Kansas City fans should be getting used to games like tonight’s between the Missouri Comets and St. Louis Ambush. Across the city at Sporting Park there have been numerous games over the last few years as Sporting KC would dominate long periods of games at home with their high pressure, have the lion’s share of possession, but be unable to really capitalize on it. That was what happened tonight at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena as the Comets out shot the Ambush 41-15 and had the majority of the possession, but came up short 6-5 as the Ambush played some extremely composed and organized defense to shut down the Comets in their first of three games this week.
Five minutes into the game the Comets couldn’t clear their defensive end and Daniel Berko played the ball to Andre Hayne who was behind the Comets defense. As Boris Pardo came out Hayne chipped it over and into the net to put the Ambush on top. The quarter was back and forth, but the Comets had more of the shots and more of the chances, but it was the Ambush who had the better opportunities in the first half with Pardo having to make a big save on the line. The Ambush though couldn’t find the back of the net while their defense remained compact and kept the Comets off the board in the first quarter.
The second quarter started with the Comets in possession and Pardo bringing the ball up field slowly. Pardo had a shot that was blocked and the Ambush started going the other way. Pardo was able to make the initial save on Hayne but the rebound fell to Jeff DiMaria who controlled the ball and played it to the back post where Hayne knocked it in to make it 2-0 to the Ambush. Less than five minutes in the Comets pressure finally paid off as Kiel Williams picked up the ball near the yellow line and dribbled into the box. He left the ball for Leo Gibson who controlled and calmly fired a ball into the far post upper 90 to make it 2-1. The Comets continued to pressure and started to create some good opportunities but couldn’t find the equalizer. With less than five minutes left the Comets pressing for the tying goal came back to bite them. A long ball down the field was collected by Odaine Sinclair, who was held up by Pardo who came off his line. The ball got knocked away to Gordy Gurson though who knocked the ball into the empty net to put the Ambush up 3-1 as the teams headed into the half time break.
The third quarter saw the Comets come out aggressive again attempting to get back into the game, and soon after they were within one goal as a Leo Gibson played a ball off the wall to Bryan Perez who fired the ball into the near post to make it 3-2 Ambush. Five minutes in the Comets were level as John Sosa fired a free kick past the wall and inside the near post to level the game at 3-3. The Comets continued to pressure the Ambush but were unable to take the lead against their cross state foe. Late in the quarter their inability to do that cost them as they got caught multiple times with numbers forward. With just over two minutes left Elvir Kafedzic got played in behind the Comets defense. Kafedzic got Pardo to commit and then laid the ball off to Hayne who placed the ball into the empty net to finish his hattrick. A minute later the Comets couldn’t clear their line as the Ambush had chances from Sinclair and Luis Almeida. Pardo made a good save on Almeida and the ball went wide to Gurson who fired a shot that went off the inside of Pardo’s foot and into the net to make it 5-3. The Ambush weren’t done either as with under a minute to play the Ambush again caught the Comets up field as goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa played the ball to Kafedzic who again was behind the Comets defense. This time he took the ball himself, rounded Pardo and fired the ball into the net to end the quarter up 6-3.
The Comets tried to chip away at the three goal deficit throughout the fourth quarter, getting a number of looks with Sliwa out of position, but time after time the Comets either were putting the ball wide of the goal or into a defender who had gotten back on the line to block the play. Six and a half minutes in the Comets cut the lead to two as Lucas Rodriguez and John Sosa played a one-two getting Rodriguez into the box where he lifted it over Sliwa and into the net. The Comets continued to pressure but it really began to not look like their night when Gibson and Vahid Assadpour both missed separate chances at the back post. With just over two minutes left though the Comets were able to cut the lead to one goal. Gibson collected the ball at midfield as the Ambush tried to counter with Pardo pushed up. Gibson fed the ball into Assadpour in the corner; the Comets captain laid the ball back to Kevin Ten Eyck who slotted the ball into the corner to make it 6-5. The Comets pressing for an equalizer left them exposed in the back and late Pardo picked up a blue card late for a kick on Sinclair. Gurson missed the shootout attempt and the Comets poured forward down a man looking to find a goal but with a couple chances they still couldn’t find the net and the Ambush walked out with their first win of the season and their first win since their rebirth against the Comets.