Sunday, November 16, 2014

Comets Come Back to Beat Wave

After the Missouri Comets had won their first two games on the road this season they returned home for their home opener against the rival Milwaukee Wave. After games against the Dallas Sidekicks and Chicago Mustangs this game looked set to be one of the more competitive games of the year and it certainly lived up to it's billing as the two teams went back and forth throughout the night.

The Wave came out as the more agressive side at the start of the game, looking to dictate the tempo. The Comets early on had their best chances on the break. The early aggression paid off for the Wave with just under six minutes played as Bato Randoncic held up a long ball before laying it into the path of Marcelo Fontana who fired home for the early 1-0 lead. After the opening goal, the Comets had the better of the opportunites with Andrew Braithwaite forcing a good save and Vahid Assadpour firing just high. The Wave had their opportunities too as Brian Harris had to clear one off the line with his heal while on his back. Under five mintues left, the Wave doubled the lead countering a mis-step of a restart. Danny Waltman made the initial save, but Randoncic collected the rebound and fired the ball across to the JC Banks who tapped home to make it 2-0. With less than a minute and a half left the Wave capped off their first quarter domination as Randoncic picked up his third assist laying off a pass for Marco Leite who danced around his defender and fired past Waltman to make it 3-0. The Comets though were able to respond immediatley. Coming down the field Milan Ivanovic had a shot saved, the rebound was knocked over to Leo Gibson who had his shot blocked right into the path of Ivanovic who headed the ball in. Ivanovic paid for it taking a boot to the face while he headed the ball in. The Comets continued the pressure after the kick off and were able to get another goal just before the end of the quarter as Leo Gibson fired a shot off the boards into the path of Max Touloute who knocked the ball home to make it 3-2 as the quarter ended.

The Wave came out for the second quarter and continued to absorb the Comets pressure as Missouri looked for an equalizer. They were able to take the pressure and then capitalized on a mistake by Waltman to extend their lead. Pressure by the Wave led Waltman to play the ball up the middle where Tenzin Rampa stepped in front of the Comets and poked the ball home past Waltman to make it 4-2. The game continued to be back and forth until Bryan Perez picked up a blue card for pushing just over seven minutes into the quarter. The Wave took advantage of the extra man as Banks got his second goal of the night. The goal actually went in off the foot of Coady Andrews and into the net. The deflection left Waltman with no chance at all. Late on in the quarter, the Comets were able to keep the Wave pinned deep in their own end and finally found a goal with just over two and a half minutes left in the quarter. It was an impressive finish by Braithwaite as the ball came over the top from Stefan Stokic. Braithwait let the ball bounce and fired it across his body, off the far post and into the net to make it 5-3.

While the Wave had come out extremely strong to start the first quarter, the Comets came out stronger in the third quarter. Just over a minute into the quarter, the Comets had the game within a goal as Gibson scored his first of the night. It was an impressive one from Gibson who kicked the ball off the side wall and with the spin it curled past Marcel Feenstra, off the far post and into the net. The Comets continued the early high pressure and just over two minutes into the quarter had the game tied 5-5. After some possession around the yellow line, John Sosa laid the ball off to Touloue. The Haitian got past his defender, cutting inside before firing a shot across his body that beat Feenstra to tie the game. The Comets continued the high pressure and seconds later were able to take the lead. Harris fired a cross into the middle where Robert Palmer turned the ball home to give the Comets their first lead of the night at 6-5. After a timeout, the Wave were able to reestablish themselves a bit getting more of the possession. They won themselves a power play that the Comets were able to kill off, but with just over nine minutes played in the quarter were back level. Anthony Arrico received a ball near the corner from Luan Sales Oliveira. Waltman had come a bit off his line and Arrico curled the ball into the far post to tie the game at 6-6. Late in the quarter the Comets retook the lead. Sosa set up the play with a nice through ball from midfield right into the path of Perez. He turned and fired the ball past Feenstra and into the net from the top of the penalty arc.

The Wave went looking for an equalizer early in the fourth quarter with high pressure and got some assistance from a Stokic blue card to help them keep the pressure. The Wave didn't score on the power play but almost immediately after it was over Ian Bennett found the equalizer again for the Wave. Bennett picked up a rebound, got some space dribbling into the middle of the field before firing a shot into the far corner to make it 7-7. The Comets put pressure on the Wave looking for another lead and found it near the midpoint of the half. Gibson received the ball from Harris near the top of the arc. Gibson took a nice touch, completely turned Jonathan Greenfield around before beating Feenstra top shelf. The Comets kept up the pressure looking to add to their lead and with five minutes to play they found the goal as Gibson turned and played the ball into the middle for Perez who hammered home his second of the night. The Wave tried to fight their way back into the game but were unable to as the Comets defense held strong on course for their third straight win to start the season.

Overall it was a very entertaining game between two of the better teams in the league as a whole. With only two games against the Wave this year and none for the Comets against the other MISL powerhouse, the Baltimore Blast, the Comets need to take advantage of these games against the Wave to really have themselves ready to go come playoff time. Compared to the first two games of the season you can still clearly see the gap between the best MISL teams (Milwaukee, Missouri, Baltimore) and the best teams from the PASL (Chicago, Dallas). Those teams will improve, but so far the gap is quite clear.

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