From the Comets
Fans at the US Cellular Arena were treated to a match between two powerhouse teams this afternoon. The Missouri Comets, coming off 2 straight wins against Wichita, and the defending champion Milwaukee Wave battled into overtime for the winner of this early season game. Down by as much as 11-7, the Comets came back, scoring the equalizing goal with :33 seconds left in regulation. They completed the comeback two and a half minutes into overtime and will go home 13-11 victors.
Ask any player on the Missouri Comets’ roster and they all have very high expectations for this season. Today’s match against the Milwaukee Wave was looked at as the first big challenge to those expectations. The first quarter proved how close these two teams were as they battled back and forth throughout the quarter. The league’s best team on restarts a year ago, The Milwaukee Wave got things going early with a restart goal from Joe Hammes 10 minutes into the quarter. Byron Alvarez answered 2 minutes later with a goal from Coady Andrews and the period ended 2-2.
Coach Kim Roentved instituted a high-pressure offense in the second quarter that threw the Wave off their game early. Several miscues and giveaways gave the Comets many chances, but Wave goalkeeper, Marcel Feenstra, was able to get in front of every shot. Brian Harris was able to convert 9 minutes into the game for the 4-2 lead. However, the Wave solved the high pressure and got goals from rookie Luan Sales Oliveira (a 3 pointer) and Pablo just before halftime. At the break the Comets found themselves down 7-4.
Comebacks are not a new thing for Missouri this season, after spotting early leads in both of their matches so far. Knowing that Wave coach Keith Tozer’s knack for making halftime adjustments, the Comets sat back at the start of the third quarter to see how the Wave attack would form. As the Wave attacked down the middle of the field, Ryan Junge snuck out to the corner and fired a shot from the three point arc that traveled all the way along the wall and in. The tied score would not last however; Jonatan Santos beat Comets’ goalkeeper, Danny Waltman moments later and the Wave still had the lead 9-7, when the quarter ended.
Fourth quarter magic has been the team’s mantra all season. They will fight to the end, and nearly did when a pushing match erupted at the benches. When the ruckus was sorted out, both teams were a man down, playing four-on-four soccer. The Wave’s Feenstra found Jonathan Santos behind the Comets defense and he was able to beat Waltman, putting the Comets down 11-7. The Comets roared back though and controlled play throughout the remainder of the quarter. Captain Vahid Assadpour found Byron Alvarez at the post on a restart and Will John tied it up with 33 seconds remaining.
In overtime the Comets gave up a top-of-the-arc free kick only 35 seconds in and the fans in attendance were hoping for a quick end to the “sudden-death” period. They were disappointed however as the Comets defense came up big, blocking any shot the Wave had at the goal. Moments later Missouri defender Cristiano blew a hole in his shoe defending against the Wave offensive pressure. Coady Andrews quickly subbed in and found himself all alone at the midfield stripe. Luckily Alvarez saw him and hurriedly passed the ball to the streaking Andrews. With only Feenstra to beat he touched the ball just to the side of the sliding goalkeeper and easily put the ball in the net, capping the Comets third straight win, 13-11.
Missouri returns home to the Independence Events Center on Friday night, November 16th at 7:35pm to face the visiting Syracuse Silver Knights. It is Blue Out Night and fans are encouraged to wear their Comets Blue as they root on their hometown team.