The Missouri Comets kicked off the 2015-2016 MASL season at the SEC Arena against the expansion Cedar Rapids Rampage. The Comets entered the game down three of their defenders with Brian Harris and John Sosa suspended and with the US futsal team while Alain Matingou was injured. Their absence was readily apparent as the expansion Rampage gave Missouri all they could handle. The Comets had to come back multiple times, including three goals in the final three minutes to force overtime.
The first quarter saw the Comets jump out early and they had a number of opportunities to grab the lead, but the Rampage defense was working overtime. The Comets paid the lack of finishing their early chances as five and a half minutes in Elmo Neto picked up a sloppy pass by Stefan Stokic and beat Boris Pardo low to the corner to give the Rampage the lead. The Comets continued to control the half, including a power play, but couldn’t find the net as the quarter ended with the Rampage up 1-0.
The Comets continued their early possession in the second quarter and finally made it pay off. Max Touloute collected a rebound of his own shot and fired it into the upper corner to tie the game less than two minutes into the quarter. Less than two minutes later Touloute raced onto a bouncing ball into the corner and fired a shot into the far corner to give the Comets a 2-1 lead. Near the midpoint of the quarter the Rampage got themselves back level as Hewerton Moreira turned his defender and beat Pardo to the near post to level the game at 2-2. The game started to get physical as the quarter went on, with the Rampage picking many of their seven that quarter up late. One of those fouls led to the Comets third goal as Gibson slotted a restart right outside the box to Lucas Rodriguez in the corner where Rodriguez knocked the ball into the net to make it 3-2. This is where the quarter ended although the Comets had another power play to end it.
The third quarter saw the Comets take advantage of their possession again early in the quarter. Vahid Assadpour received the ball on the sideline, dribbled at his defender and fired a shot into the corner to make it 4-2. With the two goal lead the Comets continued to push but the lack of the suspended Sosa and Harris and an injured Alain Matingou, the Comets had little in the way of defense and got caught on the counter a minute after taking the two goal lead as a pass forward by Joey Kapinos found Neto all alone in Missouri’s half. With help coming on his left Neto took it himself and scored to make it 4-3. Near the half way point the Rampage tied it as the Comets couldn’t clear a restart and Armando Tello touched a ball in at the post to tie the game at 4-4.
In the fourth quarter the Comets defensive issues again came up as they failed to clear their end and Sam Cuernsey jumped on a loose ball and knocked it in to put the Rampage back on top. The Comets though responded just over a minute later as they forced a turnover in the Rampage end, Ramone Palmer knocked the ball across to Milan Ivanovic who fired into the net to tie the game 5-5. The Comets raced forward looking to retake the lead and proceeded to get run ragged by the Rampage on the counter. Less than a minute after tying the game, Hewerton and Alfee Robbins countered with Robbins beating Pardo to make it 6-5 Rampage. A little over a minute later it was another counter to make it 7-5. The first effort was missed but Alex Megson recovered the ball and beat Pardo. A third counter in the span of three minutes made it 8-5 as a turnover by Robert Palmer in the Rampage end saw Tello get the ball. As Pardo rushed forward to try to win it ball Tello played Robbins through who walked the ball into the net to make it 8-5. Down three the Comets threw everything forward, eventually going to the sixth attacker with just over three minutes left. With the extra attacker the Comets started their come back. First Ramone Palmer received the ball in the corner and beat Kapinos hit to the back post. A minute and a half later Leo Gibson scored his first of the night, finding himself all alone in the middle of Cedar Rapids’ defense Gibson scored to make it a one goal game. With under a minute left the Comets won a free kick and an extra man after Touloute was brought down. In virtually a carbon copy of his first goal of the night, Gibson played the ball to Rodriguez at the back post and he tapped it home to tie the game with 20 seconds left.
The game headed into overtime where the Comets continued to dominate the majority of the play but they couldn’t find the back of the net. The Comets kept the Rampage pinned in their own end but without a goal it looked like the teams were going to be headed towards a shootout. With just over three minutes left though the Comets won as Assadpour collected a ball in the corner and fired a ball across the box. Robert Palmer had crashed the box and bundled the ball into the empty net to give the Comets the come from behind win and move them to 1-0 on the season.