It's been a mixed bag for the Missouri Comets this afternoon as the team got good news regarding some of the league's year end awards, but that was combined with the bad news of the league handing down suspensions from the past weekend's Eastern Conference Finals against the Baltimore Blast.
First the good news as the league announced the year end awards, and of the five major awards, Kansas City walked away with two of them. Leo Gibson was the overwhelming winner of the league's MVP award this year, setting lead records for points (93), goals (48), assists (45), and points in a game (12). The other winner for the Comets, was the team's head coach, Vlatko Andonovski, who helped coach the team to the 20-0 regular season for the Comets. Neither of those two were a surprise really, it would have only been a surprise if neither one of those two players had won the award.
The same lack of surprise could fit two of the other awards as goalkeeper of the year went to Baltimore's William Vanzela, who beat out Danny Waltman for the award. While Waltman had more wins (17), Vanzela's goals against average of 2.83 and four shutouts were both league records that were definitely worthy of the award. The other was rookie of the year which unsurprisingly went to Gordy Gurson, who scored 46 goals while splitting time with the Seattle Impact and St. Louis Ambush.
One award that was a bit of a surprise though was the defender of the year award. Two Comets players, John Sosa and Brian Harris were up for the award against Baltimore's Pat Healey. In what the Comets described as a close race, Healey won the award. It certainly could be argued that Harris and Sosa cannibalized votes for the other, leaving Healey as the favorite, but I thought the award would be going to Harris for his defensive and offensive performance for Missouri.
As for the bad news, the suspensions from the Eastern Conference Finals for the two players, Harris and Sosa, who received red cards in the final minute of the game, and Andre Braithwaite for his post game activities. Braithwaite, who headbutted Baltimore defender, Healey received the harshest punishment, an indefinite suspension from the MASL. Braithwaite can re-apply for entrance back into the league after the 2015/2016 season. The Comets have already parted ways with the defender, releasing him within hours of the incident.
The next harshest punishment went to Harris who got himself a three game suspension for his late slide tackle with 12 seconds left in the game. The final suspension was given to Sosa who got just the one game for the foul and abusive language. Overall, I think the punishment for three is perfectly just and not one any of the players, or the team really should argue with or appeal.
The announcement from the league also makes mention of Andonovski's comments about Ed Hale and referee Ryan Cigich, which the league found no merit in. Finally the league says that the behavior or others is still being investigated at this time. It would surprise me to see a fine for Andonovski at some point for his comments.