Home hadn’t been kind to the Comets during their return season at the Independence Events Center this year. Too many times, the Comets took leads into the fourth quarter, only to see the lead disappear, ending in heartache for the team and their fans. This time around it was the Comets’ turn, trailing the Chicago Riot 7-2 with 9 ½ minutes to play, making the improbable comeback to win 9-7 Sunday afternoon at the IEC.
The first half consisted of two goals, one by each team – all in the first period. Chicago’s Eric Lukin got the scoring started with a goal at the 3:28 mark. The Comets tied the game 2-2 a minute and a half later with a goal by Leo Gibson, his 12th of the season with an assist by Jamar Beasley.
The third period scoring belonged to the Riot on a 3 point power play goal by Nivi Marojevic after a 2 minute tripping penalty on the Comets’ Vahid Assadpour. End of 3rd quarter score: Riot 5, Comets 2.
The 4th quarter began with another power play goal by the Riot, after a 2 minute penalty by the Comets for too many men on the field. Comets’ defender Casey Barton let an errant ball pass right in front of the goal to the Riot’s Miki Djerisilo, who quickly deposited into the back of the net to give the Riot a 7-2 lead. At the 5:31 mark, the Comets were awarded a penalty kick after a tripping-in-the-box foul was called. Byron Alvarez sent a rocket shot past Riot keeper, Jeff Richey, and pulled the Comets to within three points.
The Riot would then get served with two 2 minute penalties: the first for having too many men on the field and the second when Riot head coach, Jeff Kraft, came onto the field to argue the call with the referees. With only two seconds left in the 2-man advantage, Vahid Assadpour hit a much-needed 3 point goal from the right side to tie the game at 7-7. With three minutes left in the game, it was Alvarez again, this time pulling the ball back then lifting it with his toe into the upper corner of the goal, giving the Comets the lead for good at 9-7. The goal, Alvarez’s 24th of the season and 58th points, puts him alone atop the MISL scoring leader board. The final two minutes of the game included an ejection by the Riot’s Fred Degand for dissent. The Riot as a team tallied four yellow cards for the game to go along with Degand’s red card.
It was another exceptional game by Comets’ goalkeeper, Danny Waltman. Waltman saved the day for the Comets on numerous occasions throughout the game and ended with 21 saves on the day.
The win brings the Comets’ record to 5-11 and into 4th place in the MISL, 1 ½ games behind Omaha for the third and final playoff spot. The Comets’ next game is a pivotal one, this Friday, February 25th against the Omaha Riot at the Independence Events Center, complete with a special Mascot Game at halftime. A Comets win would pull the team to within a half game of the final playoff spot.
The Comets players played in special pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer. Afterwards, the jerseys were auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Tickets: Comet single game tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com. Groups and youth soccer teams can also “Play Like the Comets” on the field before every Comets home game. For Comets group tickets, call 816-478-BALL. For all the latest Comets news and information, visit www.cometsindoorsoccer.com.