The Missouri Comets had been able to take care of business fairly early on against the Chicago Mustangs the first two times they’d played them this season, jumping out to a 6-1 and 10-1 half time leads. This time though the Comets found themselves in a much tighter battle against the former PASL champions.
The first quarter saw both teams go end to end with chances, but neither team was able to find a goal. The Comets had some of the best chances early on as Robert Palmer and Leo Gibson both went close for the Comets but couldn’t get their efforts on goal. Late in the quarter it was the Mustangs who forced the Comets and goalkeeper Stephen Paterson into some good saves. The best of those were actually saved off the line by the Comets defense as the Mustangs peppered the goal.
The second quarter saw the Comets finally find a way to break through the Mustangs defense. Off a restart to the left of the Mustangs’ goal John Sosa laid the ball off to Vahid Assadpour who fired a low shot into the far corner that goalkeeper, Jesus Flores did not see as it rolled into the net. A couple minutes later, the Comets were on the power play after a tripping penalty and again had chances to extend their league. They thought they’d scored after a shot by Josh Gardner was saved and deflected off a Mustang defender and was headed into the net but Flores stopped it on the line. Late in the quarter is when more of the action occurred as the Mustangs first leveled through Edgar Martini who brought down a long ball, settled and fired a shot that deflected off Brian Harris and into the net to make it 1-1. Seconds later, the Comets were back ahead. After a Mustangs’ foul, the ball was quickly played out wide to Gardner who centered the ball in to Assadpour who immediately played it back wide to Gardner who squared the ball into the middle for Andre Braithwaite who tapped the ball home to put the Comets back on top. The Mustangs though struck back again, this time on the power play after Alain Matingou was called for boarding. The Comets had chances to counter, with Harris having a 1v1 with the goalkeeper that he fired wide of the goal. The Mustangs were able to level with just over a minute left as a couple shots by Guilherme Veiga were blocked. The ball got knocked out to Hewerton outside the yellow line. He fired a shot from distance that went into the upper 90 leveling the score at 2-2 as the teams headed into half time.
The third quarter saw the two teams continue their defensive play early on in the quarter. The Comets though were the pushing the game more as the quarter wore on. Just about half way through the quarter, Matingou raced past his defender towards goal, Flores came off his line and out of the box to pressure in a situation where he probably didn’t need to. Matingou’s shot hit off Flores’ arm and a blue card was handed out to the Chicago keeper. On the ensuing shootout for Leo Gibson, Flores came up with a good save to knock the ball out for a corner. The Comets dominated the power play, keeping Chicago pinned in their own end. Late in the power play, Gibson received the ball down in the corner near the box. Flores pressured him, leading Gibson to pull the ball outside the box. Flores inexplicably followed him. Gibson was able to play the ball into the middle to an unmarked Sosa who chipped the ball into the net as Flores was stranded.
The temperature started to rise as both teams started to get a little heated. With less than five minutes left, Gibson and Chicago’s Efrain Martinez had a coming together after a Missouri foul. Gibson said something to Joshio Sandoval, who was on the ground. Sandoval took exception and got up to confront Gibson. The referee started to get Gibson away when Martinez came up from behind and grabbed Gibson. Gibson then turned and pushed Martinez, giving both a blue card and putting the two teams at 4v4. Early on in the power play, the Mustangs controlled play, enough so that they felt confident pulling Flores and putting on the “fifth” attacker. But immediately after inserting him, the Mustangs gave the ball away as Paterson made a save. Paterson quickly threw the ball to Harris for the counter. Harris raced down the field and played the ball across to Roberto Palmer who knocked the ball past the “fifth” attacker and into the net to make it 4-2.
The fourth quarter saw the Comets continue to dominate the play and they were able to extend their lead. Just over three minutes into the quarter, the Mustang’s picked up their second substitution violation, leading to a yellow card for the Mustangs. With that being their third yellow card of the game, it led to a blue card as well, giving the Comets with a man advantage. The Comets were able to take advantage of the man advantage with just 30 seconds left in the power play. Sosa played the ball in to Gibson at the top of the box. With three defenders around him, the Mustangs’ allowed Gibson to turn, pick the lower corner and knock the ball in to make it 5-2. Less than seven minutes in, the Comets made it 5-2. Paterson cleared a ball up field to Braithwaite who was in behind Chicago’s defense. A Mustang’s defender was racing back, but Braithwaite cut back in and fired a shot past Flores to make it 6-2. The Comets continued their pressure and less than nine minutes in were able to cap the game off on a restart. Sosa picked up his third assist of the game, playing the ball into the corner for Josh Gardner who had much of the goal to shoot for as the Chicago defender didn’t pull with him. Gardner didn’t miss, making it 7-2. The Comets were able to kill the rest of the game off and the game ended with the Comets moving to 16-0 on the season. As the game ended, Mustangs’ head coach Armando Gamboa immediately made a b-line for the referees to voice his displeasure over the calls that had happened, as the Mustangs out fouled the Comets almost two to one at 31 to 17. The officials didn’t waste any time, pulling out the red card for Gamboa as both teams left the field. The Comets are now off until a trip to St. Louis next Friday.