Down four regular contributors, including two starters, the Comets were able to get the job done against their cross state rival, St. Louis and move one step closer to a playoff berth. In a close defensive match up, the Comets were able to shut down the league’s leading goal scorer, Gurdy Gurson as Missouri pulled out a 7-5 win over the Ambush.
Comets in the first half came out hard and pushed the game against the Ambush early on. Less than a minute in the Comets had themselves up 1-0 thanks to Vahid Assadpour. The ball was played ahead to Leo Gibson up the field in the corner. Gibson turned and squared the ball into the middle for Assadpour who beat Alan Hagerty to the ball and knocked it home to give Missouri a very early 1-0 lead. The Ambush had more of the ball early on, but the Comets did a good job of hitting the Ambush on the counter. Less than five minutes in, the Comets doubled their lead. Robert Palmer played the ball to Brian Harris as he ran into the corner. Harris fired a shot from a tight angle that beat Hagerty off the far post to make it 2-0 Comets. Less than 30 seconds later, the Comets made it three. After a good save by Stephen Paterson the Comets were able to clear their end and get the ball up field to Josh Gardner. The former Sporting player squared the ball into the middle for Andre Braithwaite who knocked the ball home to make it 3-0. Just before the half way point of the half, the Comets made it 4-0. After some good possession around the back, Paterson sprung Palmer with a good through ball. On a break Palmer squared the ball into the middle to Assadpour who then immediately played the ball down to the post for Gibson who knocked the all home to make it 4-0. The rest of the quarter saw the Comets dominate the run of play, limiting the Ambuh to just four shot. Unfortunately the Comets were wasteful with their chances and couldn’t extend their lead.
Not putting the Ambush to the sword in the first quarter came back to bite the Comets in the second quarter. Just 54 seconds in the Ambush were on the board. After a giveaway by Paterson, the ball found Jeff DiMaria who squared the ball to Chris Mattingly who beat Paterson to make it 4-1. The Ambush dominated possession in the quarter, keeping the Comets pinned in their end for much of it. The Comets found their breaks mainly on the counter but really didn’t test Hagerty that much. With just over four minutes left in the quarter, the Ambush made all the possession pay off as former Sporting KC draft pick Adnan Gabeljic dribbled the ball the length of the floor beating a couple Comets before firing a ball across the face of goal. Elvir Kafedzic couldn’t turn it in, but knocked the ball back across goal where Gabeljic was able to bundle the ball into the net to make it 4-2. The Comets gave some late pressure looking to add to their lead again but couldn’t find the net as the teams went into the half with the Comets up 4-2.
The third quarter saw a up and back quarter, but neither team really was able to create much in the way of chances as both teams’ defenses locked things down. The Comets though were able to find the net once in the quarter. Just over six minutes in, Alain Matingou won the ball in the Comets end and caught the Ambush on a shift change. Matingou dribbled the length of the floor before slotting a ball into the far corner to give Missouri the 5-2 lead. Both teams had possession as the quarter progressed, but only managed a combined nine shots between the two of them in the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Comets come out with high pressure looking to finish the game with another goal or two, but the Comets couldn’t find the net. Four and a half minutes in, the Ambush cut the lead back to two as Ross MacGregor fired home a shot off a Kory Dowell restart at the top of the arc to put the Ambush back within two. The Comets kept the pressure on the Ambush though and with just under seven minutes left restored their three goal lead. The Comets had pinned he Ambush in their own end and had struggled to find shots though. The Ambush cleared the ball to midfield and stepped up, but the ball was held in by Palmer. The Jamaican immediately played it down the line to Assadpour who had space to turn, take a touch and fired a ball into the near post upper 90 to make it 6-3. The Comets tried to take the air out of the game, keeping possession and not letting the Ambush get the ball. With just over three minutes left though the Ambush won a free kick again at the top of the arc. After a time out, Blake Ordell made a run from the side, curling his run and firing a low shot into the corner past Paterson and into the net to make it 6-4. The Ambush put Hagerty back in goal as the Comets pushed the game again trying to reestablish their three goal lead, but couldn’t get a good chance on goal. When the Ambush won themselves possession they pulled Hagerty again for Mattingly as the sixth attacker. The Comets were able to break the pressure and pinned the Ambush in their own end with Mattingly still in goal. The Comets passed the ball around looking to kill the clock off and end the game. After a near giveaway, the Ambush started to push up field, but a deflection sent the ball to Gibson who had Assadpour with him right in front of Mattingly. Gibson unselfishly dished it off to Assadpour for his hattrick and make it 7-4 with under a minute left. The Ambush did get one final consolation with under 30 seconds left as Dowell fired from range to make it 7-5 as the Comets moved to 13-0 and should be able to clinch a playoff berth if St. Louis can top Wichita tomorrow night (I say should because I’m assuming head-to-head is the first tie breaker and a St. Louis win tomorrow combined with the Comets win tonight would mean St. Louis and Wichita can only tie the Comets record and the Comets hold a 2-0 series lead on both.)