Saturday, January 03, 2015

Undermanned Comets Move to 11-0 with Win over Ambush

The Missouri Comets came into St. Louis without their head coach and undermanned as they only traveled 12 field players, but they were able to top a game St. Louis Ambush side to move to 11-0 on the season.

The Comets came out early with their regular pressure and were able to take the lead thanks to another goalkeeper giveaway. This time it was Brian Harris forcing Ambush goalkeeper Greg Crook to turn the ball over to Kiel Williams who fired the ball over the Ambush goalkeeper and into the net to give the Comets the early lead. The Comets continued to push the game attacking in numbers even with their limited roster attacking with numbers they were able to double their lead. Milan Ivanovic had a good shot, but Crook saved the shot, but the rebound fell to Vahid Assadpour who fired his shot off the post. That rebound fell back to Ivanovic who whiffed on the effort on the open net. Ivanovic recovered though and squared the ball back to Assadpour who fired the ball home to double the Comets lead.

With the two goal lead the Comets began to sit back a bit, content to control the ball and take the air out of the game, something that we're not used to seeing from the Comets when they're playing. The Comets played a lot of passing around the back between Danny Waltman and his defenders. It took a while for the Ambush to really up their high pressure to counter Missouri's willingness to take the air out of the game. Late in the quarter though the Ambush got on the board through Manny Forbes. Odaine Sinclair posted up against Robert Palmer deep in Missouri's end. Palmer tried to head the ball back to Waltman but couldn't. He then tried to clear the ball away but it fell right to Forbes who five-holed Waltman to bring the Ambush within one.

Just 20 seconds into the second quarter, the Ambush were level. Waltman made a nice save on a shot from distance, pushing the shot wide. Unfortunately Sinclair was first to the rebound, squaring it into the middle for Jeff DiMaria who tapped the ball home to tie the game at 2-2. Then just over six minutes in the Ambush took their first lead of the night. Elvir Kafedzic one timed a wall pass from Blake Ordell past Waltman and into the net to make it 3-2 Ambush.

Less then a minute later things looked like they'd get worse for the Comets as Palmer was sent to the penalty box for a boarding penalty putting the Comets on the penalty kill. But it turned out that it would be the Comets that would dominate the power play. Pressure from the Comets gave them a restart at the top of the box. John Sosa stepped up and fired the free kick past the wall and into the net tying the game at 3-3. The Comets then proceeded to win the ball back and basically kill the rest of the penalty by passing the ball among their four field players and Waltman until Palmer was out of the box. The Comets spent much of the rest of the quarter killing the clock by passing it around, doing a good job of saving their legs with their short bench.

Into the third quarter the Comets came out with a renewed push and four and a half minutes in grabbed the lead once again. Palmer worked a give and go with Stefan Stokic before putting the ball past Crook to make it 4-3 Comets. And then again, 30 seconds later, it was Andre Braithwaite restoring the Comets two goal lead after the Comets high pressure again led to a turn over in the Ambush's end of the field. Bryan Perez fed the ball to Braithwaite who cut inside his defender and beat Crook.

The two goal lead was short lived though. A long ball by Chad Vandergriffe into the corner for Stefan St. Louis was missed by the former Comets player. The ball fell to Kory Dowell though. Dowell missed on his first effort, but was able to maintain the ball and fired the ball past Waltman to put the Ambush back within one.

Both teams had chances the rest of the quarter, but both goalkeepers were up to the task, especially Crook who robbed Leo Gibson of a goal late in the quarter. Off another high pressure giveaway the Comets had numbers. The ball got played to the back post where Gibson was unmarked with an open net. But Crook covered the ground quickly and was able to make a great save to keep the Ambush within a single goal.

Crook continued to come up with heroics in the fourth quarter, at one time making four saves in the span of about 20 seconds to keep the Ambush within the single goal. Unfortunately for the Ambush, eventually the Comets broke through. Beating pressure in their own end, Alain Mattingou received the ball and raced up the field on a three on two break. He played the ball through a defenders legs to Braithwaite who put the ball past Crook and into the net for his second of the game making it 6-4 Comets. The Comets kept up the pressure, pinning the Ambush in their own end. When they didn't, the Comets would win possession and kill some time passing the ball between Waltman and his defenders. A couple minutes later, The Ambush tried to break down field with Crook throwing the ball towards midfield. The ball though hit the referee and bounced back to Stokic. The Comets defender raced up field before quickly stopping his run to the side of the Ambush box. The quick stop saw two Ambush defenders slide past him. Stokic then put a pass to the back post where Gibson knocked the ball home to make it 7-4 Comets.

With the three goal lead the Comets again did a lot of possessing, killing time on the clock. They even won a power play which they were unsuccessful in scoring, but did ake more time off the clock. With just over a minute left the Comets put the game away. After winning the ball, the Comets moved up the field quickly. A pass towards Stokic was deflected in to Gibson who back heeled the ball to Matingou. The Frenchman fired a shot on goal that Crook got a hand to but couldn't keep out to make it 8-4. With 10 seconds left, the former Comet, St. Louis got a consolation firing in a long ball from Crook that had hit off the board right into his path as the game finished 8-5 and the Comets moved to 11-0 ahead of next week's game against the Tulsa Revolution.

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