Saturday, February 27, 2016

Comets Sweep Baltimore, Win East

Over the last year the Missouri Comets and Baltimore Blast have had their share of drama on and off the field, from the Blast sweeping the previously unbeaten Comets out of the 2014-2015 MASL playoffs, to the post game head butt by former Comet Andre Braithwaite, to the post game ranting of Blast own Ed Hale. Then this year it was the half time interview Hale gave during the two team's first meeting where he said that the Blast would be leaving the MASL and basically called out the Missouri owner. To his subsequent interviews where he has basically said the Comets weren't worth of the new league he was creating, it's been a year full of plenty of things not focused on soccer. And that's a bad thing, because the three games this season between the Comets and the Blast have been some of the best in the MASL. All three games were decided by two or fewer goals, one of which being in overtime. The last of those three games was tonight at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena where the Comets took a 2-0 lead, only to lose it before scoring two goals in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter to win 5-4. The win sees the Comets clinch the Eastern Conference, giving them home field advantage all the way to the MASL finals should they make it.

The Comets were able to jump out to a 2-0 lead over the Blast with Max Touloute scoring just over four minutes into the game to give the Comets the lead and Leo Gibson scoring with just over six and a half minutes left in the first quarter to double the lead. The Comets had numerous chances to extend the lead as they pushed the attack but good goalkeeping by William Vanzela kept them off the board, and when he was caught out of position, his defense was there to back him up to keep the Blast in the game. The second quarter saw the Comets continue to push for to extend their lead, but the Blast had their opportunities too as Boris Pardo was called on a number of times. Finally with under five minutes to play in the second quarter the Blast got on the board through Jonatas Melo.

The third quarter saw the Blast continue to pressure looking for an equalizer, but the Comets defense held strong for the first half of the quarter. Just before the half way mark though the Blast were level. A poor pass back to Pardo by Touloute put Pardo in a tough position. Uzi Tayou took advantage, getting the ball off Pardo's foot and knocking it into the net to tie the game at 2-2. The Comets though fought back and retook the lead as Alain Matingou redirected a cross from Vahid Assadpour into the net to make it 3-2. In the final 10 seconds of the quarter though the Blast again levels the score as Jinho Kim picked out Jereme Raley with a wall pass and he beat Pardo to level the game at 3-3 heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter got really tight for both teams, because of the way the game had gone it felt like one goal would be enough to win it. With five and a half minutes player the Blast were able to grab their first lead of the game as Adriano Dos Santos fired a shot from the penalty arc that deflected on it's way through, leaving Pardo wrong footed as it went in to make it 4-3. The Blast continued to create chances, but Pardo continued to keep the Comets within one. At the other end of the field, a Vanzela mistake with just under six minutes to play allowed the Comets to equalize. On a back pass, Vanzela's touch got away from him a bit, allowing Vahid Assadpour to jump on the loose ball, it got behind Vanzela and Assadpour quickly poked it into the net to tie the game at 4-4. Both teams had their chances to take the lead again, but it was Ramone Palmer with three and a half minutes left who was able to take advantage. Receiving a pass in the middle of the penalty arc from Gibson, Palmer took one touch then touched it around Vanzela before knocking it into the net to make it 5-4. The Comets were then able to kill the rest of the game while the Blast used the sixth attacker to claim the win.

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