Friday, February 19, 2016

Comets Beat Baltimore, Clinch Central

The Missouri Comets unbeaten run last season was ended in the playoffs when they lost to the Baltimore Blast twice to end their season. This year the Missouri Comets ended the Blast's 27 game home winning streak that dated back to 2013, and in the process clinched the MASL's Central Division with a 5-4 overtime win on Friday night.

The first quarter saw a defensive battle with both goalkeepers coming up with fine saves to keep the game scoreless. Boris Pardo ended up being the busier of the two goalkeepers. Very late in the first quarter, Leo Gibson picked up a blue card for endangering Baltimore goalkeeper William Vanzela. The penalty bled into the second quarter as the Comets killed the penalty but seconds after it ended the Blast took the lead Onua Obasi finally beat Pardo to make it 1-0 to the Blast. The Blast kept up the pressure and forced Pardo into a number of saves before Tony Donatelli scored less than five minutes into the quarter to make it 2-0 Blast. The Comets fought back though and were able to cut the lead to 2-1 before the half was over as Max Touloute found the net to get the Comets on the board.

The Comets didn't take long to tie the game in the third quarter as Gibson scored just 18 seconds in to tie the game at 2-2 and set the pace for the quarter. The Comets would score twice more in the quarter, once on a short handed situation after Vahid Assadpour was given a blue card for the Comets having too many men on the field. Robert Palmer scored off an assist from Touloute to give the Comets their first lead at 3-2. In the final minute the Comets got a power play of their own and took full advantage as John Sosa fired a shot from the yellow line into the top corner to put the Comets up 4-2 after three quarters.

Missouri tried to kill the game off in the fourth quarter, they didn't push forward as much, trying to kill the game off. The Blast though quickly got the game back to just one goal as Jinho Kim scored a little over three minutes into the fourth. The Comets continued to try to absorb the pressure and just over eight minutes in they conceded the equalizer. After the ball pinged around a little bit, Adriano Dos Santos cushioned a header down to the top of the box. Two Comets players had a chance to clear it, but neither did and the ball fell to Donatelli to blasted the ball past Pardo to tie the game. The Blast controlled the majority of the final few minutes of the game looking for a winner. The Comets pressure came back, but they were unable to muster much in the way of offense and after regulation the two teams were tied 4-4 and headed to overtime.

Overtime moved at a very quick pace for both teams from the start as the Blast came out with high pressure looking to complete their comeback. Pardo though continued to do well in goal and kept the Blast out. The Comets were able to strike the other way quickly through Touloute. He had a shot well saved by Vanzela with his feet. Touloute recovered his own rebound though and played the ball back to Assadpour who fired the ball past Vanzela and into the lower corner to give the Comets the win 5-4, pushing their record on the season now to 15-3. Holding the tiebreaker on the Chicago Mustangs 2-1 means that the Comets clinched the Central division as now the Mustangs can only tie their record. Missouri play their final road game on Sunday in Syracuse before ending the season at home a week from tomorrow against the Blast.

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