to annoy you a lot via Facebook and the Twitter. Aaaand maybe in your inbox if I have your e-mail address. Sorry in advance, except not really.

***

In legitimate soccer news, the Blast announced today that they have signed Ptah Myers, perhaps just to prove me wrong when I said Akira Fitzgerald has the best name ever. I mean, Ptah sounds like a pharoah or something, right? If that’s not intimidating, I don’t know what is.

Myers is a veteran midfielder, and you probably recognize his name from his seven seasons with the now defunct Philadelphia KiXX. He spent last season with the Chicago Riot and also coaches the Philadelphia men’s soccer team.

This is a nice pickup for the Blast, whose veteran presence on the roster took a hit with the departures of Robbie Aristodemo, Pat Morris, Giuliano Celenza, and Billy Nelson.

***

Finally, big shoutout to my buddy Adrian “DJ B” Bumbut, who is taking time out of his busy schedule to support Care for Africa, a charitable organization working to aid the efforts in easing the pain caused by drought and famine in east Africa.

Bumbut is holding a soccer clinic to raise money to send help to Somalia. The clinic will be held December 14 at 7:30 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air. For more information, and to support Bumbut’s efforts, visit Care for Africa’s facebook page.

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Eat Some Candy and Vote for Me!

Adrian Bumbut as Bob Marley and Scott Buete as...wait, why didn't Scott dress up for Halloween? (Photo Courtesy Adrian Bumbut's Cellphone)

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you got your candies and your scares and enjoyed the official end-of-the-rest-of-the-year-before-Christmas-season-starts. Not that I’m complaining. I like my Christmas Pandora station just as much as I like my Halloween Pandora station. (But neither as much as my Lil Wayne station.)

What did you dress up as? I dressed up as struggling writer.

Anyway, as advertised, the voting for the Mobbies opened today! So…

VOTE HERE!! VOTE VOTE VOTE FOR ME (us)!!

You’ll have to sign in or make a log-in to the Sun’s website, but it’s free and only takes approximately 30 seconds. You can vote once a day in my category – Best Sports Blog.

Vooooooooote!

And just know that I’m going to annoy you a lot via Facebook and the Twitter. Aaaand maybe in your inbox if I have your e-mail address. Sorry in advance, except not really.

***

In legitimate soccer news, the Blast announced today that they have signed Ptah Myers, perhaps just to prove me wrong when I said Akira Fitzgerald has the best name ever. I mean, Ptah sounds like a pharoah or something, right? If that’s not intimidating, I don’t know what is.

Myers is a veteran midfielder, and you probably recognize his name from his seven seasons with the now defunct Philadelphia KiXX. He spent last season with the Chicago Riot and also coaches the Philadelphia men’s soccer team.

This is a nice pickup for the Blast, whose veteran presence on the roster took a hit with the departures of Robbie Aristodemo, Pat Morris, Giuliano Celenza, and Billy Nelson.

***

Finally, big shoutout to my buddy Adrian “DJ B” Bumbut, who is taking time out of his busy schedule to support Care for Africa, a charitable organization working to aid the efforts in easing the pain caused by drought and famine in east Africa.

Bumbut is holding a soccer clinic to raise money to send help to Somalia. The clinic will be held December 14 at 7:30 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bel Air. For more information, and to support Bumbut’s efforts, visit Care for Africa’s facebook page.

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Akira and the B(last)

Akira Fitzgerald

Coolest named Blast player ever? (Courtesy Wake Forest/Baltimore Blast)

Yeah, I went there. Horrible punny (unfunny) title, and I didn’t even see that movie. I hope someone out there figures out where I was going with that. OK, enough of that.

Anyway, the Baltimore Blast announced earlier this week that they have signed local goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald. The 24-year-old Baltimorean grew up attending Blast games and developed as a young player with Kevin Healey’s Baltimore Bays.

Fitzgerald, who graduated from Loyola Blakefield, went on to play college soccer at Wake Forest, where he won an NCAA championship in 2007 and earned All-ACC accolades multiple times. He spent the summer playing alongside Matt Watson for the regular season NASL champion Carolina RailHawks.

“It’s my first season playing indoor, so a lot of things are new to me, but the first thing I’ve noticed is that the guys are just so helpful,” Fitzgerald said. “They’ll explain the game to you; there are so many different rules I never knew about, and they’ll help you out there. During the games and stuff like that, they’ll talk you through it. That’s been real helpful to make the transition a lot easier.”

Fitzgerald will back up veteran keeper Sagu, entering his ninth indoor season. What’s he looking forward to most?

“Just the opportunity to get better every day and train in such a good environment with such good pros,” Fitzgerald said. “And hopefully if I can get in some games that’ll be great, it’ll be a bonus, but just bettering myself each day and making sure my team gets better every day.”

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Voting for the Mobbies begins MONDAY! Halloween, so don’t forget it. If you vote for me, you’ll make my life. I may even buy you some candy corn. Everyone likes candy corn. (OK, so I’m informed every year that not everyone likes candy corn, but if you don’t like candy corn, that’s just…well I don’t know, maybe you just haven’t had it in so long you forgot how delicious it is. And festive.)

Look how excited Ugly Betty was when she won a Blobby for her blog. I’m just like Ugly Betty, just without the sunshine-y outlook on life.

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