Saturday, November 03, 2012

Comets Rally From 13 Down to Beat Wichita

The Missouri Comets pulled off a huge comeback in their home opener against the Wichita Wings, coming from 13 down to win 18-15.  Things started off extremely poor for the Comets as they gave up the first 13 points of the game on 6 goals.  The first goal came just over 2 minutes into the game when Andrew Hoxie won a ball in the Comets half of the field and let fly from just outside the 3 point line that beat Danny Waltman high to make it 3-0 early for Wichita.  The Comets had most of the possession after the goal trying to find an equalizer or get within a goal, but the Wings really shut down Missouri in the offensive 3rd keeping them from getting good looks on goal.  Around the halfway point of the quarter the Wings made it 5-0.  Bryan Perez hit a pass off the wall that found former Comets player, Geison Moura in the middle unmarked.  Moura slotted the ball into the net.  The Comets continued to push after the goal but couldn't really find any good opportunities. 

Early in the second quarter, the Wings extended their lead again.  After winning the ball in their own end, Hoxie played the ball over the top to Brady Bryant, who had gotten in behind the Comets defense.  He slotted the ball past Waltman to make it 7-0.  By this point the wins were completely controlling the game.  Waltman had to come up with a few good saves, including one on another former Comet, Tiguinho.  The Comets had some chances of their own, but continued to struggle on finding that final ball.  Then the Wings struck again with just over 6 minutes gone in the quarter.  Leo Gibson was caught in possession on a quick sub by the Wings.  Gibson felt he was fouled but while he looked for a foul call, Coady Andrews was in a 1v3 situation.  The ball made it to Miguel Ferrer, who fed it to Hoxie who had an open net to shot at for his second of the night to make it 9-0.  The performance for the Comets continued to degrade, as with just under 10 minutes gone in the quarter, Tiguinho found need from the right of Waltman's goal after being played in by Frederico Moojen.  Less than a minute later, it was 13-0.  A long ball by goalkeeper Sanaldo Carvalho found Hoxie.  One v one with Ryan Junge, Hoxie turned Junge inside out before firing past Waltman to complete his first half hattrick.

Late in the half, the Comets finally started to really show some signs of life.  With under 2 minutes left in the half the Comets got a goal.  After winning the ball at midfield, the ball was played to Vahid Assadpour.  Assadpour had Byron Alvarez to his right and after getting the defense to commit passed the ball to Alvarez who put the ball into the open net to get the Comets on the board.  The Wings went searching to restore their lead and ended up getting to go onto the power play as Waltman was called for handball outside the box after attempting to come and make a save.  Lucas Rodriguez served the penalty as the Wings had a shootout attempt.  Waltman though came up with a big diving save on Hoxie in the shootout to keep the Wings from scoring any more goals.  Right after the shootout attempt though, the Comets struck on the counter.  As the Wings pushed forwards, Assadpour sprung through their defense after winning the ball.  Assadpour once again drew the defenders before laying the ball off to Gibson who slotted the ball into the net to get the Comets within single digits before half time.

The Comets built on the momentum from the two late goals to carry them into the second half.  Just over two minutes into the 3rd quarter the Comets had another goal.  Will John did a good job of creating space dribbling from the middle to the left of the goal before playing the ball into the middle for John Sosa who slotted the ball into the corner to make it 13-6.  The Comets continued to go searching for goals, but also improved their defense, not falling prey to the counters that had plagued them in the first half.  Things go really crazy late in the 3rd quarter, as the Comets scored 3 goals in quick succession to turn the game on it's head.  With just under 3 minutes left in the half, Alvarez dribbled across the top of the box before firing a shot off the glass at the near post.  Alvarez's shot though went into the middle where Rodriguez headed the ball into the net to make it 13-8.  Twenty seconds later, the Comets were within one 3 pointer.  Sosa won the ball in the Wings end and played a simple ball out wide to John who fired the ball inside the far post to make it 13-10.  With the momentum clearly in their favor they pushed forward again and won a corner only 40 seconds after Rodriguez's goal.  Off the restart, Assadpour laid the ball back to Junge who fired from just inside the 3 point line and into the net to bring the Comets to within a single goal.

Into the fourth quarter the momentum was totally with the Comets as they poured forward looking to take the lead.  They didn't have to wait too long into the fourth before they took the lead.  Milan Ivanovic won the ball well at midfield before playing the ball to Sosa.  Sosa had Alvarez with him, but used him more as a decoy and fired a shot himself from just inside the 3 point like to make it 14-13, giving the Comets their first lead of the game.  The game started to become a more back and forth affair as the Wings really pushed to try to take the lead back.  But with just over 5 minutes remaining in the half, the Comets extended their lead.  After some good work down the right, Assadpour fired a shot towards the back post that Alvarez turned in to give the Comets a 16-13 advantage and 16 points without reply from the Wings.  The pressure at that point completely switched as the Wings were controlling the game after that goal.  They threw numbers forward and brought on the 6th attacker.  With just over a minute left, things got very interesting.  Stefan Stokic was called for a slide tackle from behind in the box.  Stokic was given a blue card and the Wings got a penalty shot.  Moura stepped up and buried the penalty to put the Wings within one point again at 16-15.  The Comets went back to full strength, but with the 6th attacker, the Wings had the advantage.  If not for a huge save from Waltman the Wings would have grabbed the lead with only 13 seconds left.  A nice wall pass off the glass into the box found Hoxie who got a free header that he put towards the far corner.  Waltman though got across the goal very well and tipped away Hoxie's effort to preserve the lead.  Shortly after that, the Wings were called for a 3 line violation that gave the Comets the ball.  Off the restart, Gibson held the ball in the corner killing the game off, but as the ball finally rolled free into the middle of the box, it was Stokic who reacted first firing a rocket past 6th attacker, Chris Lemons and into the net virtually sealing the game at 18-15 with only 1.7 seconds left.  Off the ensuing kickoff, the wall right outside the center circle blocked the Wings shot killing the block and giving the Comets the opening win of the season.

An extremely poor performance in the first half will be overlooked after an extremely strong second half that saw the Comets come from 13 down.  But the early mistakes are something that the Comets are going to have to correct quickly early in this season.

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