The Missouri Comets took care of business today at the Independence Events Center and moved won step closer to winning the I-35 Series with their rivals the Wichita Wings. With their 24-11 win today, the Comets now lead the series this year 3-1 with two games left, one in Wichita and one more at the IEC. The Comets are also ahead on points 65-46. That means that Wings have to win their last two games vs Missouri by a combined 20 points to take the trophy away from the Comets this year.
The first quarter was rough for the Comets though. It started off well though. Just over a minute into the game the Comets won a free kick in the corner just outside the 3 point arc. John Sosa ran over the ball leaving it for Brian Harris. Harris' shot took a couple deflections as it went through and went through the legs of the Wings keeper Sanaldo to make it 3-0 Comets. Almost immediately after the goal the Comets were on the back foot. Twenty seconds after the goal, Stefan Stokic got sent to the box for tripping. On the power play the Wings took advantage as Omar Quiroz picked Geison at the back post and he tapped it home. Only a few minutes later the Comets again found themselves a man down as Stefan St. Louis was sent to the box. The Wings didn't capitalize on that power play, but right around the midpoint of the half Coady Andrews got sent to the box for tripping. It was definitely a foul, but I struggled to see how it was a blue card. The Comets were trying to strike on the counter while short handed but couldn't find a goal. Then late in penalty Quiroz played a ball to the back post where Geison had a turning volley putting it past Danny Waltman and into the net giving the Wings the lead. With the penalties, the Comets were never able to get in a rhythm in the first quarter and they paid for it throughout the quarter. Late in the quarter, the Wings got a turnover in the Comets end and former Comet Tiguinho fired a shot from outside the 3 point line that hit Leo Gibson who had dove to block the shot. The shot though deflected off Gibson and over Waltman and into the net to give the Wings a 7-3 lead. The lead held up through the end of the quarter.
The Comets pressured out of the gates in the second quarter. Inside the first minute the Comets created a few chances. One of the attempted clearances came to Sosa, who on the volley beat Sanaldo and got the Comets within 2, making it 7-5. The Comets continued to pressure and down in the corner before the 3rd minute of the quarter Andrews was fouled in the corner. Sosa stepped up to take the free kick and played the ball into the middle where Stokic turned the ball into the net to tie the game at 7-7. Less than a minute after the Comets tied the game they were down again. Quiroz played a long ball over the top to Moura. The ball bounced around the edge of the box where Waltman had started to come out. Waltman though didn't commit to grab it or head it away. Moura collected the ball, dribbled around Waltman and put the ball into the net to make it 9-7 restoring their lead. Just before the midpoint of the quarter, the Comets were again able to equalize. Sosa won the ball around midfield and started a 2v3 opportunity with St. Louis. The Comets big forward was able to get all 3 to commit to him allowing Sosa to cut to his left and then fire a shot past Sanaldo and into the net making it 9-9. The Comets continued to push the game looking to retake the lead. With just over 4 minutes left in the quarter the Comets got another 3 pointer to restore their lead. Andrews received the ball at the yellow line. He fed the ball wide to Byron Alvarez who attempted to collect the ball at the same time as a wings defender slid in. The ball went into the air. Alvarez jumped for the ball, coming down on the Wings player. No call was made, Alvarez collected and fired from 3 point range getting the ball past Sanaldo and into the net. The Wings protested the goal saying it was a foul but no foul was called.
The Comets continued to push and less than a minute after retaking the lead, the Comets scored again. Vahid Assadpour played a ball from deep in the Comets end up towards St. Louis. St. Louis' defender had over committed and St. Louis turned and went in on goal and fired a shot into the far corner for his first MISL goal. St. Louis has done a lot of the dirty work for the Comets it was good to see him get a goal. The Comets went into the half up 14-9.
The Comets came out pressuring again in the 3rd quarter and just over 2 minutes into the quarter, Gibson played a good ball over the top to Alvarez. With a defender on his back, Alvarez held him off turned and hit a volley that went into the far corner making it 16-9. Only 20 seconds later the Comets got another goal. Harris won the ball in the Comets end and played a long ball down the line for Assadpour. Harris continued his run and Assadpour paid off his run by laying a ball into the middle for Harris who one timed his shot off the underside of the bar off the ground and into the net making it 18-9. Less than a minute later things got even worse for the Wings. Around midfield, Geison and Sosa tangled for a ball. Geison elbowed Sosa in the face. Sosa went down and the referee pulled out first a blue card, then a red, sending Geison to the locker room and Frederico Moojen to the box to serve Geison's blue card. Geison will now miss the game next weekend between the two teams. The Comets couldn't take advantage of the man advantage and shortly after the Wings got their man back on the Comets went down a man as Lucas Rodriguez was sent to the box for holding. This penalty though saw the Comets as the aggressors as they took the game to the Wings while they were a man up but couldn't capitalize. They successfully killed the penalty and shortly after that Rodriguez collected a loose ball, dribbled around Sanaldo slotted the ball calmly into the empty net to make it 20-9.
Early on in the fourth quarter the Comets again got to go on the power play as Tiguinho got sent to the box for tripping. The Comets were able to take advantage of this power play as Rodriguez off a restart found Alvarez in the corner. Alvarez fired a shot from the corner that squeezed between Sanaldo and the post to make it 22-9. Shortly after the goal the Wings started to really push the game. Moojen set up Kevin Ten Eyck with a pass off the wall to get the Wings back within 11. The Comets though were able to restore the 13 point lead with just over 5 minutes left in the game. Assadpour fed the ball to Alvarez who beat Sanaldo for the 4th time tonight to make it 24-11. The Wings pushed the game, never putting on the 6th attacker but weren't able to get another goal. Late in the game St. Louis got into it again with some Wings defenders and got another blue card and spent the rest of the game in the box. The Wings couldn't find anything in the last 2 minutes on the power play and the Comets held on a made it a mountain for the Wings to climb in the season series.