Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comets End Regular Season with Big Win

The Missouri Comets closed out the regular season today against the Milwaukee Wave at the Independence Events Center. After the events of Friday where the two teams ended the game in a shoving match, everything was lined up for an extremely physical game. That did not disappoint either, as the two teams combined for 13 blue cards today. The Comets though used the Wave penalties to their advantage, going 4 of 5 on the day while the Wave went 1 for 4.

Things got off to a rocky start for the Comets though, as less than 6 minutes in, Stefan Stokic was sent to the box for a tripping penalty. The Wave took advantage of the penalty as Giuliano Oliveiro finished off an opportunity from Hewerton, when he crossed the ball into the box and Oliveiro, who five holed Boris Pardo, who was getting his first start of the season. Two minutes later, the Wave doubled their lead. This time, Oliveiro played set up man as he fed Jonathan Greenfield who fired in a shot that beat Pardo to the far post.

By this point, the Comets looked to be going through the motions, without Vahid Assadpour, Tiguinho, Leo Gibson (who was actually red carded at the end of the game Friday), and Ryan Junge, the team just didn't seem to be there. Combine that with the fact that this game meant nothing and you could almost understand.

The game though continued to get physical and shortly after the Wave went up 4-0, we got some 4v4 soccer. Brian Harris was shielding a ball back to Pardo when he was fouled by Oliveiro. Harris took exception to the foul and immediately got up and pushed Oliveiro earning both players blue cards. Neither team was able to capitalize on the wide open field, but during that play, the Comets seemed to finally wake up. Shortly after the 4v4 situation, the Comets found themselves on the power play as Evan McNeley was given a blue card for tripping. The Comets took advantage of the man advantage, as Geison played a ball to the back side. Byron Alvarez connected with a header, putting it onto the bar and off of Milwaukee goalkeeper Nick Vorberg. The ball bounced onto the line and Alvarez pounced on it first making it 4-2.

Things continued to get out of hand as the quarter was drawing to a close. Neto had words with Greenfield after they both collided running for the ball. After their words, Neto was making a run, and Josh Rife stuck out a foot, tripping the Comets forward. The Comets pressed on the power play, and finally tied the game up. Once again it was the Geison to Alvarez combination. Geison found Alavarez at the back post with a cutting pass that Alvarez blasted in from a yard out to tie the game with 1.5 seconds left in the quarter.

The second quarter continued the physical and rough play as just a minute in, there was 4v4 soccer again as John Sosa and Marcio Leiti both got sent to the box for pushing. The Comets grabbed the lead just over 6 minutes into the game. Pardo collected a weak shot by the Wave and played an immediate ball to Stokic at Missouri's yellow line. Stokic then dribbled the length of the floor before firing a shot past Vorberg and into the net giving the Comets their first lead.

The Wave became the ones that really pushed the game from that point, pressuring the Comets and pushing their thing bench. The high pressure almost paid off late in the quarter. After Pardo got caught out of net, the Comets gave the ball away and Leite tried to ship the Comets keeper, Pardo got his hands up and knocked the ball down, but the problem was that Pardo wasn't back in the box yet. Pardo was whistled for a hand ball and the Wave had a shootout attempt. Pardo though came up big on the shootout attempt stopping Leite and then the Comets were able to kill off the power play.

With less than a minute left in the half, the Comets again found themselves on the power play. Hewerton this time was sent to the box. The Comets weren't able to capitalize before the end of the half, but early in the third quarter, the Comets again paid off and once again it was Geison to Alvarez. Geison played a ball to himself off the wall and then fired a ball to the back post where Alvarez was there once again to tap the ball in giving the Comets the 8-4 lead. Just over a minute later, the Comets made it 10-4. Pardo again played a quick ball to Stokic who again went the length of the floor, this time Vorberg saved his shot, but Geison was there this time to follow and make it a 6 point lead for the Comets.

Things went and got worse for the Wave, as Marco Terminesi was sent to the box for holding as Bato Radoncic got in behind the defense. Once again, the Comets capitalized on the power play and for the fourth time it was Geison to Alvarez. This time Geison played in a cross in the air that Alvarez met with a diving header to make it 12-4. At this point, Missouri was up by as many as they were at the same time on Friday. It became a question of whether Missouri had learned anything from the performance on Friday. About the midpoint of the quarter, the Wave cut the lead back to 6 as Oliveiro finished off his second of the game and for a split second people had to think "oh no here we go again."

Instead though the Comets came back and restored their 8 point lead. This time it was Neto finishing off a chance. His original 3 pointer was saved, but Bato was there, collected the rebound. Bato's first chance was blocked, he then picked out Neto who buried his chance and it was 14-6. The physicality continued though, and the Comets found themselves down a man again. Neto had fouled a Wave player. The player took exception to it and got in Neto's face. Missouri's big defender, Cristiano stepped up for his teammate and received a blue card for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Comets held the power play off though and ended the quarter up 14-6.

The fourth quarter saw the Comets build on their lead. First was Alvarez getting his 5th goal of the game, the first not on a power play. Alvarez led a fast break and was looking to return a favor from earlier goals as he tried to feed Geison. The pass though was blocked by a Wave defender and rolled into the net as Vorberg had committed himself to the pass. With Alvarez at the yellow line when he played the pass, it was a 3 point goal making it 17-6. At this point, the Wave made an interesting decision and went with the 6th attacker very early. The reason for this probably has to do with the playoffs approaching. With the playoffs, around the corner, if the Wave were facing a situation similar to this in the playoffs, they'd need to do this again so getting practice in a real game that means little is a big bonus to the Wave. The Comets though took advantage of it shortly after they made the change. Another quick outlet from Pardo found Coady Andrews who raced down the side. He fired a shot into the middle that got turned in by Neto to make it 19-6.

The Wave continued to pull the 6th attacker in and out of the game depending on the situation for the majority of the rest of the half. About halfway through though, the Comets made it 21-6, with Alvarez again finding the net off a pass from Harris. The Wave finally killed a power play, but that seemed to have a lot more to do with the Comets not really attacking than the Wave's defense. The Comets as well had one more penalty to kill after Alvarez picked up a 4th foul in the half and had to sit. But the Comets killed the game off and will go into the playoffs on a high with the 21-6 win, as the Comets scored 21 of the last 23 points in the game.

1 comment:

Bill said...

What a great game, minus the first nine minutes of the first quarter, yesterday. When I saw who the Comets were rolling out there yesterday I thought for sure they were going to take the L.

It was great to see guys like Neto, Cody Andrews and even Stokic step up and play well to fill in for a lot of missing key players. I also thought Boris played awesome in his first start this season. That could not have been easy.

I got on Stokic after his foul set up the Wave's first goal, but it was great to see him respond with that run to set up the go-ahead goal. Best play he has made this season.

I also thought the Wave screwed themselves making it physical. It was clear the Comets weren't in it at all to start with. Once the Wave got chippy though it seemed to ignite a fire in them.